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How to Tackle Important Security Challenges While Working Remotely

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The novel Coronavirus has emerged as a significant threat to digital privacy and people working from home. But, there’s more you can do to protect your privacy.

With time, the cybersecurity landscape changes. However, the present Pandemic situation not just modifies but disrupts the entire security infrastructure. The worldwide lockdown and the practice of social distancing have compelled employees to work remotely, resulting in more cybercrimes and increased security concerns.

Cloudflare reports that the online threats have shown a steady six times rise then usually during this pandemic situation.

The most fundamental problem employees face while working from home is maintaining the security level. Enterprises and companies have a trained IT team to combat any unwanted situation. But, at home, individuals don’t consider supporting a top-notch level of security.

Besides this, some other online security challenges include:

1. Security of Personal Devices

Most employees work in their comfort zone. They sit and work with their devices wherever they feel comfortable. No matter if it’s the kitchen, living room, drawing room or bedroom without realizing how vulnerable it is. Usually, your laptops or computers aren’t secured, and you don’t pay attention to it at all. This is the point where you make a mistake and give cyber intruders an entry to your devices.

2. Unsecured Wi-Fi

At times you might be connecting to your home wireless network to access your corporate accounts by using unsecured public Wi-Fi. In this way, malicious actors can easily spy on your connection and steal confidential information.

For example, data sent in an unencrypted form in the plain text might get intercepted and stolen by cyber-crooks. For this reason, you should avoid accessing any unknown Wi-Fi networks unless they use some precautionary measures like using a VPN.

3. Phishing Scams

One of the most common approaches used by hackers to target the victims is email phishing. They send emails impersonating to be from a reliable source and ask you to either give away your confidential details or encourage you to click on a malicious link. Upon doing so, malware gets downloaded in your system, and it becomes quite easy for them to compromise your data.

4. Weak Passwords

Although we all are aware of the hazards of having an insecure password, it’s always a great idea to recall common points that can risk your privacy. Most of the employees use easy to break passwords for more than one account, unlike what they do in the office. Hackers appear out to be smarter than ever before. They use sophisticated methods to break your passwords and steal valuable data. Luckily, there are simple ways to get some basic protection for free.

For example, if you’re in charge of writing blog posts for your company, you need to secure your blogging platform by using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication. That way when you try to log in you’ll get a login code on your smartphone or email (whatever you choose) that you’re required to provide so you can get access to your account. These are two simple steps that significantly improve your account’s security and protect your data from hackers.

5. Lack of Security Awareness

It’s for the first time that employees like you and I are working from home. Most of the remote workers don’t even know the best practices that other experienced remote workers know. Employee negligence is one of the essential causes of cybersecurity breaches, and this risk increases while working remotely. 

6. Ignoring Basic Security Practices 

No doubt our primary focus is cybersecurity, but we can’t completely ignore physical security when it comes to protecting the company’s sensitive information. For instance, some workers might talk loudly on their phones while working on the rooftop or garden, exposing their company’s financial data to nearby people. Hacks and attacks are one of the major sources of financial loss, according to recent statistics.

Tips to Work Securely from Home

There’s a solution to every problem, and the same goes for handling security challenges. Working remotely in a secure environment requires workers to follow specific tips, which are as follows.

  • Employee Education:  Data security must be everybody’s top priority. Companies must adequately train and educate their employees regarding securing their data and the possible dangers. Employees should ensure and lock their laptops with robust passwords, as told in the company’s policy. They should know about using the best password managers if they fail to create a robust password. Also, educate them on using the best antivirus and anti-malware products on their devices. Secondly, equip the employees with the appropriate tools that go in a long way in protecting their valuable data.
  • Use Cloud Computing Services: Another promising solution remote workers shouldn’t overlook is the use of cloud computing services. Ask employees to work and save all necessary data on cloud services connected to your office and home network. The cloud services allow you to access, connect, monitor and secure your assets on the cloud without following any geographical restrictions.
  • Invest in a VPN: A VPN is specifically designed to ensure your online traffic and protects it from all snooping eyes. VPN uses robust military-grade encryption to shield your data. Use a VPN at home to avoid data leaks and online spying, resulting in a hack. It’s better to choose premium VPNs over free ones because of the security concerns. Thus, choose a VPN wisely according to your need and desire.
  • Set up Firewalls: Firewalls functions as the first line of defense against threats entering your system. They act as a barricade among your device and the internet by closing the ports of communication. The prime function of firewalls is to avoid malicious programs from entering your device to prevent data leaks. The hardware firewalls are present in most of the routers by default. Make sure to check it if it’s enabled or not. However, if you don’t have one so, you can have one from any online marketplace.
  • Password expiration approach: Recognizing accounts with passwords approaching expiration with active communication helps in preventing the issue of password expiration. There are specific tools that allow the IT admins to configure password expiration email reminders to send through their SMTP server, letting the IT admins communicate password expiration to remote users. You can define how long before the password expiration the emails are going to be sent along with how often they’re posted.
  • Enable MFA: You must enable multi-factor authentication on your device. This feature allows you to get alerts if any third person tries to log in to your accounts. You receive a code either through email or text message when someone invades your privacy, but with the code, you can immediately change your password and stay secured.
  • Implement user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA). It is among the great ways to detect abnormal behavior that might show the sign of a potential data breach among your remote workers. It works by learning and establishing the marks for normal user behavior and then warning the security teams for any activity that diverts them from the established norm. For example, if any worker logs in from Paris but is seen to be logging in from London in these circumstances, this would raise an immediate alert that something suspicious is happening.
  • Use of tools: Both the on-site employees as well as remote workers should be on the same page at all times and must use the same approved tools like cloud storage and communication platforms, project management, and video conferencing tools.
  • Strict Policy: If your company has faced security breaches, then there should be a clear policy and everyone should follow it like where they should report the incident, immediately change their passwords. All these steps should be included in their mandatory cybersecurity training along with other items like the creation of a strong password.

Take Away Notes

To wrap up, online security has become more of a necessity at this time. Several ways have evolved that can expose you to threats and potential vulnerabilities. All you need to do is to have a collective approach and follow it strictly. The tips, as mentioned above, are some of the best ways by which you can tackle the increasing security challenges in this difficult time.

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Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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