Cyber Security Best Practices For Remote Workers: How To Stay Safe Online

Cyber Security Best Practices for Remote Workers

What started as a necessity during the pandemic has become a new normal. The remote work trend has become popular among all industries. While some focus on hybrid work arrangements, others have established a digital presence and built a remote workforce.

The popularity of the remote work trend has not gone unnoticed by cybercriminals, though. That’s why it’s become essential to up your security protocols, more now than ever.

The question is which sets of security tools and services your business needs to protect your remote workforce? We’ve compiled a list of some best cybersecurity practices that apply to all businesses with remote work arrangements. Let’s take a look.

1. Update Your Router

An outdated router won’t just present security risks but affects the network speed too. You’d notice the difference in speed when downloading large files, playing games, and streaming live videos.

Most importantly, you must update your router with the latest security patches and firewall to filter the incoming and outgoing traffic to your home’s network.

Remember, your router is the entry point to your network. Not updating it will compromise the security of all devices connected to it. Whether you’ve just linked personal devices to your router or corporate devices, updating your router is critical for your network’s security. IT help desk providers advise people not to use a router more than five years old.

2. Use VPN

VPN allows you to hide your IP addresses when connecting to a secure network. For instance, if you want to access your company’s websites or data securely from a public network, turn on the VPN so that the information transmitted between your devices will be encrypted.

These work just like firewalls. They allow remote workers to access their company’s network and tools without compromising their security. With the VPN enabled, the data travels through a secured channel encrypted by SSL or TLS. This prevents man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks.

3. Separate Your Work and Personal Devices

A business should educate its employees about using separate devices for personal and corporate work. This is the most crucial step in securing your network and reducing the risk of a data breach. You never know whether your personal devices are compromised.

And since people use their PCs and smartphones for games, streaming services, and accessing unsecured websites, there’s a risk of viruses finding their way into their system.

Once the attackers get access to your computer, they can easily launch malware and steal your confidential data. So, it’s advisable to use a separate device for corporate work and limit its use to work-related stuff.

4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Another step for verification can be a hassle for people. You have entered the login credentials and are waiting for another code to be sent to your registered mobile number or email address to confirm your identity before you are given access to your remote system.

That seems time-consuming and unnecessary. However, multi-factor authentication is one of the most crucial security practices for remote employees. With 2FA enabled, you can rest assured that only you can access your system.

Even if an attacker finds the right password and username combination through a brute-force attack, they won’t be able to hack your system unless they clear this additional verification step.

5. Educate Your Team About Phishing Scams

Do you know the number of phishing attacks attempted in 2022 doubled to 500 million? Delivery services, messaging apps, and cryptocurrency platforms accounted for most of these attacks. These were twice as many as the attacks reported in 2021.

Fortunately, some antivirus programs and firewall protection systems detect phishing attempts and warn users about them. This prevents them from opening a suspicious email from a scammer. However, if that doesn’t work, your team should know how to differentiate between a safe and a suspicious email.

You might have received emails asking you to click on certain links or open a file on your system. They are safe if they are from recognized senders. If you get such emails from unknown parties, it’s better to not open them.

6. Set Strong Passwords

Employees working from home might take this step for granted. With the increasing number of brute-force attacks reported, it’s important to create strong passwords that are at least eight characters long and contain special characters, digits, and capital letters.

Random passwords, which are relevant to your profile, name, or DOB, can be easily hacked. Even if you have enabled two-factor authentication, you must create strong passwords that won’t give hackers access to your system.

7. Use Antivirus and Firewall

An antivirus program is designed to protect your system from getting infected with the virus, malware, trojans, and spyware. It automatically detects the virus and restricts its access to your devices. Likewise, firewall protection is necessary for your remote workforce.

It can be enabled for a specific device or all devices connected to the router. A firewall restricts suspicious traffic from accessing your network. A few popular antivirus software you can consider for your system are Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, etc.

8. Follow Safe and Healthy Practices at Work

Creating a healthy work environment is important, not just in the office, but at home too. Employees working from home must install the latest security protocols and keep their corporate devices in a place away from unauthorized users.

A few things, like keeping your software and hardware up-to-date, installing a firewall, and keeping up-to-date with the recent reports of cyberattacks will go a long way in securing your network.

Usually, the IT help desk teams are available to assist the remote workforce whenever needed. But, you should know the basic security services to prevent malicious users from gaining unauthorized access to your network.

Bottom Line

Cybersecurity practices for remote and hybrid employees are of paramount importance. Sometimes, hacking a device is as simple as finding the right password combination.

Advanced technology has helped businesses implement the best security protocols, but it’s also enabled hackers to find new opportunities for conducting scams. That’s why it’s important to update your software regularly and implement encryption, authentication, and other security services to prevent scammers from hacking your devices.

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