If you already set your team up to work from home without implementing the right cybersecurity measures, you’re more vulnerable to a cyber attack.
Business owners today are recognizing the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely from home. Their team can be very productive working from home while the owners can potentially save on overhead. The problem is, too many business owners sent their employees home without even considering cybersecurity. Now, hackers and cybercriminals practically have a welcome mat to their financial information and customer data!
If you already set up your employees to work from home, it is not too late. But make sure you fix your security vulnerabilities ASAP. Here is a checklist of common issues to review.
VULNERABILITY #1: Working Without an Enabled Firewall. Of course you have a firewall inside your office to prevent cyber threats from hitting your network. However, you also must make sure every work-from-home computer, device, and router has its firewall enabled.
VULNERABILITY #2: Not using Company-Issued Computers and Laptops: Allowing employees to work from home on their own equipment might be cost-saving. However, we do not recommend allowing your employees to use their home PCs, laptops, and devices, because they are typically not secure. Home computers are not always used just by the employee. You have no control over what software is run or installed on a home computer or what other family members might be doing with it. If someone allows a computer to be compromised by clicking on a malicious link, it affects all users on that system, not just one. Lack of protection oversight is another issue with home systems. Is the antivirus adequate? Is it maintained or expired? Are patches being regularly applied?
Work systems have business-level security applied. This makes the systems more secure but does require administrative access or setup to maintain. Security applied by ease of use is often applied to home systems. This makes the home system less secure but causes fewer user disruptions.
VULNERABILITY #3: Setting Up At-Home Computers without Antivirus Software. Whether you have just a handful of employees or hundreds, you will want to have antivirus software installed on every at-home computer. Your firewall acts as your first line of defense. Your antivirus software is your next line of defense by detecting, blocking, and in some cases removing malware.
VULNERABILITY #4: Not Securing Home Routers. If your employees made no changes to their home routers when they began working from home, hackers may have easy access to your IT network and private data. First, make sure they changed their router password. Second, the encryption should be set to WPA2 or WPA3. Third, you should switch WPS to Off.
VULNERABILITY #5: Beware of Remote Desktop Tools. Certainly, you want some members of your team to access your IT network. This is accomplished with remote desktop tools. The problem is that a 2019 CheckPoint study found security issues with some of today’s most popular Windows and Mac remote desktop tools.
VULNERABILITY #6: Insecure VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, which is a private, encrypted “tunnel” that goes directly to your office’s IT network. An out of date VPN solution is just as bad as no solution. Standards change as vulnerabilities are uncovered. To avoid an unsavory security incident you need to install a modern business-class VPN that will secure your connections with high-level encryption. Additionally, having your employees test it in advance from their respective locations would avoid a ton of hassle. Not all airlines, hotels, or hotspots work well with VPN solutions. Lastly, use multi-factor authentication to make it far more difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to access and steal data on your network.
VULNERABILITY #7: Insecure WiFi Access Point. Without a secure WiFi access point, you are essentially leaving a backdoor open to hackers. That’s because WiFi signals are often broadcast far beyond your employees’ homes and out into the streets. Yes, drive-by hacking is popular among cybercriminals today. Here are a few tips for a more secure WiFi:
- Use stronger encryption and a more complex password
- Hide your network name
- Use a firewall and make sure it is enabled
If you have any concerns, feel free to contact us for an assessment of your business remote workforce. Working from home can be done and securely with proper management.
Total Networks delivers premier IT Support that Phoenix businesses depend on. We offer a complete, scalable outsourced IT Support solution for businesses of 10-200 employees that value technology. If you are ready to take your IT to the next level, complete our form or call us at (602) 412-5025 for a complimentary consultation.