Practical security steps for employees to take when working remote

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4 mistakes to avoid when working remote

The COVID-19 virus has changed the way that many of us live and work. Companies have scrambled to allow remote working. They might not like it, but lockdown regulations in many countries often leave little choice. Companies either allow employees to work from home or shut down temporarily.

Allowing remote working is seen as a better choice. As evidenced in the graph below, the numbers of remote workers are growing at a steeper rate than the Corona Curve.

Graph shows growth of remote workers via use of Microsoft Teams.
Image: Statista

Even though this option has become necessary, companies do have valid concerns. In this post, we’ll look at what those concerns are.

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Productivity

Remote working was a developing trend long before COVID-19 made its appearance. Contrary to popular opinion, working from home allows workers to be more productive.

Why?

There are no phones to answer, no interruptions for office gossip, and employees can set their ideal working hours. They might work better from 5:00 pm to 12:00 am, for example.

WiFi Security

The next thing to consider is the security of the internet connection your employee will use. Are they choosing a public or private network? Private is better, but not invulnerable to attacks. Here are some quick tips that employees can take to ensure better security:

  • Use a reputable VPN service. This helps to hide your activity online. It’s a useful tip when you’re at home and an essential safeguard when you’re on a public network.
  • Ensure that the router’s software is up to date. Outdated software might be missing essential security patches.
  • Enable encryption on the router, if not already done. WPA-2 encryption is a good option.
  • Set up a guest network that keeps the work computer utterly separate from all other devices in the home. No one else should have the password.
  • Rename the router so that it’s not easily identifiable online. If hackers can see the type of router, they’ll have a better idea of what attacks might work.
  • Change the default router password to a random, unique, and strong one. This must not be used on any other device.
  • On the computer itself, disable network discovery and Bluetooth. This helps to protect the computer from malicious players who surf WiFi connections to look for connected devices.
  • If your employee’s router is an older model, consider switching to something newer with better security features.

Other Tips to Safeguard Information

Get employees to set the security updates on their computer to automatic. That way, the software stays up to date.

Set the anti-virus/anti-malware programs to the highest practical settings. Phishing and ransomware attacks are ramping up. You must improve your security accordingly.

Always assume that something can go wrong. Ensure that employees can back up their data. Cloud solutions provide a good option because they’re accessible from everywhere.

Is Remote Working Safe?

From a security perspective, employers are right to have concerns. Practically, though, working from an office also poses cybersecurity risks. Companies can allay fears by taking all practical steps to reduce threats.

Kamila Akhmedova is a blogger,  freelance writer, and content creator. She is interested in every aspect of the IT industry, especially about cybersecurity. She is getting experience and knowledge from different spheres and distribute them in her articles.

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