6 Jul 2021

Best Cybersecurity Tips for Remote Workers

Post by Jordan Toplen

Although the movement toward more and more remote working has been hailed as a positive one, it does come with its own set of risks and issues that need to be dealt with if you want your remote working team to be a success. Cybersecurity is one such issue. Although it’s still a problem when everyone is working in an office, it’s also much more easily controlled as it is contained in that one place. When everyone is working in their own homes, the threat of cyberattack increases – instead of just one system to protect, there are now dozens, perhaps even hundreds, to think about. 

The best thing you can do for your own peace of mind, that of your employees, and your business’s cybersecurity is to ensure that your remote workers are aware of the issues and understand how to combat them. There will be some trust involved here, but trust is a key element anyway when it comes to remote working. Read on to discover more about the best tips for remote workers to ensure your business is kept protected against cybercriminals. 

Choose Strong Passwords 

Passwords might not seem like a particularly important point, and that’s perhaps because we use them every day, many times a day, to access all kinds of systems, websites, and even documents. However, the very fact that we need to use passwords so much should show that they are extremely important. They are, in fact, the first line of defense against cyberattacks, and if the passwords are strong, there is much less chance of any additional problems occurring. 

When you create a strong, unique password that is impossible to guess – ideally because it’s a nonsense string of letters, numbers, and special characters – then any cybercriminal trying to access your details will have a much harder time doing so. The stronger your password is, the more challenging it will be for any hacker to access your system and disrupt your business through that access. 

To create a strong password, you should inform your team to:

  • Avoid using common words and phrases that can easily be guessed
  • Choose longer passwords of at least eight characters 
  • Don’t use the same password over multiple accounts 

This last point can be the most problematic of all. Even if the password is a nonsense one, if it is the same across everything you need to log into, it won’t be so hard to get right. The problem is, once a hacker discovers one password, they will then have them all. If your team is worried about remembering lots of different passwords, advise them to use a password manager, which will ensure every login is unique and secure. 

Install Updates 

It’s annoying when your computer pops up a dialog box that tells you it’s time to update the system or a piece of software. You’ll more than likely be in the middle of doing something important, so you click on ‘later’ or ‘dismiss’ and don’t think any more about it. This is a mistake, and it’s something you’ll need to make your remote working team aware of. 

Those dialog boxes are there to let you know that your system is out of date and needs to be updated. When you are told this, it’s crucial that you let the update happen (or postpone it until a more convenient time if you need to continue using the computer). When you update your network regularly, you are patching any flaws in the security system you have, and this prevents hackers from finding the weak spots and breaching your network. 

Ensure your employees are aware that they must allow their software to update as soon as is convenient once they are alerted to the fact that it is required. Leaving it too long offers cybercriminals the ideal chance to access your business’s sensitive information. 

Write a Remote Work Policy 

If you are a business owner or you have responsibility for a remote working team as their manager, you must write a good remote work policy for them to follow. This will ensure your team is aware of the dangers that come with remote working and that they follow the right path to good working practices that will keep them and your business much safer. 

The policy will need to consider the following topics: 

  • Requirements for compliance 
  • Security for information systems 
  • Data protection
  • Remote access control 
  • Storage and backup options 
  • How to dispose of unwanted data 
  • Alternative work sites 

As well as a remote working policy, there should be plenty of training on the subject of cybersecurity. This can be anything from simple in-house training about spotting a scam email to studying for a computer science master online. It will depend on how much your team wants and needs to learn, and discussions about this are vital. 

Understand How to Spot Phishing Scams 

Many people need to receive and send emails to run their business or do their work; emails are convenient, fast, and useful for sending data. However, as much as emails are crucial to the modern world, they can also be where your security fails. Phishing emails are very harmful indeed and can be the catalyst for a cyberattack, so it’s crucial that your remote working team is aware of exactly what they are and what they can do. 

A phishing email is one that includes a dangerous attachment or an embedded link that, when clicked on, will take the user to the cybercriminal’s specially designed website used to capture sensitive information. Alternatively, clicking on such a link or opening an attachment could install malware onto the computer and, therefore, the wider network. When this happens, the network it is in contact with is at risk of the same virus, and so it spreads on and on. 

When your team knows to be wary of any email purporting to be from a legitimate business but sent from a public email domain like Gmail or anything that includes spelling errors within the email address or website URL, or even those emails in which the grammar and spelling are bad, as well as many other signs to look out for, they will be less likely to make the mistake of clicking on the link or opening the attachment, ensuring your network stays better protected. 

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