Human Resources and Benefits, COVID-19

Cybersecurity and Working Remotely

Working remotely has its perks. You feel more relaxed and secure in the comfort of your own home. But you’re still under constant threat from computer viruses, malware, phishing emails, and scams. How safe is your work computer? Cybersecurity should be a top priority regardless of where you’re working. With more businesses shifting to a remote environment, it’s even more important to create a secure home network.

“Transitioning from a business office to a home office presents new challenges to cybersecurity.”

The essential security requirement for working from home is making sure you’re compliant with your company’s IT policy. Each business has unique IT security needs, such as using specific equipment and data encryption. Understand the policy and lean on the IT department to ensure your computer and company information is safe at home.

There’s more you can do. These four tips can help ensure your home’s cybersecurity:

Make sure your internet router and modem are secure and up to date.

Most routers will have a default password. Make sure to update it to a unique passphrase that’s difficult to guess. Also, most routers will have some level of built-in security. Update your router to the newest firmware. Not sure how to do that? Dust off that old manual or look up the router’s model number online. Instructions should be available for free from the manufacturer.

Keep your work and personal computer separate.

You may want to send an email or transfer files from your personal laptop. But you may be circumventing important security or encryption measures your work computer has built-in, exposing your company to data theft. 

Pretend you’re still in a business office.

Consider how you would act if you weren’t at home. Locking your computer screen may seem unnecessary, but it protects company data from curious roommates or children. You may feel more comfortable clicking on a strange email, but you’re still susceptible to malware and phishing attempts. Never connect to public Wi-Fi. Anyone can connect and see what you’re doing when connected to an insecure network.

Lock up your computer.

One perk of working in a business complex is the added physical security. Cameras and ID badges help prevent theft. Not everyone can afford the same protection at their home. When you’re done working for the day put your computer away and lock it up. If you’re traveling, never leave your laptop in the car.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new avenues of malicious internet activity. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, there’s been a rise of COVID-19 related phishing that can put you at risk for malware and computer viruses. Be cautious of any COVID-19 emails that have suspicious attachments or links.

Cybersecurity is one part hardware and one part commonsense. Don’t fall victim to cyberattacks that put you and your company in jeopardy.

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