With nearly half of the UK’s workforce migrating online at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis last year, many companies found themselves scrambling to ensure employees could work from home without compromising sensitive data. For organisations ill equipped for a fully distributed workforce, this meant a mass overhaul of cybersecurity ecosystems in a very short period of time. Even businesses with pre-existing protocols for remote work had to rethink what such a sweeping shift meant for their data security – and how to adapt to an evolving threat system.
Nearly a year later, cybersecurity remains a top priority among business leaders. Instances of fraud, phishing scams, and data breaches are up, and remote work is at least partially to blame. One study found that nearly half of all UK organisations have had a cybersecurity incident since the start of lockdown.
One of the biggest risk factors comes down to individual behaviour. Just one rogue worker logging into sensitive documents from a personal device can have disastrous results. And holding the title of that employee – the one responsible for an embarrassing, company-wide cybersecurity snafu – doesn’t look good on a resume.
Here are three considerations for ensuring your work-from-home environment is set up to ensure maximum security.
Have you been glossing over messages from your organisation’s IT team or “marking unread” emails about updating the software you use every day for work? It’s time to start paying attention to these critical communications.
Cybersecurity training plays a key role in ensuring that remote workers are operating safely and at peak efficiency, so don’t delay these sessions if you’re asked to partake in one. Home networks hardly ever have the same degree of cyber-hygiene as professional environments, but your IT team likely has a few important protocols in place to make your network more secure. They may even have you download specific software. Bitdefender, for instance, offers a whole suite of programs for enterprises. If you’re a small business, you can find tailored solutions with which to outfit your home office, too.
If you’ve already gone through cybersecurity training provided by your organisation, that doesn’t mean your job is done. It’s also important to update your devices’ software as often as prompted – you know, those pestering pop-ups telling you it’s time to upgrade your operating system.
These updates frequently address bugs or security gaps, so ensuring you have the most up-to-date versions of your OS, mobile apps and collaboration platforms should be a top priority.
If your organisation provides you with a laptop or phone for working from home, try to use these devices exclusively when you’re doing anything related to your job. Leave your personal devices out of the equation entirely – yes, even for email or Slack.
And if possible, don’t share those work devices with other members of your household. Understandably, not all employees are able to allocate a dedicated device to each family member. In this case, having additional cybersecurity software installed at home becomes particularly critical.
If your employer doesn’t provide you with a dedicated device for working from home, it’s worth asking if they’re willing to reimburse you for taking additional cybersecurity measures, including purchasing solutions like a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Bitdefender offers some free tools and a 30-day trial if you care to take matters into your own hands.
Bitdefender can help you optimise your home office environment or enterprise cybersecurity ecosystem. Learn more about their products, software and offerings by visiting them online today.