The widespread growth of COVID-19 has led to many employers allowing their employees to work remotely. While it can be a convenience, it can also pose security risks. Companies can expect to see more phishing and malware attacks in the wake of the outbreak, which is all the more reason for businesses to go over security tips and procedures for employees working remotely. Here are a few ideas.
- Wi-Fi connections should be secure by using WPA2 encryption, which is recommended for home networks. Using older installations or equipment may allow someone with basic hacking knowhow to access your network. Turn on WPA2 (or WPA3) encryption on your router. If you don’t have these options, try updating your router software or consider replacing your router. Information on securing your wireless network and secure remote access is available as a guide.
- Software should be kept up-to-date. Use strong unique passwords on all devices and apps as added protection from hacking. It’s suggested that passwords be 8-12 characters; with a mix of numbers, symbols, capital, and lowercase letters. Passwords should also be changed on a regular basis.
- A virtual private network (VPN) should be used at all times. This provides increased security by encrypting the line of communication between your device and your work network.
- Consider the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for an additional layer of protection.
- Company procedure should be followed closely when accessing company confidential data.
- Use your company’s procedure for disposing of sensitive data. Documents may need to be shred instead of discarded in the trash.
- Keep an eye on your laptop and devices and never leave them unattended. Consider storing devices in a file cabinet that can be locked or a locked room.
- Follow company procedure in regards to backing up and saving important files.
- Be cautious about opening and clicking on links about COVID-19. If you are unsure who sent the message to you, it is best to notify your IT department to look it over before opening it.
While these are some basic tips for securely working from home, this does not cover all bases. Situations vary and businesses will have to adapt as needed. It is important to stress that employees need to use sound judgment and report any problems or anything suspicious. For more tips on protecting your small business or organization, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s, “Cybersecurity for Small Business” link.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.