Work from home remote work security tips.

Remote work security tips
Work From Home 

        Remote work security tips.

COVID-19 pandemic affected the entire globe and is spreading continually at an exponential rate. To reduce the infection government strictly instructed for mandatory quarantine and social distancing to maintain, along with a restriction on business activities. 

Due to this pandemic situation and the restriction, many businesses around the world either closed down or instructed their employees to work remotely from their homes. We have started work from home since Feb 2020, now we are continuing the same. 

Though this work from home culture is not a new thing to us yes, we have to prepare ourselves for this and continue.

Working from home is definitely a safe solution to protect people from coronavirus infection but having a chance of cyberattack. 

It's not only the concern of cyberattacks but also having a big concern about data security. If your laptop or computer does not properly configure or ready for remote work then it's a real concern while doing remote work.

However, Work from home ( WFH ), is not a new thing to us. In every organization having work from home policy and some employee who works remotely from home or other locations. But managing 10-20%  workforce doing work from home is not a big challenge to the organization for a short period but the maximum workforce or 90% of people doing work from home, maybe a challenge from the data security point of view. 

Moreover, arranging a secure remote network in a short notice for those users or workforce who handles organizational data or personal data while doing WFH is a  real challenge to provide a secure network with monitoring capability.  

Limited people doing work from home, the organization’s security team can monitor those endpoints, however, monitoring thousand or more endpoints from a different location is a big challenge.

Maximum traditional industries such as Small organizations, Government sectors, Schools, hospitals, banks, etc. will be facing this challenge if they are not using modern IT infrastructure.  

Either you are doing WFH or connected through office network cyber threat is always a big challenge, If your network or end devices like a computer or Laptop not secured properly with security devices and applications.

It will be more concerned when employees doing work from home remotely using the internet, they use to do other activities also such as web browsing, online shopping, and checking the news, etc. 

These activities may increase their chance of contact to phishing emails and fake websites. Adding to the problem is that compared to corporate networks, home networks are less secure and more vulnerable to phishing attacks. Due to this reason, we are observing a significant surge in malware and ransomware attacks since COVID-19 started to spread.

Hackers, criminals around the world leveraging people’s fear and societal chaos to launch severe phishing campaigns. In fact, according to research, phishing emails have increased since the end of February 2020, while general cybercrime activities increased more. Personal data protection also a big challenge for those organizations that handles public data in this work from home scenario. 

How organizations can minimize risks?

As this is not a normal situation and challenges will be there, however, despite all those challenges, this is the chance where an organization can upgrade their existing IT infrastructure and the end-user device like laptops or computer, etc. 

This may be the best chance for organizations to upgrade their security infrastructure for remote workers. Few areas listed out below for easy starting points those who still not updated their IT infrastructure or planning to do that.

These six major security tips are just an overall idea of how you can reduce the risks while doing remote work or work from home. You can also refer to "How remote systems can be connected while doing work from home? it's about remote system solutions. 

Find below six remote work security tips.

1. Employee awareness,

Every organizations should focus on employee awareness.  Each and every employee should be educated, no matter how strong the security measures are there, the biggest challenge is whether the employees are educated enough to understand the risks and strictly follow the security rules.

Having a workforce with a good understanding and awareness of cybersecurity threats would make life much easier for the security team.

Awareness of corporate security policies will help every employee to understand the security requirement and help to protect themselves. If you don’t follow those protection procedures, you will be putting yourself at risk and could be liable for all the corporate damages subsequent policy violations.

While understanding the risks and corresponding security policies, there are a few more simple tips you have to maintain to reduce risks of cyber-attack. 

Some important points which Employees should be aware of.

A. Avoid using personal computers for office work,

You should avoid using your personal computer for office work. Your personal computer or Laptop may not be updated as per the requirement. Personal computers tend to run on outdated applications and free antivirus programs, which is risky.

B. Avoid using free wi-fi for office work,

Using free Wi-Fi network, making your computer vulnerable. So avoid the free Wi-Fi network. When you are using the internet or office activity connecting through public wi-fi or free Wi-Fi, hackers can get access very easily. Additionally, your network can be monitored on internet traffic as it travels between your device and your company. So avoid public Wi-Fi and free Wi-fi instead you should you’re your own mobile hotspot network which has a password and its protective. 

C. Avoid phishing texts and emails,

Hackers are continuously manipulating people’s fear and emotion. Avoid all types of unknown text, downloads, etc. So be extra cautious and do not open any email links, downloads, and unknown text files. 

Those can create a problem in your system and also you can be trapped under ransomware threat. Attackers can access your system data, block your access, and ask ransom amount from you. So employee awareness is very much important to ensure secure remote work from home. 

2. Defying security policy and process,

All organization should have defined their policy & process in line with organization business strategy. An organization should have its own policy and process implemented and those should be strictly maintained by each employee. 

An organization should ensure policy acceptance by all users in the organization, which is another way of protection and these policies should be evaluated as per international security standards. 

3. Implementation of a secured IT network.

Organizations should evaluate their existing network and if necessary, upgrade their network with the latest secured technology. 

If necessary, risk assessment of the network should be done, before the implementation of network security. Refer " How you implement a secure IT network"?  

4. End-user device access restriction, 
Implementing end-user device restriction, access control. End-user devices or Laptops, the computer should be configured with restricted access with dual authentication.

Internet access should be restricted as per policy defined by the organization. This will help unnecessary access of unwanted internet sites from office laptops while working from home. 

5. Choosing a reliable virtual private network (VPN),

For remote working a virtual private network (VPN) allows one to connect their PC or smartphone. It virtually gets connected to a remote server and provides access to that server’s network as if they are directly connected to the network.

It creates a virtual connection or tunnel between the user’s device and the destination network. It's only shared between the user and other members of the destination network. 

It's named virtual private network because it gets virtually connected. It's protected and provide good security to the user. 

Organizations can provide VPN service to all employees working remotely and all their internet activities would be carried out as if they are working directly in the office. 

The VPN traffics is encrypted and protected. For you more understanding, you can also refer " Secure Your Network with Cisco VPN" to more understanding on VPN.  

6. Take a Cloud service, software-as-a-service (SaaS), 

VPN technology can be used for cloud applications to access.  If local storage in cloud services like SaaS instead of local storage using cloud databases through VPN, and changing from on-premises software to software-as-a-service (SaaS). 

Its sometimes referred to as public clouds because of their service providers entirely manage and secure these programs, including their application and database layers. Most of the organization uses SaaS applications which include Office 365, Salesforce, etc. 

These applications are generally safe to use regardless of the employees’ locations. This service is secured as service providers maintain the most reliable and having robust security measure. 

There is another cloud service like infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), also referred to as a private cloud. Companies have to focus on their own security measures to protect their data and applications run in the cloud. 

Like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. So you can check What is "Amazon Web service " and  " Microsoft Azure '. If you are really interested in a VPN solution to implement you can contact us or small business solution you can refer below products. 

In case of further advice please contact us by sending your email ID and details requirement. We can give you free solutions. 

Cisco VPN for remote work

Cisco RV340W Dual WAN AC VPN Router

Cisco RV340W Dual WAN AC VPN Router. 
Product description,  
The Cisco RV340W Dual WAN Gigabit Wireless-AC VPN Router connects small businesses to the Internet and protects employees from unwanted content and malicious websites, without compromising the online experience. The router helps boost employee productivity and overall network performance by limiting Internet surfing to appropriate site categories and eliminating unwanted network traffic.

Conclusion : In this coronavirus pandemic, working remotely through a secured network ensure data security, which all organizations should focus on this and implement. 

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