Remote Work Cyber Security Best Practices

How to Work Remote safely JuneBlog2

Remote work was already gaining steam with companies around the country before the COVID-19 pandemic. After this is all over, though, remote work is only going to be a bigger piece of the operational pie. Working from the office is definitely going to come back (and it already has in many places) but we are never returning to exactly the same work structure as before. A lot of good can come from a more remote-dominant structure, but only if cyber security risks are managed correctly.

Major Remote Working Security Risks

Before getting into some of the productivity and security technology that makes remote work possible today, it’s important to acknowledge some of the major risk factors associated with remote work.

Open or Public Wi-Fi Networks – Working on an unsecured network is just asking for a hacker to break into your company’s systems. There are two common scenarios where this might happen.

First, your Wi-Fi network at home is not password protected. What many people don’t seem to realize is your home Wi-Fi signal is broadcast outside your house. A powerful enough router could even enable users parked outside your house to access your network (give this a try yourself after you’re finished reading).

Second, you could be working on a public Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop or other similar location. There’s nothing wrong with working from these locations, but the proper precautions must be taken. Using a VPN, either one set up by your IT team or one approved by the company, puts a wall between you and others using the same network.

Fast and Loose Data Storage – When you’re at the office, practices for saving and transmitting files likely aren’t an issue, but people often get lazy with their storage practices at home. Saving files to random USB sticks, using personal cloud storage instead of approved business platforms, and more pose a few distinct risks. 

The most obvious is it may be difficult to track where everything is when you need it. This is sure to reduce productivity. Not a cyber risk, per se, but definitely something that could harm the company. 

By using disparate storage techniques, you may also be opening yourself and the company up to threats from more angles. It’s best to keep everything in company-approved systems that are protected by official security measures.

High Visibility in Public – The coffee shop scenario also presents a problem that most people aren’t actively thinking about: line of sight. No, a best practice isn’t to drape a blanket over your head and the screen of your laptop, but just be conscious of your surroundings. Consider finding a seat with your back up against a wall instead of open for the entire store.

The bottom line is that none of these potential issues are insurmountable. In fact, a bit of awareness and a few simple process changes are all an employee needs to mitigate most threats.

Remote Working Technology

Once you have taken proper care to assess the risk in your individual location or situation, remote work can be as productive, or even more so, than working in an office. Technologies like Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or countless other video conferencing platforms) enable teams to quickly ask each other questions and stay connected.

Robust cloud infrastructure also works wonders in a remote environment. If you’ve got an internet connection and your company has migrated systems to a private, public, or hybrid cloud, many or all work functions can be carried out as normal.

Home Cyber Security

Though cyber security in most employees’ homes isn’t going to be as robust as it is in the office, there are a few key ways to reduce risk. Working with an experienced provider is a good way to ensure your systems overall are in good hands. 24/7 monitoring also allows active threats to be detected quickly so business downtime can be avoided.

In the home, make sure that your Wi-Fi network is password protected. Even then, it is also a good idea to work behind a VPN. Two layers of protection are better than one, and VPNs aren’t so cumbersome that they will affect the workday at all.

Also, don’t leave your computer on and unlocked while unattended. And, this should go without saying, don’t leave a laptop sitting on your car seat. That is just asking for trouble that goes far beyond a break-in.

Remote work cyber security is part of the new normal we are all dealing with, and it isn’t ever going away. Being smart and conscientious, however, means you can be secure without sacrificing productivity.

TMGC and Your Business

The Millennium Group Consulting has an experienced team of technology consultants who can assess your business goals and how technology can align with them. We build out custom-tailored IT infrastructure for our clients based on their specific needs.

Give us a call today to discuss how we can ramp up productivity and security even in today’s environment.