Working from home used to be a luxury.
Then, 2020 happened. And these days, it’s become the norm. With much of the world settled into the new routine, it’s time to ask:
— ‘What can we do to make your home office more cyber secure?’
We’ve compiled seven simple cyber security tips for you to follow. If you need IT support when setting up, Mid-Coast Tech is here to help. But first, give these 7 cyber security tips a read, then let’s take it from there.
7 Cyber Security Tips:
Tip 1: Invest In the Right Cyber Security Services
Cybercrime costs businesses billions every year. And the only way to prevent criminals from exploiting more vulnerable home networks is to purchase an effective solution.
So the first step every remote employee can take is to download antivirus software. Cyber security services, like SentinelOne, prevent everything from malware to ransomware, DDoS attacks to trojans. They can even filter out phishing scams sent to email, avoiding the risk of an employee clicking a suspect link.
The best antivirus packages run in the background, so you don’t notice them, while auto-updates keep your network safe from ever-evolving threats.
Tip 2: Double-down on Protection with a VPN
Cyber security services offer one line of defense. But it’s best to give your network every chance of staying secure, particularly when your team works remotely. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, creates a secure connection to your business IT infrastructure, no matter where an employee logs on.
In doing so, it reduces the likelihood of a data breach or hack. And provided you include multi-factor authentication when accessing the VPN, you’ll keep your company network as secure as it can be.
Tip 3: Ramp Up Email Security
Antivirus software — coupled with a VPN — can take you far in the cyber security world. But human error can always let a cyber-criminal in through the backdoor.
Emails are among the most straightforward areas to exploit. Not least because people are easier to dupe than software — and phishing scams are getting more sophisticated by the day (with spam filters only detecting so many). So talk to your employees about online risks.
Then give your email security a boost by implementing the following measures:
- Encrypt all devices: with more staff out of the office than ever, there’s every likelihood of a stolen device. But if you enable encryption on every single one, then even a laptop theft shouldn’t let a criminal steal your data.
- Enforce VPN-only access: only let employees access company emails if they’re on the company VPN. That way, the encrypted network protects sensitive data, ensuring no-one can intercept it in transit.
- Educate everyone: the best cyber defense lies in education. If people are aware of the risks, they’ll take every precaution to avoid them. So teach your team to spot phishing attempts and suspect links, and they’ll stay secure online.
Tip 4: Beware of Third-party Apps
As your company becomes more distributed, there’s no way to avoid using video conferencing software and chat apps. But you need to beware of the potential cyber-risks such software can introduce. Zoom suffered a breach as it surged in popularity at the start of 2020.
And while the company has upped its game, no app is immune to the threat. That said, there are several ways to avoid the fabled ‘Zoom-bombing’ of meetings:
- Require a password for entry
- Control access via a waiting room
- Update the software whenever possible
And remember: there are plenty of secure ways to host a teleconference. Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are two strong contenders — or you can install VoIP services that handle video conferencing as well.
Tip 5: Consider Cloud-based Storage
If you switch to Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, cloud storage will come as standard. And you need to ensure your employees make the most of this ultra-secure solution. Cloud-based storage uses the same security protocols as Microsoft and Google themselves.
Suffice to say: these are some of the most well-guarded systems in the world. On the other hand, if employees save files locally, there’s much less to protect them from a breach. Moreover, if someone loses their device, or if ransomware corrupts the hardware, at least you can retrieve your data from the cloud.
Tip 6: Keep Family and Work Separate
This isn’t just lifestyle advice. While an iPad can be a godsend when a screen is all that’ll calm a kid, that’s best kept to a family device, not a work one.
In truth, you should try to keep your family away from all work devices, as young children are prone to clicking on a link they shouldn’t. And don’t forget to secure your work phone with a password, as if small hands find it, there’s no telling the buttons they’ll press.
Tip 7: Buy a Sliding Webcam Cover
Memes make light of tech companies listening into conversations or watching your every step — but while you smirk, cybercriminals plot their next move. Webcams are surprisingly easy to hack, not only compromising your privacy but putting any sensitive documents on your desk in plain sight.
Don’t risk the joke becoming a reality: do what you can to obscure your webcam when not in use.
- That might mean unplugging it (if it’s separate from your device);
- Or you might have to use a cover (if it sits above your screen).
Sliding webcam covers are easy enough to find online. And they only take a second to install. If you’re feeling particularly security conscious, consider the ‘Blur Background’ feature any time you have a video call with someone you don’t know.
Need Advice? Professional IT Support Is Just A Call Away.
Many of these tips are easy enough to follow. But if you’d like specific guidance on setting up a VPN, installing VoIP services, or sourcing the right antivirus software for your home office, we’d be more than happy to offer professional IT support.
Feel free to give Mid-Coast Tech a call, any time, at 207-236-0021.