Eight Ways to Work Safely from Home

September 7, 2022

Eight Ways to Work Safely from Home

One of the striking consequences of the current pandemic is an accelerated introduction of digital technologies in various fields. The threat of cybercrime has significantly increased, especially due to the fact that more and more people are working remotely from home. We have gathered some tips on what you can do to protect yourself and your employees. 

Remote work and working from home have many advantages, but there are also challenges, and ensuring the safety of employees online is a key factor for future trust and fruitful cooperation. In Great Britain, 39% of businesses annually face cybersecurity breaches or attacks. With the increase in the number of remote workers, cybercriminals took advantage of the opportunity that arose, so the number and sophistication of threats increased. Experts assume that the pandemic has resulted in a 15-fold increase in online scams.

Cybercriminals are interested not only in attacks on the user's personal data but also in the internal data of enterprises, in particular reporting and accounting. The reason for the growth of fraud was, among other things, because of overlapping personal and business technologies, devices and data storage. Employees can use work smartphones and computers for personal purposes and vice versa, work from a stationary home PC. Thus, the company's working channels and data are becoming increasingly vulnerable.

However, it is possible to deal with it. There are steps we can take to minimise the likelihood of fraudster attacks and reduce security vulnerabilities. Let’s look at them in more detail.

1. Use a VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps to protect data and keep user behaviour secret, reducing the likelihood that criminals will track their actions. To connect to a VPN, just install the desired mobile application and activate this function.

When a user logs on to the network, his device is assigned a unique IP address. It allows third parties to identify it and access the data. Without protection, sensitive data can be transferred online when you or your employees access cloud services or even simply browse the web. When the VPN is activated, the original IP address becomes invisible. The address of the virtual private network is displayed instead.

Not everyone understands that VPNs also protect smartphones. If employees view business data or make transactions using their phone when they are away from home using public Wi-Fi or home Wi-Fi that is not secured properly, a VPN reduces the chances that they will be tracked by criminals.

2. Deploy a Password Manager

To protect yourself and your information, you and your employees need to use long, reliable, and difficult-to-guess passwords. Cybercriminals often take advantage of weak passwords as an easy way to gain access to systems and personal data. According to the formula, if the password length is increased by just one bit, the number of possible passwords will double, which will make the attacker's task twice as difficult. On the contrary, using easily guessed passwords significantly increases the threat of an attack. 

Two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication (2FA or MFA), which requires employees to authenticate their access to the system, for example, using a one-time password, can reduce vulnerabilities caused by weak passwords. But 2FA works only when entering an account, so you need to carefully monitor the duration of the work program session and the activity of the account owner.

One of the options for businesses is to consider deploying a Password Manager for the employees. A Password Manager is a software that automatically generates passwords that are difficult to crack. Then it stores these passwords securely so that employees don't have to remember them. Thanks to this, the password manager reduces the risks of data breaches. 

3. Use Secure Collaboration Tools

When working remotely, most discussions and business meetings are held online. Therefore, it is necessary to use secure collaboration tools. Many companies use video conferencing for meetings, and it is quite convenient because people can see each other during a conversation, just like when holding a meeting in the office. 

There are several options for conducting secure video calls, and all of them have both advantages and disadvantages. You can find many applications that allow only chat or audio communication. The most popular options are Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Cisco Webex, and Zoom. In China, the use of remote work services like WeChat, Tencent, and Ding has grown significantly in the last two years. 

Messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook remain excellent tools for quick communication in the form of calls or messages.

Sometimes the best security feature is not your video conferencing solution, but your employees' vigilance and security training. Invite your employees, if possible, not to join the conference from public places via public Wi-Fi. Check if there is end-to-end encryption, or E2EE, during your conference. You can also enable this type of data encryption in the messenger.

4. Use a Security App and a Firewall 

Use a good antivirus scanner and install a reliable firewall on your computer and smartphone. Security software and antivirus protection are incredibly important, especially for PCs and other devices used for work purposes. 

In addition to the antivirus scanner, you can install a firewall. Some modern applications, in addition to an excellent firewall, have many other features, such as webcam privacy protection, multi-level protection against ransomware viruses, and a mobile management application. 

What’s more, a good firewall provides protection against phishing, tools for deleting files safely, as well as a password manager to block vulnerabilities that are commonly found in modern PCs. A firewall creates a bypass system around your computer to prevent attackers from gaining access to your computer. Therefore, a reliable and well-configured firewall is crucial to ensure the security of work from home.

5. Secure Work-issued Devices

You definitely need to protect the devices issued to employees for remote work and be careful when using personal devices. To protect the smartphone that you use for work, you will need software or an application for data protection. Such software can reduce vulnerabilities and protect business and personal data if you have lost your device or it has been hacked.

It is important for the employer to inform the employees about the safety rules during the use of devices, especially when the work is remote and the boundaries between work and leisure are erased. Using a personal smartphone for work is risky, since a large amount of information and a reduced level of protection, the standard for personal devices, leaves the door open for cybercriminals.

Many people working in small businesses already use one device for work and leisure. Some organisations have "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) initiatives. In these cases, it is important to train employees on cybersecurity issues and encourage vigilance. With new technologies, we have opportunities to provide security for devices, for example, the separation of work and personal areas (a second space on a smartphone) and other tools.

6. Update Your Operating System and Software

A security update is an update that primarily aims to improve security and fix bugs. These updates usually don't contain features that you might notice in everyday use. In practice, this is a simple but very important procedure that helps to reduce the risk of malware infiltration or falling prey to hacker attacks.

The software is in constant need of maintenance to stay safe and up to date. Errors or vulnerabilities found in system software are usually fixed by manufacturers with updates. Hence, make sure you have downloaded the latest update to your system.

7. Use Reliable Cloud Storage 

The most popular cloud storages include Microsoft OneDrive, Livedrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Cloud services are hosted on servers with a permanent internet connection. Suppliers rely on the trust of users, so it is in their interests to ensure the integrity of personal data stored in the cloud. Make sure that you regularly make backups and store them in different locations. One copy can be stored locally on the hard drive, and the second one in the cloud storage. 

Thus, if your company is attacked, for example, by ransomware, you will not lose your data and will be able to recover it. Cloud security is a whole set of technologies, protocols, and developments for protecting cloud environments, applications, and data. Whichever cloud service you choose, always protect your account with a strong password or two-factor authentication.

8. Use Financial Security Services

Banking applications, of course, have their own internal protection against fraudsters. However, businesses often need additional programs for reporting, accounting, tracking expenses and income, and so on. Reliable applications have protection that will not allow even developers to access the data. So, in addition to protection thanks to the built-in protocol, you can set your own strong passwords

To ensure the security of transactions, Payrow has implemented a new 3d secure v.2 protocol. This protocol provides clients with fast and simple authentication and data transmission. The developers also created a highly secure channel to transfer information. Thanks to 3d secure v.2, Payrow offers simplified and accelerated transaction processes. In particular, when the client uses the same data to confirm the transaction, such as entry codes and geolocation, user authentication becomes easier and faster. Payrow also has extra features to enhance user experience, for example, payments are adaptive for mobile apps and browsers so that users can go through the authentication process directly in the application. The system automatically fills in the field by reading the SMS code, so the user doesn’t need to input codes manually to approve a transaction. Payrow provides customers with additional authentication options, such as security tokens and biometric data. Such protection measures will help to avoid fraudsters attacks and increase the credibility of your company. 

Make your payments secure with Payrow!