How to Stay Cyber-Secure When Working From Home

Whilst working from home may help increase productivity and employee satisfaction, it also brings the risk of cyber-attacks through unsecured networks.

Normally, when working from an office, employees have the benefit of working with a secure network which is monitored by their IT department. However, whilst at home, many don’t consider their own personal network security as it’s just them and their family using it.

However, it is just as important at home as it is in work. In fact, if employees are accessing personal emails and messages or social media on a work laptop at home, they can be exposed to a larger pool of potentially dangerous phishing emails, scams and cyber-attacks.

So, how can you be cyber-safe when working from home?

Why is Cyber Security important?

Cyber Security refers to the protection of digital information, keeping it safe from cyber criminals. Sensitive data, if it gets into the wrong hands, can be devastating for many reasons. It might mean hackers can access your private emails, bank statements or allow them to steal your identity.

For companies, it is even more important to ensure that employees stay cyber-secure whilst working from home because the stakes are higher. While your personal data puts you at risk, compromised company data may affect clients and customers, as well as other employees. This may then impact on the company’s reputation and future success.

As a company that understands technology, we have put together some tips that could help keep you and your employees cyber-safe whilst working from home.

Tips for Cyber Security When Working from Home

Ensure WiFi and Network Security

Sharing a WiFi network allows you to access any devices that are connected to it. An attacker simply needs to connect to your router in order to get into any of your devices. If you want to stay cyber-secure when working from home, make sure that connecting to your WiFi requires a strong password (made up of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers). Check your router’s settings to see how to enable this.

Use Antivirus Software

Purchasing antivirus software from a reputable company protects your computer from a variety of cyber-threats, including viruses, malware, spyware, etc. While it might not ensure complete cyber-safety when working from home, it definitely is a step in the right direction.

Update Software Programs

The world of cyber-threats is constantly evolving. As we develop better tools for cyber security, cyber criminals are working to find ways around them. This is why the programs and operating system that you use are constantly being updated – to plug in any security holes within. By keeping these updated, you can ensure that you have the latest protection built in the software you use.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network, or a VPN, can be very helpful in keeping you cyber-secure whilst you work from home. This is a system that allows a private network to extend through a public network, thereby securely connecting users spread apart. In essence, it allows people to connect across a distance through a public network that behaves like a private network.

Since private networks can be made secure and accessible to authorised users (this can be set up by your IT department), it allows employees to connect and communicate with each other securely.

Be Scam Aware

Cyber criminals have been known to take advantage of current events or people’s fears to create phishing or scam campaigns. These are emails, text messages, or even phone calls designed to gather sensitive information by impersonating a legitimate organisation.

Usually, phishing attempts will play on people’s fears, like an unpaid bill which might lead to the discontinuation of a service. They may also play on desire, by saying you’ve won a prize which you can claim if you provide certain details or money.

As a rule, do not give up any sensitive information on a call or via email. Phishing messages rely on you clicking on links without actually looking at them, and they generally take you to a page that mimics the official company quite well. That is why you should never click on a link provided in the email. Always go to the official website of the company by typing the address manually in your browser’s address bar.

Be Careful When Sharing Your Screen

When working remotely, you might find yourself involved in more video and conference calls. These are essential for team work and client meetings if you can’t be there physically. In some situations, you may also have to share your screen and potentially show your audience something they weren’t meant to see.

In most cases, it may just be awkward or maybe embarrassing. However, you could also accidentally share something that was meant to be confidential. This is why it is important to be aware of what you might be showing on a call when sharing your screen.

Be Careful of What You Share Online

Any information you share on social media is accessible to anyone who cares to look for it. Similarly, you may think you know who the email is from, but you can never be sure about who has control of the email account. This is why you should make it a practise to never share sensitive information over emails or social media.

As you can see, staying cyber-secure when working from home does not require a great deal of effort or technical expertise. It simply requires you to be aware of the potential dangers and avoid risky behaviour. With a few changes to the way you work, you can make your home as cyber-secure as your office.