As companies and nations across the globe band together to fight the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people are participating in this fight by working from home and staying indoors.
Staying indoors and maintaining distance from others are the best defense mechanisms we currently have; it is genuinely remarkable how individuals and organizations have adapted to this new lifestyle.
Today, remote working is being implemented on all fronts – from delivering essential services to collaborating with different teams. However, the world never saw such a huge magnitude of people working remotely, which, along with the added flexibility to the employees, has also brought up serious data security concerns.
The threat landscape has increased with everyone working from home; millions of extra devices are now connected to the Internet at the same time.
The IT industry has always been focused on data security. Still, with such a large number of people working remotely, it has become a significant concern for everyone – individuals, small businesses, large enterprises, and government bodies. As per Juniper Research, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150 million in 2020.
If such is the risk level, what can remote workers do? Let’s have a look.
1. Follow the Same Processes as You Would in The Office
You should treat the official data in the same way as you would at your workplace. In fact, you need to be extra cautious regarding the same while working from home. For starters, always lock your device if you plan to leave it unattended (even if only your family members are around).
You must not ignore the data protection protocols set by your employer. For instance, save files at the company server using a VPN. This way, the documents and data transferred will be much safer than your local hard drive.
2. Ensure That Your Security Applications Are Updated
A firewall is your best friend for protecting your device or network from unauthorized access. It makes it difficult for the hacker to attack your system or gain access to it, helping you keep your data safe and secure.
Your antivirus protects your device and data from malware such as viruses and trojans. It prevents your device from downloading harmful malware and deletes anything that reaches your device before causing any damage.
You must keep these types of security software active and updated at all times. Also, check for updates for any other software you use.
3. Encrypt Your Documents
Most experts recommend all the remote workers to encrypt the hard disks of their desktop or laptop. Through encryption, the data is converted into a code, and it has to be decrypted for others to understand.
This way, the data is secured from unauthorized access – the hacker can access the data but can only see the ciphertext, thus preventing the data from the hacker.
4. Secure Your Encryption Keys
If you encrypt your data or documents, an encryption key is generated to access the data. It would be best if you store these keys securely as the encryption strategy is good until used rightly.
The right way to store encryption keys is in a FIPS 140-2 validated solution, separately from the data. The motive of encrypting data is endangered if you store your encryption keys on an unsecure device or in spreadsheets.
5. Print Hard Copies of Sensitive Information
No security method is 100% secure, and it is advisable to print the most sensitive information. This way, your data will remain with you even if there’s a data breach, or your storage server does not respond.
Also, make sure that the printed documents are not lying on the table and stored in a safe or where no one can access them (like a locked drawer).
6. Set Strong Passwords
Whether you use your own device or company’s laptop, it must be protected by a strong password. A secure password means that it should be at least 10 characters long, with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.
Never use the same password for more than one account and remember to change it regularly (usually after every 120 days). Also, it would be best if you use two-factor authentication along with a strong password. Two-factor authentication increases security by introducing an extra step to gain access to the data.
7. Backup Business Data
However, most of the steps mentioned above protect your data from unauthorized access. But what if your data is breached or a disaster occurs? The best way to counter such events is by backing up your critical business data.
Data backups can also prove to be a game-changer in case of ransomware attacks as the hacker cannot ask for money for giving your data back. The backed-up data should be stored securely at a remote server with two-factor authentication enabled.
You can also host your applications on the cloud. This way, the service provider will ensure that data is backed up regularly and is protected using the latest security software.
8. Ensure You Are Trained
You need to be completely trained in managing your data while working remotely. Even if you are aware of the basics, it’s time to deep dive because the circumstances have changed as almost everyone is working from home now.
You can also take some online sessions regarding cybersecurity and the best practices to protect the data while working from home.
You will likely need to change your personal and professional lifestyle while working from home. You must follow these steps to ensure that the data you have is stored securely. You should understand that your actions can impact your company’s business directly.
If you have any questions or wish to know more about hosting applications on the cloud, call our Solutions Consultant at 855-622-8313.
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