Network systems with the most advanced security setups contain inherent cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Malicious actors will always seek to exploit the vulnerabilities at the slightest opportunity. The risk surface expands when employees work remotely. The coronavirus pandemic has hit all countries, forcing almost all organizations to require employees to work from home. It is then sensible that all staff should have cybersecurity best practices for working remotely at their fingertips.

Work from home security challenges

1. Individual employees have more security responsibilities

Every institution knows that everyone is responsible for maintaining robust security, but it is rarely the reality. However, with more people currently working remotely, security responsibility shifts to individuals. Individual employees are responsible for securing all personal devices and their home networks.

2. Increased susceptibility to online scams

Although cybersecurity errors and mistakes are common, there are more likely to occur when employees work remotely. Mike Bursell, Red Hat security architect, recently noted that anyone could be a victim of online scams. COVID-19-themed phishing emails and messages have increased rampantly, increasing security threats to organizational systems.

3. VPNs can be a chokepoint.

Most employees working from home heavily rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) for secure access to company networks. Too many users using VPN to access network resources concurrently can slow down access. The alternative is accessing without a VPN, which only increases security risks.

4. Scrambled security priorities

Many businesses cannot perceive the new reality as a tangible concept today. Even companies with robust cybersecurity programs may struggle with the new paradigm. For example, some companies require their security personnel to concentrate on resolving security challenges employees might experience when working remotely. They may not focus on other essential functions like monitoring, patching, and controlling access, providing hackers with a roadmap for compromising security.

Best security practices for working remotely

1. Configure the Wi-Fi security

Securing personal devices does not make sense if the Wi-Fi network is insecure. Employees must ensure to configure Wi-Fi encryption standards to prevent unauthorized individuals from connecting. A standard like WPA2 encryption is adequate. The Wi-Fi password should be easy to remember but difficult to guess and changed frequently. Employees should also ensure to change router passwords regularly, and replace default ones with strong credentials.

2. Update operating systems and programs

Released updates not only enhance programs by adding new features, but they also address identified security vulnerabilities. All employees must ensure to install new updates once they become available to prevent cyber adversaries from exploiting them.

3. Use antivirus programs

Organizations generally install robust antivirus programs to secure computer systems from malware. Employees should replicate the same when working from home. A reliable solution like Kaspersky antivirus program can add protection to devices used to access, process, or store sensitive information.

4. Only use corporate services.

Most companies use corporate IT services for messaging, email, and collaborating in work projects. Employees should continue using the same services when working remotely since the companies’ IT departments are responsible for setting the tools to acceptable security standards. Sticking to corporate IT resources to share or exchange information, communicate, and store essential data ensures the same security standards apply when working from home.

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