With the Covid-19 outbreak hitting cities around the U.S. hard, as well as the global impact, many workers are now remote, at least temporarily.
Even outside of the unique circumstances we’re currently facing, according to data from Global Workplace Analytics, the number of work-from-home employees has gone up 159% since 2005.
While there are unique benefits to a tech-driven world that allows employees to work remotely for business continuity, there are downsides and risks to think about.
Cybersecurity, such as different types of DNS attacks, can themselves be a risk to business continuity as well.
When your employees are working remotely, you need to ensure they stay on top of cybersecurity and they understand the risks. They’re accessing a lot of important information remotely, and the following are cybersecurity tips for remote workers.
Identifying the Main Threats
First, you should identify the primary cybersecurity threats that come from having your employees work remotely. This can help you provide the right tools and information to employees so they can prevent them.
Primary threats that come from remote work, as far as cybersecurity goes, include:
- Unsecured Wi-Fi—this shouldn’t be as much of a risk with our current situation as it would be ordinarily but is still possible. Most places like restaurants and coffee shops where employees might go to work remotely aren’t open, at least not for dine-in, so it does reduce the potential of employees using unsecured WiFi, but it still may be something you want to address with employees.
- The use of personal devices—if you don’t provide your employees with devices, or even if you do, they may be using their home network to access business networks. If their devices don’t have things like firewalls and strong antivirus software, it can be problematic. If a device has malware, it can mean work data and information is breached.
- Scams—It’s possible that we could see more scams targeting remote workers because it is something so many people are doing right now.
Stay in Communication
Often the biggest issue with cybersecurity is human error. When employees are outside of their normal office environment, they could be even more prone to make mistakes that lead to cybersecurity issues.
As part of avoiding this, you might want to send out daily reminders to remote employees about the steps they can take to avoid these errors.
Help Employees Have the Resources They Need
We’re all in a bit of a fog right now with what’s going on, but as an employer, it really is up to you to make sure your employees have what they need for cybersecurity if they’re working from home. Your business can depend on it.
Some of the things to make sure employees have access to or are able to set up include:
- Encourage employees to change their passwords frequently, and if they need to log into several applications to work throughout the day, you might want to have them use a password manager. A password manager can autofill and remember passwords for employees.
- Two-factor authentication is something that uses a two-step verification process to add additional protection to all accounts.
- It might be good to have employees use a Virtual Private Network or VPN, particularly if they access a lot of sensitive data or information. A VPN can encrypt online traffic and make it unreadable if there’s a breach.
- Firewalls are a really simple component of online security, but you need to confirm with employees they have these in place on the devices they use. A firewall creates a barrier between the internet and the device, and it can prevent data leaks and malicious attacks.
- If there are any software updates, alert employees as to how important it is to update them when they become available. Updates very frequently include security vulnerability patches.
- Encourage employees to use a cloud backup service for their data in case they lose it.
- Provide information to employees as to how to avoid phishing attacks. Phishing attacks can come from legitimate-looking emails, and they’re one of the simplest ways to stage a cybersecurity attack but they also happen to be among the most effective and the most devastating.
- Antivirus software is something to use along with a firewall to keep threats from penetrating.
Right now, employers are really scrambling to keep their businesses from ceasing operations, but you can’t let something as important as cybersecurity go under-the-radar because it may interrupt your business long after the Covid-19 outbreak subsides.