The coronavirus outbreak has forced many office workers to stay at home. Here is what you will need to bear in mind so that both you and the company remain protected.
In the past months, COVID-19 has taken over the world. Nations are closing borders, manufacturing lines are quitting, and lots of companies are teaching employees to work at home. This makes sense: If companies are to keep on working, and if your job is location-neutral, staying home reduces the probability of catching and transmitting the coronavirus while letting you continue doing your job.
But working in the office and working at home are two different kettles of fish (or really phish). And not just because the workplace has a working setting, whereas at home you only want to lie on the sofa and pet the dog.
The actual problem — at least for cybersecurity, if not productivity — is that in the workplace, companies thoroughly protect devices and networks. Meanwhile, unless you are the CEO, sysadmins are most likely not going to come around to your apartment or home and set up everything in accordance with corporate standards. If a confidential record gets leaked out of your home computer, the buck stops with you.
Follow these ten simple tips when working remotely to prevent such a mishap.
1. Shield devices with an antivirus solution
Businesses generally undertake a selection of measures to protect computers from malware. They install powerful security options, prohibit employees from installing software, restrict online access from unauthorized devices, etc. At home, it’s trickier to supply that degree of security, but leaving a computer vulnerable if work files are saved there’s also a no-no since if they get damaged or stolen, it is going to be your neck on the chopping block.
To prevent anything like that from occurring, it’s crucial that you install a dependable security solution on all devices that manage corporate data. If money’s too tight, set up a free antivirus. Even one free of charge will significantly reduce the chance of becoming infected — and landing in big trouble with the boss.
2. Update applications and operating systems
New vulnerabilities are being found in programs and operating systems. And cybercriminals can not resist exploiting them to infiltrate other people’s devices. Often, they rely on people being too lazy to upgrade applications because in the most recent versions of apps vulnerabilities are often patched. So it is important to regularly update everything installed on any device that you use for work purposes.
3. Configure Wi-Fi encryption
Assessing the computer won’t assist if an attacker connects to some Wi-Fi or takes up residence within your router. Anyone who does this can intercept whatever you send or enter online, such as passwords for remote access to an office-based computer or corporate email. Therefore, it’s vital to configure your network connection properly.
First, be sure the link is encrypted to keep information safe from prying eyes. If your Wi-Fi requests anyone linking to it for a password, then the connection is encrypted (and Joe Blow won’t be able to spy on your job). Nevertheless, you have several Wi-Fi encryption criteria, a few of which are already obsolete, to pick from. Your very best bet is WPA2. You may use the router configurations to choose or change the sort of encryption — and bear in mind that your Wi-Fi password ought to be strong. Just in case, here is a post about how to create a strong password.
4. Change your router password and login
If you’ve not changed the login and password needed to join the router settings, do so today. The default passwords for many models aren’t only too weak, but also known throughout the Internet and easily searchable.
Attackers often simply write them in the code of malicious programs — if they operate, the router is recorded and becomes a bot. Additionally, the intruders can also spy on you, because everything that you send online passes through the router. Unsurprisingly, the location to modify the router password and username is in the router settings.
5. Use a VPN in coworking spaces and cafés
If you are unafraid of the coronavirus pandemic and functioning in a comfy café or coworking space near your house, then take additional care. Public Wi-Fi networks are often not encrypted in any way, and even if they’re, anyone can contact the password.
To prevent unsuspecting customers in the café or coworking space from spying on you through the native Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network. When you are connected via a VPN, all your information will be encrypted whatever the system settings and outsiders won’t have the ability to read it.
6. Lock your device before walking away
Someone could catch a peek of your occupation correspondence even if you’re simply having a cup of tea or taking a toilet break. Thus, it’s important to lock the display when you get up. Think about the little hassle a very small price to pay for maintaining corporate secrets safe.
Even when you’re working at home and outsiders don’t have any access to space, it is still worth locking your device. You most likely don’t need your kid to accidentally send your boss a smiley-laden text. Or your cat to walk across the keyboard and send an unfinished message into the board of supervisors. If you’re going to go somewhere else, then lock the display. And it should go without saying that your computer requires password-protection.
7. Use corporate services for email, messaging, and all other work
Your company probably has a set of IT services that workers use, such as Microsoft Office 365, a corporate messenger such as Slack or HipChat, and at the very least corporate email. These tools are configured with your company’s IT service, and it’s responsible for placing them upright.
But IT isn’t liable for the accessibility settings of, say, your personal Google Drive. Are you absolutely certain that your colleague — and nobody else — will see the file that you sent a link to? If the file is available to anyone who gets the link, then search engines can index it. And if someone googles something on the subject of your record, it may appear in the search results and catch the eye of somebody who shouldn’t even know of its presence.
Thus, stick to corporate sources if exchanging files and other information. Those cloud pushes, but configured for business, are generally a lot more reliable than the free consumer versions. Business mail usually has less spam and none of your personal correspondence, which adds up to less chance of missing an important email or sending something to the wrong address — and coworkers will know for certain that it is you, not someone pretending to be you.
8. Stay vigilant
Alas, occasionally a malicious — and exceptionally convincing — the message could sneak into the corporate email. This is particularly related to remote workers since the number of digital communications increases sharply with telecommuting. Therefore, read messages carefully and do not rush to react to them. If a person desperately needs a significant document or needs immediate payment of a statement, double-check the someone is who they claim to be. Do not be afraid to call another party for clarification, or affirm the action one more time with your boss.
Be especially suspicious of e-mails with hyperlinks. If a link to a supposed record doesn’t point to a corporate source, better to dismiss it. If everything looks fine, and the connection opens a website that looks like, say, OneDrive, don’t enter your credentials on it. Better to manually type in the OneDrive address in the browser, log in, and attempt to open the file.
9. Track your progress
So that direction does not feel that you’re having a vacation rather than remote working, it’s more important than ever to remain”transparent.” That doesn’t mean you must create signs of frenzied action, simply be sure your boss can see what tasks you’re working on and how they’re progressing. So don’t be too lazy to notice this in your institution’s task tracker, and plan to report on what you have done and how long it took.
Attempt to work during regular office hours, so that it is easier for colleagues to reach you and the working day doesn’t extend over a 24-hour period. When there isn’t any need to travel to and from the workplace, it quite often happens that you sit down to work right after breakfast and break away just when night approaches. Because of this, you get tired fast — so it is far better to restrict your day to regular working hours.
10. Create a comfortable workplace
Last but not least, do not neglect your health and well-being. If you work in a notebook, lounging on the sofa with it might look like a fantastic idea. However, your spine will not thank you in the long term, so try to end up a desk and a comfortable office-type seat.
Make certain the space is well-lit. If the light is poor, use a lamp to prevent eye strain. And do not overlook the health principles: periodically stand up, stretch your legs, drink water, get a lot of sleep, and do not skip meals.
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