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Making Your Remote Office Secure

It Was the Best of Times…It Was the Worst of Times

It may be hard to think about any benefits from COVID, but more companies implementing work-from-home policies is perhaps one of them.

Take something as simple as your daily commute. For many of us, “commute” now entails a short walk down the hallway. According to a report in Facility Executive, 88% of companies have now required their employees to work from home, and most experts agree that this may become a new normal post COVID.

I Got This

By now, you may be an old hand at working from home. You’ve taken over a closet, spare bedroom, or kitchen and made it your “office” away from the office. You’ve figured out where and when to work and set up boundaries between work and personal life.

The only thing not going so well is that your cat is still walking on your keyboard. You may have also discovered that working from home can complicate security best practices, make it harder to share tips with colleagues, and more difficult to recognize and report potential incidents.

Even though by now you’re an experienced “work-from-homer,” here are a few things you still need to keep in mind:

  • Secure Your Home Network - Make sure you have your WiFi network encrypted. If your WiFi requires a password, then it’s a good start. If not, access your router settings to change this. You also need to change your router’s default password, if you have never done it before. If your router is breached, then an attacker could get access to your devices and everything you send through the router. The default passwords for routers are a weak link in their protection.
  • Continue Cybersafe Best Practices - The rules and policies you followed at work still apply when you’re working at home. Keeping your work area tidy, following password best practices, handling personal data safely, watching out for social engineering scams like phishing, vishing, and smishing – they all still matter.
  • Don’t Hesitate to Ask If You Have A Question or Need Something - If you’re worried about software updates or have questions about the security of your home network, make sure you reach out to your manager, or your company’s IT or internal support department. They can’t help if you don’t ask.
  • Report Any Potential Incidents Immediately - Security or privacy incidents can happen anywhere, even at home. If you think an incident has happened, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel, make sure you report immediately.Internet criminals have widely exploited Covid-19. Be especially cautious if you receive emails with any links or attachments related to Covid-19, as well as any unsolicited emails, phone calls, or text messages that request you to click on links or download attachments.  Phishing and ransomware attacks are on the rise.
  • Be Aware of What You Share - During online meetings, be cautious when sharing your screen. If possible, don’t leave any windows open that you don’t want to share. Accidents do happen, and sometimes you might share something that you didn’t mean to. While it can be embarrassing, it’s also a privacy issue. You might be oversharing content that is not meant to be viewed by others. The same goes for using your webcam. With webcams, you might also accidentally share too much about your home, yourself, or your family members. It’s also a risk to share pictures of your remote working station on social media. You might accidentally share important information while you do it.
  • Overcommunicate - Make sure you continue to reach out to your coworkers and colleagues. You can help make up for what you’re missing by not interacting with people in person by overcommunicating. It’s a good thing.
  • Take Advantage of The Time You Aren’t Commuting - The time you don’t spend commuting can be a gift…if you take advantage of it.