With more employees working from home, every device, Wi-Fi network or email server accessed outside of the business is a potential access point for hackers. It’s important while your employees are working remotely to have policies and guidelines in place to ensure that your business is not a victim of a cyber attack. Here are seven tips to help you reduce the threat of cybercrime while your employees work from home.
1. Establish Security Guidelines and Rules
Scheduled annual trainings and periodic emails about phishing are not enough to help remind your employees to practice good cyber habits. A fresh reminder, including formal procedures or rule documents, can go a long way in reinforcing security best practices. While your employees are working from home, notify them about common online scams with occasional reminders.
2. Set Up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN system creates an encrypted tunnel that your internet traffic goes through so it isn’t seen by third parties. Setting up a VPN may sound daunting, but it just requires a couple hours to configure and isn’t too technical. VPN with multi-factor authentication should be used because it’s the strongest defense.
3. Require Encryption and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) to Secure Networks
Wi-Fi isn’t totally secure, but private, password protected networks are significantly more secure than public networks. Remind your employees to only connect to private networks that require passwords to help improve cybersecurity while they’re working from home.
4. Use Password-protected Devices
It’s a good idea to require employees to use strong passwords that contain letters, numbers and special characters. You should also remind them not to use the same password on multiple devices and accounts. Requiring password updates periodically will also keep your devices safer and increase the level of cybersecurity.
5. Maintain Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software
Have employees install and regularly update security software on any device they use to perform work remotely. This would include a phone, tablet, laptop, etc. Many employers are eliminating the option for employees to use their own device and requiring that employees use only employer-supplied equipment and devices. If you don’t provide equipment, remind your employees more often, and check if possible, to make sure they have their software up to date.
6. Power Down
Simply powering down computers when they are not in use can help keep your network safer. When they’re powered off, they are not accessible or susceptible to attacks or intrusions through the internet. Encourage your work-from-home employees to boost cybersecurity by shutting down their work machines at the end of the day.
7. Backup Data
It’s also important that you and your employees regularly backup sensitive information. Some important data should also be encrypted. Secure backups are the best strategy to prevent critical business disruptions in case of a ransomware attack.
Whether you’re just starting to have employees work remotely or have had remote employees for years, it’s important to remind them of the importance of cybersecurity. If you have questions on how to protect your business, reach out to your Farm Bureau agent.