The Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot of norms of corporate lifestyle, especially when it comes to both, the ‘work’ and the ‘working space’. The concept of remote working is something that everyone has gotten used to and is likely to be a future that employees even opt for. However, an increase in online exposure also comes with an increase in cyber threats. While individuals seek opportunities that allow remote work, they now must be cautious about equipping cybersecurity and data protection tools. The world has witnessed a growing number of vulnerabilities through targeted data breaches, especially in the past few months. Cybercrime in various forms – identity theft, data breaches, and online frauds, and others – is on the rise.
According to the 2019 NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, 39% of respondents in India have witnessed identity theft in the past year. 2020 has been an eye-opener for many users – those who were unaware of cybersecurity risks as well as those who did not expect to be targeted. It is more important than ever for working professionals to be vigilant about cybersecurity, given the fact that the practice of remote working might continue even after the pandemic.
A few years ago, there was a notable rise in the number of “Digital Nomads” – individuals who chose to work remotely to create a lifestyle that allowed them to travel the world. The circumstances are different today; people are choosing to work remotely for a different reason, but it’s possible that the “nomadic” trend might recur at some point once the pandemic abates. At any rate, we need to prepare well for this change in the working environment. Working remotely opens the company’s network and data to external cyber threats.
Here are 7 things our Cyber Safety experts recommend for those working remotely:
- Keep close contact with your employer
Your employer might consolidate coronavirus-related information on the company intranet. It is important to know new policies to help keep you, your coworkers, and the business safe.
- Use what is in your company’s tech toolbox
Companies often have tech tools that can help keep you Cyber Safe when you work from home. They likely include firewall and antivirus protection, along with security features like VPN and 2-factor authentication.
- Control the impulse to improvise
Employees often work in teams, and that can mean using collaboration tools like instant-messaging platforms and video-meeting rooms. If a tool is not working right, you might be tempted to download a substitute. You could inadvertently introduce a software program with a security flaw — and that means someone unauthorized may be able to access company data or any personal data you have on that device.
- Stay current on software updates and patches
You might get reminders that software updates are available for all your devices. Updates help patch security flaws and help protect your data.
- Keep your VPN turned on
A VPN — short for the virtual private network — can provide a secure link between employees and businesses by encrypting data. A VPN helps keep information secure from cybercriminals and competitors.
- Beware of coronavirus-themed phishing emails
Cybercriminals are exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to send fake emails with dangerous links to employees. By clicking on an unknown link, you are likely to download malware onto your device. Immediately report the phishing attempt to your employer. A phishing email with malicious software could allow cybercriminals to take control of your computer or access sensitive business information and financial data.
- Develop a new routine
Working from home requires changing your routine. But it also involves structuring your day to work efficiently and maintain contact with your team. Take steps to avoid letting that happen. Reach out and stay engaged with your colleagues.
While working remotely, it is important to be extra-cautious about phishing attacks and other forms of cyberthreat. We need to understand that online safety is a shared responsibility, and it begins with everyone. The pandemic has given us as opportune a circumstance as any to become more conscious of our cyber footprint and to constantly be on our guard against possible cyberattacks. Let us use it to secure ourselves, our work, and all that is important to us.