Tech Info

11 Work-From-Home Cybersecurity Tips For Employers

Friday, September 30th, 2022
laptop in focus and cofee cup and phone in background on desk at a home

Remote work has been growing in popularity over many years, especially during the pandemic. Some businesses use a hybrid model of in-office and remote work, while others prefer strictly work-from-home. It is vital that any business that implements remote working understands the different cybersecurity issues that can occur, and how to avoid them.

What makes remote work cybersecurity different?

Cybersecurity within an office setting is more traditional and you may already be equipped to handle that. Remote security is different because your employees are not in the same building, not using the same devices, and are not on the same network (in some situations). By nature, home security isn’t as strong as business cybersecurity, and because technology is constantly changing, so are threats. Here are some common cyber threats your employees may face working away from the office.

  • Weak (or nonexistent) security on public wifi connections
  • Easier access through networks
  • Out-of-date security programs
  • Use of unprotected devices (both personal and professional)

Steps you can take to enhance cybersecurity

There are actually a lot of ways your business can stay secure while your employees work remotely. Many of the solutions should be used whether you are in the office or not. The following are some of the most effective.

1. Keep work devices and personal devices separate

This can be a bit more difficult for smaller businesses or those that don’t provide portable devices like laptops or smartphones. The goal is to limit the amount of personal and sensitive business data on each device. It can be convenient to log into everything on one computer or use your personal phone to check work emails on a break. But, it is safer to keep the two separate (and use security measures for both types of devices). Your employees can learn that they can have a healthier work-life balance by doing this too.

2. Make sure all home offices are secure

Even if your team only works part-time from home, you need to ensure their network, devices, and even home are secure. Here are a few ways to do this.

  • Start by providing a laptop or computer that is secure, if you can. If you can’t, have your IT team or a professional company check out all of your team’s devices.
  • Next, make sure their antivirus software is strong and up-to-date. You should also make sure all of their software and operating systems are current.
  • Finally, provide cybersecurity training to all staff working from home. This can include information on how to update router passwords and how to avoid scams like phishing.

3. Make sure all devices are encrypted

You or your staff should know how to turn on the encryption on each of their devices. This allows information to be accessed by only those who have permission. It also entails using a protection method like a PIN or biometrics. If you aren’t sure how to do this, speak with an IT professional as soon as possible.

4. Verify that passwords are secure

You don’t need to know your employees’ passwords to do this. The goal is to ensure that all best practices are followed. These include using strong passwords with numbers, letters, and symbols as well as two-factor authentication. This security method is another aspect of using passwords that should be implemented immediately.

5. Know what to do in case a device is lost

You can do your best to prevent this from happening, but sometimes criminals end up stealing work or personal devices. If this ever does happen, it is best to have “find my device” and “remote wipe” features enabled. These vary depending on device type, brand, and operating system, so be sure to do research and turn them on before an emergency happens.

6. Monitor all third-party vendors

If you use any third-party vendors, especially for things like document storage or payments, make sure they have proper security protocols in place. This includes encryption and two-factor authentication. In the event of a data breach, you could be held liable if your vendor didn’t have adequate security, even if you weren’t at fault.

7. Be aware of social engineering

Social engineering is when criminals pose as someone else to gain personal information. They may say they are from customer service or IT and need access to an account or device. Your employees should never give out passwords or other sensitive information over the phone, through text, or online unless they have verified who the person is. The best way to do this is to have them hang up and call the company back using a number they know is real, such as from the website or phone book.

8. Back up data regularly

You should have a plan in place for backing up all work data. This includes documents, photos, videos, and anything else your store electronically. There are many cloud backup services available that are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. You can also set up an automatic backup schedule so you never have to worry about it again.

9. Make sure all email accounts are secure

Email is one of the most common ways for cybercriminals to gain access to devices and accounts. This is because many people use the same password for multiple accounts or click on links without verifying them first. To help combat this, make sure all email accounts are password protected and that staff knows not to click on any links or attachments unless they are 100% sure they are safe.

10. Use a virtual private network (VPN)

A VPN encrypts all internet traffic going to and from a device. This makes it much harder for someone to intercept and steal data. If you aren’t using a VPN already, now is the time to start. There are many free and paid options available, so find one that best suits your needs. Keep in mind that these can be especially helpful if your employees have to use a public wifi connection (though using one at all is not recommended).

11. Restrict access to sensitive data

You should always know who has access to sensitive data and what they are allowed to do with it. This includes things like customer information, financial records, and company secrets. The best way to restrict access is by using permissions and role-based access control. This ensures that only the people who need to access your information can get it. Use this cybersecurity measure in-office as well as with remote workers.

Do you need more information about cybersecurity best practices?

The team at Andrews & Associates is here to help! We have over 250 years of combined experience in the IT industry and will help your business function more efficiently and safely. You can reach us at (806) 242-1088 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services!