Employers were previously pushing to get workers back in the office, but with COVID-19 not seeming to be going anywhere anytime soon, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
A lot of employers are making long-term remote work or hybrid work plans. On the employer end of things, cybersecurity is a big concern. As a result, a lot of employers are implementing holistic identity and access management solutions that will be sustainable for the long term.
On your end as an employee, even if your employer offers tools for cybersecurity, you still need to be personally mindful of best practices to protect your work and personal information.
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The following are some general cybersecurity tips to keep in mind when you work remotely.
Make Your Passwords Strong
It doesn’t matter how many times you might hear horror stories about weak passwords being used as an access point by bad actors. You could still be guilty of similarly using bad passwords. All of your business and personal passwords need to be as strong as you can make them.
To create strong passwords, consider a password generator.
You should also use a different password for every account. Otherwise, if a cybercriminal gets access to your password, they can use it across accounts.
When you can, use two-factor authentication.
A lot of us have trouble remembering passwords, especially if they’re complex enough to actually be secure.
You can use a password manager to help you here. Password managers will often create the passwords and store them in a secure space.
We mentioned two-factor or multi-factor authentication above, and it’s a big one for cybersecurity on a work and personal basis.
Businesses are increasingly catching on to how important MFA can be for their overall cybersecurity plan, especially with remote workers.
Multi-factor authentication relies on at least two identity verification methods before someone can log onto a network, an account or a device.
Methods include passwords, biometric identification such as a password, and security tokens.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network is a good option for remote workers, particularly if you often work on unsecured or public networks. If you’re a digital nomad or you like to work in local coffee shops or cafes, a VPN can protect your personal and work information.
VPNs can also prevent websites, your internet service provider, and governments from tracking your online activity.
The downside of a VPN to be aware of is that it can slow down your internet speed, although increasingly, VPNs are becoming faster and more reliable.
Don’t Put Off Updates
If you get alerts on any device you use for work or personal business, and it’s telling you to update your software, do it as soon as possible. There’s a reason for those updates. They’re often geared toward helping patch security issues.
Keep Your Devices Separate If You Can
If at all possible to keep your work and personal devices separate, try to do it. When you’re doing work on your home laptop, you’re putting business data at risk and vice versa. You shouldn’t allow other people to use your work devices either.
When you combine work and personal devices, it can make them an even more valuable target for cybercriminals.
Educate Yourself About Phishing
When you work remotely, you’re at greater risk of being a victim of phishing. Phishing emails are prevalent. You may think you’re savvy enough to spot them, but these attacks have become increasingly sophisticated.
When you receive an email, you should check the contact details and the actual email address. Don’t download attachments or click links you get by email unless you verify what it is from the sender.
Use Antivirus Software
Hopefully, your employer invests in antivirus software for all remote workers, but even if not, you should use it personally and on any device you use for work.
Antivirus can protect against malware and spyware, trojans and worms, and even phishing scams.
Be Cautious of Video Conferencing
When you work remotely, you might use video conferencing platforms like Zoom quite a bit, but that in and of itself creates a security risk. For example, in the early days of the pandemic there was a slew of Zoom-bombing attacks. In these scenarios, intruders would access video conferences and harass users.
You should ensure your meetings are private and require passwords. You should also think about choosing vendors with end-to-end encryption and ensuring the videoconferencing software you use has the latest patches and updates.