Right now, it is becoming evident that, while a lot of people will return to the office soon, a huge number of workers will stay at home indefinitely. There are a lot of benefits to working from home, but there are also some telework challenges for cybersecurity that we face.
Regrettably, a lot of employers don’t wish to invest in their remote workers and love the reduced costs this situation is bringing them. But, that can be counterproductive, especially when it comes to larger companies.
There are generally three major weak spots when it comes to teleworker’s cybersecurity:
- Greater visibility and targeting
- Connected systems
- The high price of all-round security
Basically, they mean that when you are working at home, you get all of the risks a business would have combined with the risks we face as individuals on the internet.
Thankfully, with premium VPN providers like Le VPN, you can hide your IP and displace yourself from most of the problems. Then, if you take precautions for the security of your business data and personal data, you should be in the clear for both safe working and safe browsing.
Telework Challenges and Advantages
Ironically, the most significant advantage of working from home is also the greatest risk. The fact that there is nobody there to watch over your shoulder means less stress when working but also means that nobody will be there to fix your computer or clean the malware when you need it.
For those that have been freelancers, remote workers, or out-of-office developers for a long time, this isn’t an issue because their home offices are built in the same way as many actual offices. But, if you have just made the switch, you might not be as ready as you think.
Primarily, you want to have a device dedicated to working. The only option when this might double as a personal device is if it is a relatively powerful desktop that can have layers of protection.
If you are working from a business laptop or a tablet, it is much safer to use it just for work and surf the web on your other devices.
Additionally, there is a slight behavior adjustment when it comes to your relationship with information when you are working from home. While before, your negligence could hurt just you, now it can hurt your employer and your clients.
This isn’t only a problem for your reputation but can become a legal and financial issue further down the line.
Ask Your Employer for Assistance
Ideally, you will want to have your employer give you a business device that will have all of the protocols and anti-malware installed in advance. This will also shield you from a lot of liability if there is a hack.
But, if you need (or want) to work from your own device, at least ask your employer to pay for cybersecurity. While they will be happy to externalize costs and let you pay for your ”home protection”, this is a risky move for any company where you have security clearance.
In the end, the fact that your employer isn’t worried about protection doesn’t mean you should relax. Quite the opposite, you should still have a professional VPN and layers of protection for the time your company inevitably gets hacked.
Start from the Beginning
There is a relatively simple checklist of what you should do the moment you start working from home. Following this list, you can cover all of the bases and be certain that you haven’t missed anything.
While it is always best to do this on a clean computer, that is rarely possible, so we will act as if this is the first time you have ever heard of cybersecurity and that your device is filled with data that needs securing.
- Update your Operative System (OS)
- Install a VPN
- Install an Anti-Virus
- Download and Install Anti-Spyware
- Run scans on #3 and #4
- Find all of your private file (photos, videos)
- Move them to an external HDD
- Remove them from the system HDD
- Detach the external HDD from the computer
- Find all of your business files
- Move them to an external USB stick
- Insert USB only when working
- Make password nomenclature
- Print out new password sheet on paper
- Update passwords
- Scrub social media from private information
- Use a separate phone number for 2-step verification
This list might seem like overkill, and it does have a lot of redundancies. These are in place because if you forget to update something or miss a step, there will be other protections in place.
Avoiding Social Media
Number 9 from the list above can be challenging. In some cases, such as with LinkedIn, you can’t really remove the data that can become troublesome. If you are someone who works online, there is a tendency that your social media will be a treasure trove for hackers.
So, keep your LinkedIn only with your professional information and ideally only your business number. Also, if you have a good post-graduate degree, it might be a good idea to remove your high school from the list.
For the rest, make an entirely fictional online persona. That is the only way to go.
There are telework challenges for cybersecurity, but it is arguable that the benefits of working from home far overweight them. So, if you arm yourself with a professional VPN such as Le VPN and take some time to protect your system, you will be able to work and surf without any danger.
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