11 Work From Home Security Tips to Follow in 2021
During the global crisis, many organizations had to allow their employees to work from home despite all the cybersecurity risks and communication challenges. By the time remote contracts and work-from-home settings became a new normal, corporates had already devised efficient transition plans to maintain employee efficiency and business growth. While productivity improved, enterprise security and seamless access to the data libraries remained bigger concerns for upper-level managers. If you have already arranged a remote work setting or intend to switch your contract, these 11 work from home security tips can be super useful for you in 2021.
If you are part of the management team and apprehensive about cybersecurity issues associated with your business, we recommend you to study this guide thoroughly. This article has a checklist in the end and can further help you in creating a comprehensive security guide for your employees.
Use a VPN
Organizations that had introduced work from arrangements before the pandemic are already aware of a virtual private network’s importance. A VPN service, like iProVPN, helps businesses secure their databases and lets managers control the flow of information. It greatly simplifies the experience of working remotely by allowing controlled access to employees no matter which part of the world they belong to. While half of the global workforce is on remote contracts with their companies, this is an ideal time for professional hackers to induce data leaks and spoof the details of business activities of their competitors. In a scenario like this, employees who are either using a weak VPN or not using VPN at all can invite serious cybersecurity threats and unintentionally contribute to enterprise-level data leaks. To secure your online traffic, download a VPN today and get it up and running!
Use a Secure Email Provider
While Gmail and Outlook platforms are popular and user-friendly, they do not provide optimal privacy and security. The emails exchanged via these email service providers do not have strong encryption and can be decoded by internet service providers, government agencies, hackers, competitors and cyberattackers very conveniently. When working from home, ask your employees to communicate and share important files via platforms like Tutanota and ProtonMail. Both of these email providers offer end-to-end encryption on emails (Tutanota also encrypts subject lines) and guarantee zero-logging. These platforms have the highest security standards in place. This means that even their in-house staff members, developers, security auditors and quality assurance engineers can’t decode, access or read your emails. We suggest you take a security plunge and switch to a more trusted email provider.
Use a Secure Browser
According to SentryPC, almost 37% of full-time employees who participated in the survey reported that they surf the internet while at work. And when this browsing (work or non-work related) happens on the devices that have access to sensitive customer information, there are higher chances of data leaks and security breaches. In short, browsers are exposed to numerous vulnerabilities because they log user behavior and store cookies on the device. As a holistic security tip, we recommend all managers to ensure that employees are using secure browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Brave, especially when they surf the internet during work hours.
Secure your Network Device
This is one of the most important work from home security tips because a network device works closely with the VPN to encrypt online traffic. Firstly, create a complex network security key for your Wi-Fi router. This key is the Wi-Fi password of your network device without which a user can’t access the network. Firstly, make sure the network security key follows the highest WPA2 security standard. The second way to strengthen the security of your network device is to use a complex password comprising alphanumeric and special characters used in a random sequence. Your Wi-Fi password should not contain your personal details like address, date of birth, names of your children or spouse or your company. The third step would be to configure your VPN details on your Wi-Fi router. The last thing would be to enable MAC filtering on your network device.
You can access VPN settings and enable and disable MAC addresses via the portal or the web interface of your router.
Use an Antivirus Program
Installing an antivirus is an essential work from home security tip because the suggested software provides device-level security. If your company has provided you with the work device, it must already have an antivirus program up and running in the background. If not, it’s high time you invest in such a software today. The best antivirus programs are Bitdefender and McAfee Security: they are ad-free, generate malware reports, scan networks before connection and notify the users before any potential data leaks or identity thefts.
Enable 2 Factor Authentication
2 Factor Authentication has become the highest security standard in the internet industry. Common platforms that collect and process user data are already using this feature. Take the example of Paypal and Facebook. Only a user ID and password are not enough to log into these accounts, you need another token to access these platforms, like a fingerprint passcode, a one-time numeric password or face recognition. We recommend users to enable 2FA on apps that have this feature built-in, and for other apps, use third-party software that serves the purpose. Again, we recommend going for premium plans, but if you or your subordinates believe their work from home arrangement is temporary, you can choose free software programs that don’t log user data and allow synchronization over multiple devices.
Follow Standard Security Protocols while Handling Data in Physical Form
While all of the aforementioned work from home security tips are associated with computing and network devices, this one discusses physical handling, storage and disposal of important business documents.
