5 Tips to Improve your Cyber Security while working from home
Working from home is an increasing trend among small businesses and big-name companies alike. With employers looking to provide more flexible options for their staff, the modern office is now filtering towards remote technology so people can log in and work from wherever they are in the world.
As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can still log into the company systems and work from the comfort of your own home. This has a number of benefits, including cutting down commuting hours, providing flexibility for employees, and allowing a business to continue operating if the office space is suddenly unusable. This sense of remote working has never been more prevalent, as thousands are being asked to do so in the midst of the COVID-19 spread this month.
However, it is important to remember that your home computer likely does not have the same level of cyber security in place as your work equivalent. Savvy businesses will always have some form of cyber security measures in place to protect important files and to keep criminals out.
This may come in the form of antivirus software, firewalls, two-factor authentication, and more. Whereas, unless you have actively downloaded similar measures onto your home system, you may find yourself far more vulnerable when working remotely. These vulnerabilities are often magnified even further when working on the road, as you open yourself up to unsecured and shared Wi-Fi networks.
Over half of all employees across the globe are now working outside their main office for at least 2.5 days per week. Over 80% of employees asked said they would always choose a job with remote working opportunities over one that had none. 85% claim that productivity has increased due to the flexibility provided by remote working. However, despite all this, almost half of businesses are concerned about data security in relation to remote working.
Table of Contents
1. Treat your home computer as you would your system at work
We can have a tendency to let our guards down, not only when we are in the home environment, but also when we are browsing on our home computers. These systems belong to us, so we do not have the natural feelings of guilt or responsibility that we have when operating expensive machines at work.
However, it would be a mistake to treat your home computer any differently from the one you use within the office setting.
The number one cause for infection on a company system is human error, which only highlights the growing need for improved cyber security practices and education. Chances are when using your work computer, you are careful about the messages, attachments, and links that you open.
You probably do not risk entering unknown third-party sites, especially when warned against doing so by your antivirus system. You should be taking these same exact steps when working from home. Remember, it isn’t just your personal system you are putting at risk, but the company servers too.
2. Updates and patches will keep your computer protected
Constant reminders about updating software can be irritating, but it is an absolute necessity in the modern internet age. Software updates and patches are released regularly to ensure that the system not only runs as smoothly as possible, but also that any exploits, vulnerabilities, or possible avenues of attack for cyber criminals are blocked off.
In short, failing to update your system leaves it far more vulnerable to a cyber attack. The easiest thing to do is set your home computer to install updates automatically, that way they will likely download when you are asleep or not using the system in question.
3. Always be aware of unsecured Wi-Fi networks while away from the office
While the Wi-Fi network within your office building is likely to be secure and encrypted, the same cannot be said for every router you connect to on your travels. If you risk using an unsecured network while working remotely, you risk allowing nearby malicious attackers a route into the company network and systems.
If they successfully find a route in via your connection, they may be able to access all kinds of sensitive information, causing as much damage as they like in the process.
To help protect your network while away from the office, you can invest in a secure home Wi-Fi network which would likely replicate the environment you have at work. You can also use a “Virtual Private Network” (VPN) connection when working on the go, which is a program used to hide your network data while online.
4. Create a working from home security policy for your business
Many businesses have work-from-home security policies in place to help prepare themselves and their employees for mitigate cyber security issues while working remotely.
Here is our 10-point guide for simple steps to set up your own policy:
1. Create strong passwords for all accounts, computers and mobile devices
2. Don’t use the same password for work and personal accounts
3. Set up Two-Factor Authentication (i.e. password and phone number)
4. Use antivirus software
5. Install patches and updates (i.e. automatic updates)
6. Partake in training on identifying phishing email scams
7. Regularly back up your data
8. Make sure that all communication is encrypted
9. Make sure that your Wi-Fi router is secure
10. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection
5. Give yourself the best chance with the latest physical security
In simple terms, the more modern the technology, the better the physical security included will likely be. Outdated computers can carry outdated software, much of which will not be affected by the latest patches and updates. Ensure that your system is up to date and capable of fighting the cyber threats of today!
Have any questions?
Talk to one of our Cyber Experts today!
We are a specialist insurance brokerage with an emphasis on adding value to our clients by helping them make an informed decision. Our approach combines that of an insurance broker and consultant, where we focus on providing expert advice to our clients while customising their insurance program and risk management solutions.
Since starting in 2013, KBI is constantly growing and becoming a leader in the Australian market. Our primary point of difference is that we don’t try to be all things to all people. We work in niche areas, where we can tailor an offering, advice and broker support to meet the specific area’s needs.
By Tyler Speers
Tyler Speers is an Account Manager at KBI with a focus on Cyber insurance.