Stay Safe Online While Working from Home

March 31st, 2020
Stay Safe Online While Working from Home

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We are all in uncharted territory. Over the last 2 weeks, businesses have moved to a work from home model in droves. The suddenness of the shift, and the lack of preparedness by most small businesses (and even large banks like CIBC and BMO), has made it clear that contingency plans are an absolute necessity for ALL businesses. They allow you to respond to an emergency fast, and transition smoothly, instead of reacting whenever you encounter a disaster.

Unfortunately, because of a general lack of planning, many work from home solutions are implemented without much attention being given to security. With businesses utilizing this new approach, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the increasing time people are spending online, and the attention that is being paid to the global pandemic.

Cybercriminals are an opportunistic bunch. If you lock the door, they’ll come in through the window. That’s why it’s so important to do everything in your power to reduce their changes of getting past your defenses.

Here are 5 tips you can use now to stay safe online while working from home:

  1. Use passwords to protect your data
  2. Avoid using default or easy to guess passwords on your devices. Also, ensure you have password protection and multi-factor authentication on any devices that you use for work purposes. If you have a number of passwords, consider a password manager. There are many free or low-cost options out there, including LastPass.

  3. Beware of phishing attacks
  4. Phishing is the #1 method hackers use to get into your computer and network. Check for obvious signs of a phishing scam. That includes email addresses that don’t match the sender, emails that don’t use your name, spelling and grammar mistakes, requests for sensitive information (or requests that make no sense), and unsolicited attachments. For instance, an email from Amazon regarding a package you ordered could be [email protected]

  5. Don’t use personal devices (or accounts) for work
  6. Don’t use your personal devices, or personal accounts to send and receive company data. Also, ensure your devices and applications are up to date. By updating your computers and patching known vulnerabilities on your devices and applications, you minimize your chances of being breached. If you use a company owned device to access company data, make sure you turn on the find my device feature so you can find it if it goes missing. If you can’t find your device, remotely lock or wipe the device and report it to your company.

  7. Review your home setup
  8. If you’ve given out your Wi-Fi password now is a good time to change it. You should also change the default password on your router, and ensure your network is encrypted with WPA2. Try to work in a space that cannot be accessed by visitors, and store any confidential data in a secure spot, so it can be taken in for shredding.

  9. Data backup and storage
  10. Don’t store your data locally on your device. Store and back up files directly to your company server or a cloud-based application like Sync, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Also, at the end of the day close all your webpages and lock your computer, this will limit the chances a hacker has to get into your computer.

As the pandemic progresses, cybercriminals will work tirelessly to gain access to your confidential company information. Hackers are finding ways to take advantage of people’s fear, that’s why you need to keep your eyes open and be careful to stay safe online. If you are concerned about your business and employees staying safe online while working from home, give us a call at (416) 966-3306 and we would be happy to help. You can also get a copy of our remote work checklist that we put together to help businesses manage a remote workforce.