2020 has been a tough year for businesses. March saw us rush into lockdown and into a world of remote working that was completely new to many. That rushed nature meant work from home setups were not secure as they needed to be.
As we head into a 2nd lockdown and a return to working from home we wanted to help you set up your employees to be able to work securely and stay productive.
So here are 14 ways to make remote working secure, convenient and productive.
Take a picture
When you returned from work from the first lockdown did it take you ages to put your workspace back together? This time take a picture of your computer setup before you unplug and take things to your remote work location – including the cable set up in the back!
This will save you so much time when we get back to work and you'll know everything is set up the way it should be.
For many businesses, any device on their network will get updates installed automatically. That may not be the case when your staff are working from home and you will also have staff using their own devices.
All your employees must regularly install updates on their software and hardware. Most updates are to fix security vulnerabilities that have been exploited by hackers. If you don't install the updates you'll leave your device and network at risk.
Updates aren't just for your operating system or essential business platforms. Make sure you update the antivirus and anti-malware tools you are using, too. All updates will be focused on fixing security vulnerabilities.
If you don't have antivirus and anti-malware tools on all your devices then install them straight away. If employees are using their own devices you must make sure they have an acceptable level of antivirus and anti-malware installed.
Uninstall unnecessary software
Uninstall unnecessary software from your personal computer. If you are no longer using a piece of software then uninstall it. That means you won't have to worry about installing updates for that software.
If you leave a piece of software untouched for a long period of time it will be missing multiple updates. Don't let that put your device at risk, so if it's not in use then delete it.
Use a VPN
A VPN is a “Virtual Private Connection.” Essentially, it creates a private tunnel through the Internet for your computer to access company network resources.
Use the VPN at all times, shutting down your computer will end the connection so make sure when you restart your computer you know how to access the VPN connection again.
Turn off automatic connections on your Wi-Fi
Look at each Wi-Fi connection you have used in the past. You might have selected a different, less secure signal (i.e. the Starbucks across the street) and checked “Connect Automatically.” That signal could be taking priority over a more secure signal you should be using.
If you are connected to the wrong signal, click on it and select “Forget this Network.” That will force your computer to sign into that network manually next time.
Separate your network
If employees are having to use their own devices you can separate your network to help protect your main network and the most sensitive of data. By putting employees who are using their own devices on a separate you can minimise the risk and damage if one of those devices become infected.
This is something you should look to put in place when you are back in the office. Have a separate network for guests and visitors so you can keep your main network secure.
Lock your computer
Since GDPR the protection of data has been more important than ever. If you live with other people then you should lock your computer when you step away from it. Although members of your household will not be acting maliciously, a curious glance at a screen could become a breach of GDPR.
If you work remotely and do so away from home, this step is especially important. Data doesn't have to be taken for a GDPR breach to happen, just being able to see the data is enough.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to further protect your logins. MFA acts as a second form of protection for your accounts. Once you enter your password you will need to take another action to validate your login. This is often entering a code that is sent to your mobile.
So even if you lose your laptop and they could access your password they still wouldn't be able to log in without completing the second action.
Use a password manager
Your company should be using strong and unique passwords. That means a different password for each login you use. Now it's going to be near impossible to remember multiple unique and strong passwords.
Instead of writing them down somewhere or keeping them in a spreadsheet, use a password manager. You can store all your passwords in one secure place and all you need to do is remember the main password for the manager.
Securing your DNS settings
When you browse to a URL (website address), the DNS server tells your web browser where to go (the address on the internet where that website is found). In DNS hijacking attacks, cybercriminals take over logins belonging to the DNS providers and registrants and manipulate the victim’s DNS records to redirect their incoming traffic.
As a result, an end-user device making a DNS query is provided false information, sending the user to a fake website masquerading as the legitimate one. Ask your IT person about securing the DNS settings on your personal computer.
Check with your IT team to make sure your data is being backed up
Backing up your data is vital to any business. You will most likely have a data backup strategy set up for the whole business, but will that cover home workers? Make sure that all your data is being backed up even as you work from home.
The easiest way to do that is to access and save all documents in the Cloud. Not only can you collaborate in real-time but your files will be stored in the Cloud and easily backed up. Avoid saving files to personal devices, you might be breaching GDPR and they will likely not be backed up.
Update your softphone software
Just like some of the earlier tips, it's important to install the updates on your softphone (if your company uses a VoIP system). Keeping the updates regularly installed will mean your phone is up to date with the latest security updates.
If your business is not using VoIP then that is something to consider. VoIP telephone systems allow you to access your work phone directly from an app. That means your mobile phone acts just like your office phone. It's a great way to stay professional over the phone when dealing with customers.
See something, say something
When in doubt: See something, say something. If you receive a suspicious email, report it to your IT provider. Others may receive the same email and should know not to act on it.
Notice a big slow down in your system? It might just be the internet, or an update installing – or it might be something more nefarious. It’s okay to ask to get it checked out by IT.
Working from home was a new experience for many. The way your technology worked completely changed. As we head back into lockdown you have a chance to improve your work from home setups.
Yes, you will always need to focus on a convenient solution for your employees but that shouldn't come at the expense of your security.
Following the above tips will help but if you need more help or just want to check you have the right security in place get in touch. You can contact us here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01634 52 52 52.