While the flexibility to work from anywhere is appealing, especially during weather events, it also opens a Pandora’s box of cybersecurity risks. Your company should provide regular cybersecurity awareness training. This is an instrumental step in improving your cybersecurity defenses and reducing the risk of a breach. If they don’t provide this ask your employer about adding it and if necessary, seek your own. Organizations like sans.org and others have cybersecurity trainings you can utilize. Here are some other key insights on maintaining a secure remote working environment:
🔒 Secure Your Network: We often think of our office and home environments are safe, but while your company may (hopefully) employ experienced IT resources and protections, your home doesn’t have the same benefits. The false sense of security when at home can easily leave you vulnerable to cyberthreats. Your home Wi-Fi might be more in your control, but many of the same concerns exist. Is your Wi-Fi security using current standards? Is it encrypted using a strong password? It is isolated from personal, family, guest and IoT devices? Do your children use the same Wi-Fi network, perhaps gaming with friend and unknown others, exposing your home network to threats? Use WPA3 encryption, set a strong password, and consider a VPN to shield your activities from prying eyes (hopefully your company has a VPN or similar solution in place).
🚀 Update Regularly: Keep your router’s firmware and all devices updated. These updates often contain critical security patches. IoT devices and anything connected to your network poses a risk, but unlike computers, these devices aren’t always updated automatically or frequently. Closesly monitor your device manufacturer’s for updates. If possible, isolate these devices (you may need to consult a professional for this). Whenever possible, replace devices that can’t be updated or no longer receive security patches. Threats to your computer, work or personal, don’t have to come form another computer – any network connected device can be the launchpad of threats on your network.
👁️ Be Watchful: Public Wi-Fi is convenient when on the move, but dangerous. Control is never complete, but what you have no control over is the most dangerous risk. Public Wi-Fi may not be encrypted and when it is, may not use optimal security. It’s also easily faked, tricking you into connecting you to a hotspot you think is safe, but actually captures all you type and view, potentially even infecting your computer with malware. Public Wi-Fi is a hacker’s playground. If you must use it, avoid accessing sensitive information and always use a VPN or similar solution.
💼 Work vs. Personal: Separate your work and personal devices. Even as a business owner, this is important. This simple step can significantly reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Your business devices likely (remember, there are no guarantees) have more protections, but that doesn’t make them free of risk
We’ve compiled a few common frequently asked questions below.
Let’s not let the comfort of our homes lull us into a false sense of security. Stay vigilant, stay updated, and let’s keep our data as secure as our front doors.