Cybersecurity in a Work-from-Home Environment

March 9, 2021 | By: Molly Looman
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In the rush to set up home computers and offices away from offices, the concept of cybersecurity may not have had space to come up. Now that organizations are considering different re-entry plans and some individuals are considering a more permanent work from home set-up, cybersecurity should become a serious consideration.

However, without the help of an IT department or the tech-savvy co-worker, it can be hard to determine what one must do to secure their home workspace. Here are a few tips on what to look for and how you can create a system that works for you.

Control Your Environment

Everyone has different surroundings in their home office. Maybe you have a separate room with a computer and a door. Maybe you are on a laptop in the kitchen with dogs children running around. Maybe you are stationed in a coffee shop down the street. No matter the location, the first step to cybersecurity is controlling the environment you are in. That means avoiding public wi-fi, developing a system to control sightlines, not leaving your device unattended, and using a secure password manager.

The device and the environment you are working in are the first line of defense from accidents, cyber-attacks or security breaches. Leaving your laptop or computer alone may lead to something as innocent as a child editing a file to something as serious as theft.

Work with What You are Given

Many individuals are given devices from their organization to perform work on. They may also be given a virtual private network (VPN) to use that allows them access to their organization’s secure network. These are great resources and provide a certain level of security in it of themselves, but it is important to manage them well for them to work their best.

The first step is to keep work on your work computer. It may be tempting to login to your email on another person’s device, but that can open up the door for cybercriminals to procure information and get into the system. The opposite can happen as well by looking at personal accounts on the work device. It is also important to keep the VPN on while conducting work. VPN’s are used to block security threats, and if you turn it off during your work period in favor of your own wifi or public wifi, you are opening yourself up for the unnecessary risk.

Watch out for Phishing

Phishing is a tactic used by cybercriminals to infiltrate your email and sensitive information. They will send emails that look innocent but may contain viruses or give them unwanted access. When working from home, it can even harder to filter these out since there are no co-workers to confer with.

Be suspicious of emails containing unusual requests from coworkers and contact them if this occurs to check before opening the email. Also, do not click links in emails that are not from a trusted source. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up the door for many new phishing scams as people are always looking for updated emails regarding their organization, property or staff. You can also combat phishing by having a secure wi-fi connection and secure passwords for your account.

No matter where you are, cybersecurity is an important aspect of operations and should be taken seriously in and out of the office. Always have files backed up and chart out a plan for your technology re-entry as well as your physical one.

 

Sources:https://www.netsurion.com/articles/work-from-home-cybersecurity-tips
https://www.ci.security/resources/news/article/8-steps-to-control-cybersecurity-risk-in-a-work-from-home-environment-webinar
https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/cybersecurity-tips-when-you-work-from-home/
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