Remote work has become more popular than ever. While working outside of a traditional office setting offers greater flexibility and convenience, it also comes with unique cybersecurity risks that remote employees need to be aware of. By following these cybersecure awareness for remote workers best practices, you can help protect your company’s networks and data.  

Remote Work Cybersecurity Risks

Remote work cybersecurity risks

Working remotely means company data and devices are now accessing networks outside of the organization’s firewalls. This gives cybercriminals more opportunities to breach networks and steal data through phishing attacks, malware infections, or by exploiting unsecured home Wi-Fi networks.

Additionally, since remote workers often use personal devices in addition to company-provided equipment, there are more avenues for attackers to gain access. Without proper security controls and cyber awareness, these devices can become easy gateways for cyberattacks targeting sensitive company resources.

Working From Home

Work from home

When working from a home office, it’s vital to ensure your home network and all connected devices are properly secured. Encrypt your wireless network connections with a complex password – don’t use defaults like “admin” or “password”. Make sure your home router and all devices have updated firmware and security patches installed. 

You should also be vigilant against physical device theft. Don’t leave laptops or company smartphones unattended, especially in vehicles where they can easily be stolen. Enable tracking features if devices do become lost or stolen.

Use Secure Networks

Use Secure Networks

When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks like coffee shops, public spaces, or hotels, extra security precautions are necessary. Avoid accessing any sensitive company data or login credentials on public connections as they are rarely secure.  

Consider using a VPN (virtual private network) when accessing company data and networks remotely. A VPN will encrypt your connection to keep transmitted data secured from prying eyes.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Enable MFA

One of the most vital cybersecurity tools remote workers should utilize is multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to confirm their identity using an additional step like an SMS code or authentication mobile app, protecting against password theft or brute force attacks.

Enable MFA on any company login pages, cloud services like Office365 or G Suite, VPN connections, and even personal email accounts which could be used in password reset attempts. Taking this important extra step significantly reduces the chances of account takeovers by cybercriminals.  

Keep Software and Devices Updated

Keep systems updated

While keeping devices and software updated may feel tedious, running the most current versions is critical for security. Hackers constantly scan the internet for vulnerabilities in outdated programs which they can exploit to breach systems and steal data. 

Enable automatic updates whenever possible on operating systems, software programs, wireless routers, and connected devices like phones and laptops. Promptly install any available patches or firmware updates as well to prevent new vulnerabilities from being leveraged in an attack.

Secure Your Remote Physical Devices

Secure Physical Devices

In addition to cyber risks, it’s important to physically secure remote work devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphone equipment to prevent confidential information from falling into the wrong hands. Never leave equipment visible in vehicles, avoid working with screens visible through home windows, and lock devices securely whenever they are not in use.  

For extra protection, some remote cybersecurity best practices include:

  • Use privacy screen filters when working remotely in public locations
  • Enable face or fingerprint unlock features on mobile devices  
  • Carry devices in protective cases when traveling

By taking steps to physically secure devices, remote workers have another layer of defense against data theft.

Provide Ongoing Security Awareness Training

ongoing cyber security training is a key step

Cyber threats evolve constantly, and attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Remote employees should engage in regular cybersecurity awareness training to stay up-to-date on the latest risks and defense tactics.  

Encourage your remote workforce to participate actively, ask questions, and apply the knowledge both professionally and personally to keep all networks and devices more secure. A combination of cybersecure awareness and vigilance will enable remote teams to safely navigate the virtual working landscape.

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Require remote staff to access company systems and data only through secure VPN connections and enforce multi-factor authentication across all cloud apps and network logins.

Provide continuous cybersecurity awareness training to employees focused specifically on timely threats targeting remote workers to keep security protocols top of mind.

Remote work environments are more vulnerable to phishing, hacking, and device theft so maintaining rigorous cybersecurity protects company assets and customer data.

Cybersecurity for remote employees guards against data compromise and security incidents that could disrupt business operations or damage the company’s reputation.

Unsecured home WiFi networks and employee-owned devices lacking endpoint protections are common sources of risk associated with remote work cybersecurity.

Use VPN and MFA for access, avoid public WiFi, establish device encryption, keep software updated, and provide cybersecurity awareness training.

Require the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) when accessing company servers and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all cloud apps and accounts. Employees should also only use company-provided and secured devices for their work to prevent unauthorized access on personal equipment.

Secure your home wireless network by changing the router password from defaults, setting a strong network encryption like WPA2 or WPA3, disabling remote administrative access, updating the router firmware and enabling the firewall. Employees should also avoid accessing sensitive company data on public WiFi and implement security measures like VPNs for an added layer of protection.

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