How to Stay Safe in a Remote Work Setup
Remote meetings are perhaps one of the most drastic adjustments that companies worldwide had to adapt to sustain their operations. Pre-pandemic, home-based jobs were not given much attention, despite its thriving and unique community. Sadly, with more and more people fulfilling their job responsibilities from their home, the rise of cyberattacks have drastically increased—at a whopping 600%.
The infamous Zoombombing, or the intrusion of unauthorized or non-participants in a Zoom meeting, is the perfect example of the most recent cyberattacks. These so-called ‘Zoombombers’ would enter a Zoom meeting unannounced and bombard participants with graphic, inappropriate, and/or offensive images and video content. Even more alarming was how these digitally based criminals took advantage of the ongoing pandemic to spread misinformation about the deadly virus.
In 2020, incidences of online security threats were up by over 17%, and in 2021, ransomware was determined to pose the highest threat to both businesses and customers.
In that regard, the last thing you want while having a Zoom meeting with your colleagues is to have your sensitive information leaked or phished by cyber thieves. You also wouldn’t want to put your team at risk by ignoring security protocols while you log into your online accounts or use digital software and apps for work.
Prevention will always be better than cure. The idea applies to safety measures you must implement while working remotely.
Now, what are these essential cybersecurity initiatives for everyday safety?
It’s time to find out.
Cybersecurity tips this 2022
1. Equip your PC or device with internet security software and antivirus.
For business owners that adapted incorporated work-from-home, installing antivirus software in your device is the first and most basic step to establishing a solid barrier against cyberthieves. The lack thereof of a reliable antivirus makes your files and operations more susceptible to ransomware and malware attacks. Think of it as your first line of defense.
See to it that you and your team regularly update their antivirus and internet security software. Otherwise, it may not be up to par with more sinister and tricky schemes used by online scammers and hackers.
2. Use VPN.
One of the roadblocks encountered in remote work is the restricted access of employees to the company’s network and internal resources. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts and conceals your network’s internet traffic, IP address, and location. You can use it on virtually any device—whether it be a PC, smartphone, tablet, or laptop. VPNs enable companies to provide their staff with secure access to the corporate team’s network and digital tools.
3. Personal hotspots are safer to use than public Wi-Fis.
Refrain from using public Wi-Fis. Public Wi-Fis serves as the perfect spot for hackers to hide in plain sight and break into the networks of unsuspecting victims. Anyone can connect to a public network, therefore, cyberattacks and security breaches can take place when you least expect it.
Have your team use their smartphones or devices to create a personal hotspot for their connectivity. Sign up for 4g or 5g cell data subscriptions to maximize the internet consumption of staff while they perform their tasks remotely. Personal hotspots are best combined with VPN to fully encrypt remote work access.
4. Implement 2FA or 2-Factor Authentication.
Here’s another tested-and-proven practice for heightened cybersecurity: Applying 2FA for your company-wide accounts. Two-factor authentication sends you a security code (using the mobile number or alternative email address you provided upon registration) each time you log in to your accounts. The extra layer of security typically discourages potential hackers and cybercriminals to breach your network.
5. Use strong and unique passwords for all company accounts.
Strong passwords are characterized by a long combination of alphanumeric characters and widely used symbols such as @, *, #, and $. These types of passwords are tougher to decode and memorize. Unique passcodes come in handy in both accessing accounts and devices for work.
To avoid forgetting these passwords, save them all in one file and ensure that only authorized staff has access to it.
6. Save important files in cloud storage.
Cloud storage is practical and highly secure. It is ideal for safekeeping important company files. Data backup and retrieval are made easier and more secure. Access to the storage becomes less hassling for the team. Sharing and updating files are also doable even in a remote setup. More importantly, using the cloud is cost-effective and convenient for both big and small businesses.
7. Limit access to online meetings to participants only.
The biggest mistake of companies who have fallen prey to Zoombombings is they share links to their online meetings in public communities. Every time you host a meeting with your remote team, check that your online meeting room is exclusive to participants only. Do not share links to your Zoom meetings or Google Meet conferences on your social media profile. If the purpose of doing so is to provide an update on your work process or to promote company culture, a screenshot of all the participants during the online conference should do.
Every business owner should allot time and resources to provide the best work environment for remote workers. Securing remote staff secures your business operations long-term. Ultimately, employing cybersecurity practices attest to how much a company values its workforce, especially amid a global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.