When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world in 2020, remote working models became prevalent among all sizes of businesses due to global lockdowns and curfews. At first, most people thought that remote working models were temporary, but in a short amount of time, it was adopted by the vast majority of employees and businesses.
As of 2022, we know that remote working models are here to stay, and most businesses now allow their employees to work solely remotely or hybrid arrangements that let employees work from their homes for some days of the week. Although remote working models offer many perks to employees, working from home brings a new set of security risks along.
These security risks associated with remote workers have become concerning for most businesses as during the pandemic cyber criminals frequently targeted remotely working employees to gain illegitimate access to corporate networks and resources. In other words, remote workers are often seen as gateways by cyber criminals, that’s why they are targeted more. In this regard, remote work security has become critical for organizational growth, and it is more important than most people think. Here are the top security tips for employees who are working from home.
1. Set Strong Passwords
Setting strong passwords for work accounts is the first step in improving remote work security. Most employees usually use the same passwords for their personal and work accounts, this is a tremendous mistake. Because cyber criminals use methods like credential stuffing in which they use a compromised password to access other accounts of their target. To not fall victim to credential stuffing, setting unique and different passwords is necessary. Additionally, to improve password security, an employee must set passwords that are complex and not related to any personal information. Setting strong passwords can help remotely working employees prevent cyber criminals from compromising their passwords.
2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Solely depending on strong passwords can’t ensure the overall remote work security because when an employee’s password is compromised, cybercriminals can gain illegitimate access through this compromised account, and establish their malicious goal. To avoid incidents like that, enabling multi-factor authentication is critical. Multi-factor authentication tools create an extra layer of security for your access.
MFA tools require employees to enter additional credentials before they are permitted access. These tools can authenticate identity in various ways. Depending on client multi-factor authentication software, MFA might require physical characteristics like fingerprints, voice, and eye scans, or it might require in-app approvals or authentication SMS codes, etc. So, even if your password is compromised, cybercriminals have to pass through MFA tools to gain access. In short, enabling MFA tools will improve remote work security.
3. Separate Work and Personal Devices
Separating work and personal devices is the least remote employees can do to improve security. On the internet, there are thousands of malicious websites that are filled with malware, and during personal activities, an employee can encounter these websites and infect his devices with malware. This can have disastrous consequences when this employee uses the same device for work as well. To avoid these kinds of incidents, you should always use separate devices for work and personal activities.
4. Keep Your Operating System and Software Up-To-Date
Over time, vulnerabilities and weaknesses can pop up in operating systems or any software. As new vulnerabilities arise, updates aim to fix these vulnerabilities and gaps in operating systems, and software. In essence, updates improve security in many ways, and If you don’t keep your operating system and software up-to-date, cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses of out-of-date operating systems and software more easily. That’s why having the latest operating systems and software is essential for improving remote work security. Lastly, you can turn on automatic updates to make sure you are always using the latest operating systems and software.
5. Use Anti-Virus Software and Filtering Tools
Using anti-virus software and filtering tools is vital for improving remote work security. Using reputable anti-virus software can safeguard your device against malware, ransomware, viruses, trojans, and so on. In essence, anti-virus software and filtering tools aim to make your browsing experience safer. Additionally, while using reputable anti-virus software, you can prevent drive-by-download malware from infecting your devices and you can isolate threats immediately.
6. Invest In A Good VPN
Investing in a good remote access virtual private network (VPN) is really important to improve remote work security. VPN technology creates private tunnels between remote employees, their end-point devices, and corporate resources. In essence, remote access VPN can help you securely connect the resources you need wherever you are, even if you use unsecured Wifi networks, VPN will enable secure remote access.
Additionally, using a reputable remote access VPN can help you disguise your online presence and activities, and nobody can spy on your activities, even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can’t see your activities and how much data you are using. By all means, VPNs are indispensable components for remote work security.
In our modern world, work-from-home models have become prevalent for the vast majority of businesses. But, security risks associated with remote work models now concern all sizes of businesses. That’s why remote work security has become more important than ever, and applying top security tips can help remote employees improve and maintain security against cyber attacks.