We recommend employees to create a safe zone for storing essential work files and folders. Dedicate a cabinet for these documents and instruct family members, especially children to not touch the files. When receiving and sending these documents, complete necessary postage and handling formalities. If files are manually exchanged, maintain an online record of the documents you have sent or received. If customers are involved in the exchange directly, request receipts or written acknowledgements. When it’s time to discard the documents, crosscheck against your records if other personnel or your team member might need these documents in future. If not so, do not just throw files, folders, documents and bills in the dustbins. Either shred them in a mechanical shredder or discard them after tearing them. In short, make sure that the data on your discarded files is not legible or readable in any way.
Avoid Accessing Company Data on Public Wi-Fi
While working from anywhere is a unique and attractive approach, employees should follow certain standards while accessing the company portal and data library. Avoid logging in the company portal or downloading company-related attachments on shared computers (e.g a friend’s laptop or your child’s school tablet). Also, never access the company’s website, data portal, attendance reports, payslips, email inbox and file libraries on a public Wi-Fi no matter how urgent the affair is. Public Wi-Fi networks, at airports, libraries, coffee shops, hotels and restaurants are seemingly very appealing, but they can be easily penetrated because of weak security protocols. You may end up contributing to data leaks, and safety breaches.
You need to be highly alert and particular about cybersecurity and data access points if you belong to finance, marketing, sales, admin or IT departments of the company for personnel of these departments usually have sensitive financial and customer data that can be misused by company rivals, hackers and internet service providers in tremendously dangerous ways. This is especially important if you use a call center management software. Even though these tools are safe by default, it’s still better not to access them through public internet connections.
Avoid Downloading Gaming Apps and Torrent Files on Work Devices
Unless you have the most trusted VPN, your network is highly secure, your IP Address is hidden and your antivirus is actively scanning the content on your device, avoid downloading apps, software programs, especially games and media files and other attachments from unverified publishers, unsecure websites and unknown email senders. These advertisements, redirects and files don’t only contain phishing and hacking links but they can allow unauthorized access to people who can make drastic misuse of your identity and your work device. They can either read your digital fingerprint, imitate your online identity and cause you and your company serious financial and data losses. While security and privacy standards for your company might vary, many organizations take these data breaches very seriously and may take legal action against their employees for compromising security standards.
Update the OS and Apps
It is exceedingly important to keep the apps, antivirus programs, and operating system of your devices updated. Most third-party ad-blockers and antivirus programs work efficiently with the latest versions. The old versions might have vulnerabilities and bugs. and so, installing new security and privacy updates will fix them.
Contact Cybersecurity Support Staff or Assigned Reporting Authority
Organizations that allow their employees to work from home do create comprehensive cybersecurity guides for their employees. They also assign the monitoring duty to specific people who are responsible for ensuring that safety and security benchmarks are not compromised. If you are an employee working from home, stay in contact with the supervisor and regularly share updates. Also, inform your manager if you have noticed any loopholes or potential cybersecurity threats in the workflow. In case of a serious security breach, especially if it’s on your part, immediately contact the support staff or your line managers and provide them with each detail about the breach.
Checklist based on Work From Home Security Tips
Use this checklist to ensure maximum security and privacy while working from home. If you are a manager and supervise individuals or teams, share this checklist with your subordinates.
|SNO:||Cybersecurity Benchmarks||Applied? (Yes / No)||Comments If yes, comment about usability. If no, mention the reason.|
|1||Installed and Using a Premium VPN
|2||Using a Secure Email Provider :
|3||Using a Secure Browser:
|4||Network Device Security
|6||2 Factor Authentication Enabled:
|7||File Storage and Disposal
|8||Public Wi-Fi and Shared Hotspots
|9||Attachments and Media from Unknown Sources
|11||Cybersecurity Support Staff
The Bottomline of Work From Home Security Tips
It can be challenging to adjust to this new normal while following strict security standards, but that should happen only for the first 10 days or so. Instil these work from home security tips in your routine, download and print this checklist and keep it on your workstation. While this might seem a struggle in the beginning, remember that you are greatly contributing to the cybersecurity and digital safety efforts of your organization during the remote working experience. Not only your strict compliance and adherence to these principles reflect your loyalty towards the company, it also portrays your sense of responsibility and professional ethics.
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