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When it comes to technology working from home requires additional security to protect yourself and the business you work for. The safety measures implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a rapid increase of remote workers who are able to accomplish most every task done at the office, from their homes. It is important to stay connected with your IT department and implement the following recommended security measures.

Firewall protection

Close possible entry points from incoming malware that could threaten your system. If you do not have a hardware firewall, make sure to turn on Windows Firewall. This is the first line of protection against threats from the internet so be sure it is protecting you.

Anti-virus software

Be sure that any machine you are using has reliable anti-virus software installed. Whether you are using a personal computer, or never got around to installing the recommended software now is the time to make sure your system is ready to work remotely.

The last thing you want to occur during a pandemic is a security breach that has the potential to compromise or shut down your business entirely. There are a number of great resources available to start protecting your system at home.

Sophos: https://home.sophos.com/en-us.aspx

Vade-Secure for email: https://www.vadesecure.com/en/

Datto for Ransomware protection: https://www.datto.com/ransomware

Back-up and update

A new way of working means new vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals are working to exploit these problem areas in platforms that are being used more regularly. Backing-up your data to a separate server ensures that even if an attack, major outage, or even accidental deletion occurs your data is safe. A recommended backup solution is

Datto: https://www.datto.com/file-backup-and-sync/datto-file-protection

Just as important as regular back-ups are regular updates. Take the time to install the latest Windows updates and any updates for the programs that you have installed, which will patch discovered vulnerabilities to avoid a sneaky cyberattack.

Secure Wi-Fi

Since you will not be able to connect to your business’s trusty Wi-Fi, be sure that your home Wi-Fi is encrypted. If you need a password to access your home Wi-Fi you are already practicing this safety measure. There are various levels of Wi-Fi security. Make sure you are following the recommendations of your IT department.

That being said, be sure your Wi-Fi password is strong enough to keep out threats by following these Password Tips:

  1. 12 characters long
  2. Phrases instead of words
  3. Contains numbers, upper and lower case, punctuation, and symbols
  4. Avoid personal information

Change your router login and password

Focus a portion of your efforts to securing your new home workspace by changing your router’s login and password. Assuming it has been a while, or ever, since you have made this change go into your router settings and create a new login and strong password to protect you and your company data.

If you need assistance in securing your Wi-Fi or router reach out to your IT department.

Virtual private network (VPN)

There are many solutions available to connect to a PC or network from a remote computer. The most secure way is through a VPN. If your work has this available, make sure to utilize it. A VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel through the internet to the remote data.

Encryption keeps your data out of cybercriminal’s view since they are unable to read it. Just like a strong password, cybercriminals look for weak spots so the harder you make it for them to obtain information the less likely you are to experience an attack.

Common cyber threats during COVID-19:

  • Phishing emails are profiting off fear with subject lines that sound helpful. Avoid falling for a phishing email by utilizing preview mode, and check for spelling and grammatical errors and aggressive language. Never open an attachment if you were not expecting one or if you do not know the sender.
  • Work-from-home scams are an easy way for cybercriminals to convince you to hand over your personal information and run before you even realize that you have been taken advantage of so be extremely cautious about any links inside an email or click-bait that comes across social media.

Your new workspace calls for a new perspective to keep you and your business up and running. To stay productive while working remotely you must stay safe from cyberattacks. Now more than ever is the time to take cybersecurity seriously. Your IT department cannot protect you from every vulnerability that you face while you and your entire team is working remotely. However, we can assist you in taking the preventative security measures you need to stay connected safely.