Cyber Security Checklist for Remote Workers to Protect Data and Sensitive Information

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Cyber Security

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the rise in remote working. The majority of people who worked in the offices were asked to work from home. Especially those who were somehow related to the IT industry whether it be a programmer, a content marketer, or a social media manager.

Remote working comes with many benefits, but how could you forget the lesser level of security at home as compared to the office. Whether you know or not, fully dedicated IT professionals are working day in and day out to protect the company’s data from being revealed.

However, those who are working at home can’t take measures on a large scale due to limited funds. Remote working is not going to end at any time even after the COVID-19 has gone. As the opportunities to create income streams has increased, more and more people are shifting from traditional jobs to remote jobs.

The first thing that remote worker needs is a good internet connection. Plenty of internet service providers are offering plans for low to medium and high internet users. But due to data limits, most of them don’t catch the attention. However, Spectrum bundle deals are ideal for internet users looking for unlimited data caps and high-speed internet as much as 1 Gig.

Apart from an internet connection, you also need to keep in mind the security and privacy of your data online. Here are some of the benefits, security risks, and cybersecurity checklist that you need to put on your sticky notes. Let’s get started.

Benefits of Working Remotely

With the digital revolution, people are shifting from odd jobs to online working. There are plenty of benefits of working remotely. For instance, remote workers can work on their schedule without any restriction. A flexible work schedule is the most attractive part of working remotely as most of the people tend to hate 9 to 5 job.

Apart from that, there has been an increase in the productivity and retention of employees. While the interruptions and distractions of coworkers are negligible, apart from having a conversation on Skype, Slack, and other platforms. One of the benefits employers enjoy is that they don’t have to bear overhead costs, utility bills, and petty expenses. Remote workers can enjoy a lot of family time and save costs on commuting to the office.

Risks of Remote Work

Digital disruption has allowed big and small enterprises to allow employees to do work remotely. However, allowing the workforce to access the company’s sensitive data and offsite locations leads to increased risks about data encryption, dangers of removable media, and security of wireless internet. Moreover, the theft of data and devices is also a major concern. According to a survey done in 2018 by iPass, a Wi-Fi security company revealed that 57% of CIOs stated that they are unsure about mobile workers being hacked or the major cause of security issues. While 46% were confident that their remote workers used VPNs to enhance security when connecting to the company’s sensitive data and networks.

The survey also revealed that the majority of remote workers were unaware of the severity of common security threats. 62% of security incidents took place when remote workers used Wi-Fi networks in a coffee shop or café. Moreover, 27% of the workforce in the United States admitted that they opened emails and attachments from unknown senders.

Security Risks for Remote Workers

Remote workers despite enjoying so many perks are exposed to security threats more than anyone working in an organization is. Remote workers are the biggest threat to network security if they aren’t trained to practice security measures needed to keep the data safe and private. Here are some of the best practices for employers to ensure the security of data and information.

Handling Devices and Employees

The first thing a remote employer should make sure is to have a list of all the employees and the devices used by them. If you want to monitor your employees’ online activities, there are plenty of tools and apps to keep track of their activities.

Weak Passwords

Setting up a strong password is the first security measure everyone needs to take seriously. Most of the businesses don’t bother to take ownership of passwords set on their CMS and other apps and software. Strong passwords contains 12 to 20 characters with combination of upper and lower cases, numbers and special characters.

Spam Emails

Spam emails are another form of security threat that forces individuals to take specific actions resulting in the exposure of sensitive information such as banking details, password information, and credit card number. In 2019, businesses and individuals faced more than $3.5 billion in losses.

Using Unsecured and Unencrypted Devices and Networks

Whether it be a full-time employee, a freelancer, a remote worker, or a consultant, everyone is using his/her device without proper encryption and security measures. As a result, they are more vulnerable to cyber threats leading to leakage of sensitive information.

Video Attacks

Working remotely requires tools and software to collaborate with coworkers and associates. Zoom is one of the popular video conferencing tools that are being hijacked by hackers to share malicious content. Make sure that you act appropriately to keep video calls safe and protected from these hackers.

Backup and Recovery System

Companies own a huge set of data that isn’t easy to store and backup. Without having a backup, the company could face huge losses if the data is lost. In today’s era, cloud computing is commonly used to store a massive amount of data for backup and recovery.

Migrate Your Business Applications to Cloud

Cloud applications are gaining hype as it offers ease of access and greater security as compared to physical storage. Cloud applications like QuickBooks and Office 365 can be accessed 24/7. The applications also include security features that are necessary for keeping the data safe.

Use VPNs for Security Purpose

Virtual Private Networks are just like firewalls. As remote workers have to stay online most of the time, it is necessary to take proper measures to protect from security vulnerabilities and threats. Virtual Private Networks are used to browse the internet anonymously by masking the original IP address. Some of the popular VPNs include ExpressVPN, Browsec, NordVPN, and Hotspot Shield

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication or two-factor authentication is another great way to protect sensitive information from being hacked. The purpose of two-factor authentication is to add another layer of security to the system. For instance, you not only have to provide the correct password, but also the security code sent to you on your phone or email. Some remote workers don’t bother to use two-factor authentication because they can’t wait for the code to be sent and enter it to access.

Bring Your Device Policy (BYOD)

BYOD is gaining hype with each passing day as most of the organizations offer leverage to the employees to use their device for ease and convenience. However, it is also necessary to take measures and implement strategies for employees to ensure maximum security.

Final Verdict

In this post, we have discussed some of the risks remote workers are exposed to and how to take appropriate actions to deal with. If you are also a remote worker, make sure to follow the aforementioned steps religiously.