Cyber Security for Remote Workers: Best Practices for a Secure Home Office

During COVID-19, many organisations moved from the office environment to working remotely. Nowadays, employees continue to work in a hybrid or fully remote role due to the many benefits. While most employees agree that working remotely provides flexibility, cyber threats and attacks are more likely to occur than working in a secure corporate office. Luckily, there are ways employees can continue to work remotely and reduce the risk of cyber threats. Continue reading as we explain the best practices for a secure home office.

1) Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Passwords are generally the first line of defence against cyber attacks. You may think your work laptop or computer is fully secure, but work devices can still get stolen and criminals can gain easy access. If your work devices don’t have passwords already, it’s crucial that you set them up. Use strong, unique passwords with a mix of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and special characters. Furthermore, aim for passwords with at least 12 characters for optimal security. For optimal security, manage your passwords and change them occasionally to reduce the likelihood of data breaches. 

2) Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Remote workers can work from anywhere once they have an internet connection such as cafes and co-working spaces. However, it is advised to avoid using public networks. Instead, work from home and use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your online activity and data. This creates a secure connection between your work devices and your home internet connection. It can also allow employees to access company data outside the office. Using a VPN is vital for remote workers when accessing confidential work systems and sensitive information. 

3) Install Antivirus Software and a Firewall

Antivirus software protects work devices from viruses, ransomware, spyware and other types of malware. It works by scanning your files, detecting any malicious threats, and removing them from your system. It also prevents hackers from infecting your device with malware software by scanning downloaded files. Without antivirus software, your work devices are vulnerable, meaning any hacker can attempt to steal your data. 

Additionally, you should also have a firewall installed on your work devices. A firewall acts as a barrier to block unauthorised access from and to networks and systems.

4) Beware of Phishing Attacks

Research shows that phishing is the most common type of cyber breach or attack (84%) among reported businesses. Phishing is an attempt to steal sensitive information in the form of spam emails, links, pop-up ads, calls or text messages. Many remote workers receive spam emails impersonating their CEO or another senior member. If you receive these emails, do not give any details or click on any links. If the email address looks inaccurate or suspicious, it is most likely a spam email. If your organisation has a protocol for reporting phishing attacks, make sure to utilise it and raise awareness among other employees. 

5) Don’t Use Personal Devices For Work

As a remote worker, it can be tempting to check your emails on your personal computer or mobile phone outside of working hours. As we mentioned earlier, remote workers are more likely to encounter cyber threats. While your work laptop may be secure, your personal computer may not be, making it easier for hackers to gain unauthorised access this way. 

6) Look Into Penetration Testing

One of the best ways to prevent cyber attacks is through penetration testing. This gives both the organisation and its employees a deeper insight into their cybersecurity, highlighting which areas are vulnerable and need improvement. At SYTECH, our penetration testing service involves a simulated cyber attack. Our cyber specialists will use this to identify weaknesses within your system, draw up the findings in an in-depth report and provide you with effective solutions.

Contact Us For More Information

Maintaining cybersecurity is not only the organisation’s responsibility but also the employees’. By following these practices above, remote workers can increase cybersecurity and prevent data breaches or malware viruses within the organisation. For more information on penetration testing, please speak with our cyber specialists today by phone or email. We will be happy to discuss your cyber concerns with you.

Don’t Put Cyber in the Corner: Risk vs Chance

With the world moving online, businesses face the constant challenge of safeguarding sensitive data from cyber threats. One critical area often overlooked is the risk of employee data theft. As organisations increasingly digitise their operations, the potential for data breaches involving employee information grows considerably. Let’s take a closer look at this issue to understand risk versus chance when it comes to protecting employee data.

Understanding Employee Data Theft

Employee data theft refers to unauthorised access or exploitation of employees’ sensitive information by internal or external parties. This includes personal details such as National Insurance numbers, financial records and health information. Perpetrators can range from disgruntled employees seeking revenge to external hackers aiming for monetary gain or corporate espionage.

The Impact of Employee Data Breaches

The consequences of employee data breaches can vary and sometimes be very severe. Beyond financial losses, companies risk damage to their reputation, legal repercussions and erosion of trust. Identity theft and fraud are common outcomes for affected employees, leading to significant personal and professional disruptions.

Identifying Vulnerabilities

To effectively mitigate the risk of employee data theft, companies must conduct comprehensive risk assessments. This involves identifying potential vulnerabilities in data storage, access controls, employee training and overall cybersecurity infrastructure. Each weakness identified presents an opportunity for threat actors to exploit.

Internal Threats

One of the most challenging aspects of employee data theft is the insider threat. Research indicates that a significant proportion of data breaches stem from within organisations, either intentionally or inadvertently. Disgruntled employees or those seeking personal gain can easily compromise sensitive data if adequate security measures are not in place.

External Threats

External threats, including sophisticated cyber attacks, phishing schemes and malware, pose significant risks to employee data. Hackers target organisations of all sizes, seeking vulnerabilities in networks and software to gain access to valuable information. Employee data, once compromised, becomes a lucrative commodity on the dark web.

Risk vs. Chance: Mitigating Employee Data Theft

Mitigating employee data theft requires a proactive approach that balances risk management with strategic cybersecurity measures. Here are key strategies to consider:

Employee Training and Awareness: Educating employees about cybersecurity best practices is fundamental. Training sessions on identifying phishing attempts, password management and data handling protocols allow employees to become the first line of defence against data breaches.

Access Controls and Monitoring: Implement stringent access controls to limit employee access to sensitive data based on job roles. Regularly monitor access logs for suspicious activities to detect potential insider threats.

Encryption and Data Protection: Encrypting sensitive data in transit and at rest adds an extra layer of security. Implement robust data protection measures to safeguard against unauthorised access.

Regular Security Audits: Conducting regular security audits and vulnerability assessments helps identify and address potential weaknesses in the cybersecurity infrastructure.

Incident Response Plan: Develop and test a comprehensive incident response plan to swiftly address data breaches if they occur. This includes procedures for containment, investigation and recovery.

Contact Our Experts for Cyber Security Support

Employee data theft poses a significant risk to organisations across all industries. Companies can reduce these risks by prioritising cybersecurity and adopting a proactive risk management approach to protect their employees’ sensitive information. Remember, cybersecurity is not just an IT issue, it’s a critical business matter that requires continuous monitoring and investment. Nobody puts cyber in the corner! 

To arrange a free consultation for cyber security support, contact us today via phone or email and our experts will be happy to help.