Organizations do not have any option but to implement work from home policy for their employees as a way to secure them in the wake of COVID-19. There is also a big concern on how to continue business operations smoothly and securely. Many employees are working from home via a home network, shared network to complete their job. 

It is impossible to perform all jobs remotely, and employees who never operate remotely are working from home for the first time. They may not be fully prepared for it or up to date on the cybersecurity parameters while accessing official IT infrastructure and data remotely. 

The following are tips to follow to keep your device and data secure while working from home.

1. Connect your system with secure WiFi

The fundamental thing always connects with a secure WiFi network. Your WiFi router password must be safe and confidential. Your home network must have a strong password that contains a variety of characters and symbols to prevent cyber criminals from easily breaking into your network. Retaining a default-set password or not having a strong password is like leaving the door open for cyber criminals. They are looking for any vulnerability to access your network and confidential company data. Changing your password frequently is also a great way to keep the door locked on your devices.

It would be more secure if you consider using separate security for your guest/family/IoT devices than your work WiFi. If you want to go with an extra layer of security, think about executing a firewall.

2. Communication with the company’s IT team

Actively spending more time working from home may open new privacy vulnerabilities and data to bad actors — your IT team can be the first line of defense.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals use situations like COVID-19 to prey on our insecurities. The organization’s IT support team should never suddenly email you to ask for account information, home networking information, or to click any certain link etc. you must be very careful while working from home.

If you do face a situation you are unsure of, re-check with your IT team to see if this was a company-approved initiative.

If you get a phone call purportedly from your helpdesk, re-check by calling them back on the number listed in your corporate directory. 

Cybercriminals actively follow such tricks, calling employees in the hopes that they are unaware of working from home.

3. Operates with employer-provided devices only

Employees should only use employer-provided and approved systems to connect to the corporate infrastructure when working from home, remotely. This is to restrain the risk of accidental or unintentional data loss or exposure when using a personal system.

It might be easy to use your personal system if you were not able to take home all of your required hardware or if you feel your devices are more comfortable to navigate. 

The organization’s IT department has worked hard to set up IT infrastructures to protect its system and your company from unintentionally sharing confidential data. It is recommended to use a company-provided device and follow IT team guidelines.

4. Use updated and licensed software and applications

Use an updated version of your operating system, security software, official required applications, and web browsers is among the top defenses against malware and other cybersecurity threats. Avoid click unnecessary popups ads or links. Regularly check if there any updates available. These updates often receive security patches that protect against new vulnerabilities. 

As mentioned above, if you are not sure or found anything suspicious in the updates, immediately check in with your IT team before you hit the start update. IT team can check what seems suspicious and what is essential for the system.

5. Facing slow internet or network related issues

In the office, you might have experienced high internet speed, one click, and get a result, but at home, you might face slow or limited internet speed. Have a patient; you are at home, not in the office. There might have a number of connections with one network, as many people are now working from home, we can expect some service outages or network slowdown. 

6. Be careful  

Organizations spend huge a budget and follow strict guidelines to keep their system, network, and data secure. Their system might have blocked many IPs, and websites that may carry and spread malware, or any virus. But working from home, you are operating the same system and accessing essential data; any minor mistake may cause big damage.

So the employee must be very careful while operating official machines, and transit massive vital company data.