3 Important cybersecurity tips for staff working remotely

3 Important cybersecurity tips for staff working remotely

June 11th, 2020 By Marketing

With the onset and continuing implications of the coronavirus, more and more of the UK workforce are working from home. While only 5% of the UK population described themselves as working mainly from home pre Covid-19, now it’s only key workers, who make up just 22% of the population, that are facing the outside world of work.

Advances in technology has meant that it’s far easier, more so now than ever before, to perform your usual work tasks from home. Yet, while you can relax and work in the comfort of your own home, you should still remain vigilant to cybersecurity threats. Let’s look at the 3 main ways that you can stay safe online whilst working remotely.

1. Fortify your software

As your first line of defense against potential attacks, it’s essential to ensure that you have robust and resilient cybersecurity systems in place. Using several interlinking systems and procedures is the most foolproof way to detect threats and protect against attacks.

Set up a firewall

A firewall acts as a barrier between your systems and hackers, filtering out any potential threats it encounters online. It works by: monitoring traffic in your network, recognising potential hazards; stopping hackers; halting keyloggers’ activity; and blocking trojans. Firewalls are a great defence tool, but there are still possibilities that malware can enter through the filter. They should therefore be used as part of your cybersecurity arsenal, not alone.

Install anti-malware software

From anti-virus, anti-ransomware, to anti-spyware, antimalware software is an essential cybersecurity device. These tools have incredible preventative capabilities, with warnings of untrustworthy sites and files, thereby preventing malware from infecting your systems. If malware does manage to infiltrate your network, however, they are also able to identify, block, and delete these attacks. Make sure to use all-encompassing protection; antivirus software simply works for viruses, not all types of malware.

Update systems frequently

Hackers typically find vulnerabilities within software as a route into your systems. Ensuring that you update your software can avoid this, as developers continuously resolve these problems and fill holes in software in the latest updates.

Use a VPN

While a VPN is typically used to divert geographic restrictions placed on content online, it’s actually a very useful tool to protect your data from cyber threats. VPNs encrypt your activity online so that it’s uninterpretable by potential hackers. When choosing a VPN, however, you’ll need to do some research. Not all are trustworthy, and can slow your internet speeds. So, don’t settle for a cheap and suspicious looking VPN, or you may be exposing yourself to further risks.

Back up data

All of this protection will put you in a great position to prevent and combat any malware threats. If you do get hacked, however, you need to have a system in place to ensure that your data isn’t lost forever. Simply using a computer hard drive is risky. Cloud systems offer a great way to store data, as it’s accessible from any device, and can also be made more secure online.

Unsure of how breaches can occur in your business? Read on to find out about data breaches that you didn’t even know existed.

2. Personal vigilance to cyberthreats

While strengthening your software will help to detect and destroy any threats to your system, one of the most important elements of the process is to prevent potential attacks from taking place. The best way to do this is to remain vigilant to threats, and to empower your employees or colleagues to be able to recognise and manage them.

Use work computers

Where possible, it’s advisable to use work computers that have been vetted and already have security systems and software installed. It’s always preferable to use a machine for work that isn’t also used for personal reasons. If this isn’t possible, however, there are many processes that you can employ on your personal computer to ensure that your own and your company’s data is safe.

Be aware of phishing emails

The most common attack vector has historically been phishing emails, and this will only increase during the global pandemic, as remote workers are more vulnerable. Make sure to educate yourself and your team on phishing, and how you can detect suspicious emails. You can typically spot them through bad grammar and spelling in the body of the email, subject line, as well as the email address itself.

Keep up to date on recent scams

Ensure that you’re aware of scams that are currently circulating, and communicate this to colleagues. Never share personal information with an untrusted source, or from an unsolicited call or email. If you’re unsure, it’s always worth verifying with the sender of the email, or the source of the call before responding to messages.

Use a password manager and two-factor authentication

It perhaps goes without saying that strong passwords are critical for preventing account hacks. Have a unique password for each account, and ensure that you use upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and special characters. Using a password manager not only prevents you from storing passwords on your device, and makes it easier to remember all of these passwords, but they can also generate these secure passwords for you.

Where you can, using multi-factor authentication on your accounts also offers additional protection, with a second stage of password input from another device. It’s a form of verification of users’ identity before granting access to a site. This could be a fingerprint or facial scans on phones, an email or text verification, or a code on an app.

Do you work for a small business? Take a look at our advice on best practice for data security in SMEs.

3. Follow company guidelines on remote working

As an employee, you should feel empowered by your company to combat cyberthreats. Discussions should be made to ensure that you have a secure company policy in place, so that you know exactly what systems you should have in place, and what to do if an attack occurs.

Adequate training

You should feel well trained and in the best position possible to protect your data. If it isn’t already in place, discuss implementing a rigorous training process on the importance of cybersecurity and how best to implement that at home. If you already have training in place, this should be updated and employees should be kept in the loop of any changes or threats. You and your colleagues should also know how to store data securely, and how to report incidents should they occur.

Remote working policy

For employees to best understand how to protect themselves from cyberthreats, they need a clear and comprehensive remote working policy to follow. This should include what can be accessed and stored on private devices, as well as a process if systems are breached. If your company has this in place, ensure that it covers everything that you feel you need to be best protected, and follow these guidelines to ensure that you remain compliant with company procedures at all times.

Become ISO 27001 certified

If your company is not currently ISO 27001 certified, this is certainly a point to discuss with management. The ISO 27001’s Information Security Management System (ISMS) provides a thorough approach to ensuring that your company’s information is safe and secure. It helps your business coordinate consistent security policies across your IT processes and systems, as well as employees within the whole company.

With the above guidance, you should be better prepared to prevent security threats to your company’s data.

To ensure that you are in the strongest position possible to combat internet fraud, PC or laptop theft and overseeing transactions, get in touch with a member of the IMSM team to discuss obtaining your ISO 27001 certification.

ISO 27001 Guide A

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