How to Stay Safe in Remote Work Cyberspace

Has your kitchen suddenly become your new conference room? The novel coronavirus has impacted how (and where) many of us log on to work each day, bringing a new set of benefits and challenges to a new remote workforce. 

While many of us are no longer stressed about long commutes, we may have a screaming kid in the background of our next big meeting — or worse, a stranger popping in on a video conference unannounced via “zoombomb.” These incidents also open us to a slew of cybersecurity risks, and it’s not just our personal data at risk — it’s our company’s, too.  

Remote Work: Here to Stay? 

The world was already heading remote, but COVID-19 sped up the shift dramatically. Forty-nine percent of Americans reported working from home at some point during the pandemic. Some major tech players, such as Square and Twitter, have grabbed headlines by stating they never plan to force employees to return to the office. 

Many other organizations are deciding whether to downgrade office spaces or get rid of them altogether. All signs point to a massive transition in our workforce, with remote work here to stay. 

Read on to learn more about how to stay secure while dialing in from home. 

Tips for Staying Secure Online

  1. Only Use Company Issued Devices 

Using personal devices for work presents a number of challenges. It can be mentally draining by cutting into your work-life balance — after all, do you really want Slacks popping up on your cell phone at 6 p.m. on a Friday, when you’ve already signed off? 

Even more serious is the risk of data exposure. Family members or house guests may find themselves on a screen they’re not supposed to have access to, or personal apps may let bad agents illegally access your device. 

Many cyber liability insurance policies won’t cover a business if an attack happens on a personal device, making personal devices especially risky. 

  1. Keep Software Updated 

Software updates are typically outfitted with the latest security features — which is why updating often is so important. This will help block your machine from hackers and har. 

Sometimes, software updates come with technical issues so backup any important files on a cloud or external hard drive before doing the update. 

  1. Avoid Public WiFi

There could be a ton of bad agents on a public Wi-Fi network — after all, there’s no real way to know what security protocols are in place. When working with sensitive company information, it’s best to avoid public Wi-Fi altogether. 

If you do need to login outside of your home Wi-Fi network, a mobile hotspot can help keep you safe. Your employer may be willing to pay for this access, so it’s worth asking IT if you are often on the go. 

  1. Change Your Password Regularly 

Having a secure password is one way to practice good digital hygiene. At the very least, you should be changing your password every 90 days. Some companies may require you to complete this action even more frequently. 

A password manager tool will help you keep track of your ever-changing logins. This will also prevent you from jotting down passwords on a sheet of paper that could fall into the wrong hands. 

  1. Set Up Boundaries For Meetings 

One of the toughest things about remote work is that it’s hard to control who has access to company information. After all, family members or friends may listen in or get access to a computer with sensitive data on it. 

Don’t be afraid to set up boundaries for remote meetings, especially if sensitive information is being discussed. 

Meeting software typically has security features such as meeting passcodes. You can also disable file transfers, auto-saved chats and prevent non-hosts from sharing their screens. 

Interested in learning more about how to stay secure online? Check out this infographic from The Zebra for a visual guide on common attacks and more tips to prevent risks. 

Infographics: The Zebra

How to stay safe in remote work cyberspace

Infographic Dropbox

Author bio

Karlyn is a writer who specializes in the technology and insurance spaces. She believes the best ingredients for success are passion and purpose.