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Five Rules for Remote Working

Stay Cyber Secure

Working from home has become the new normal for almost anyone with an office-based job. Bringing with it many benefits but also a number of additional challenges.  Most importantly, home workers now need to become much more active in managing their own cyber security.

In order for businesses to feel more secure it is essential that your workforce follows these five simple rules to reduce the likelihood of a cyber incident and the resulting impact on the business.

Rule One: Stop and Think

Be careful about who you share data with, and how you share it.  Is it really necessary to send that spreadsheet, client presentation, HR data etc? If so, add passwords to the most sensitive documents and follow up with the recipient to ensure it has gone to the correct email address.

Always question documents received from outside of your network; even if you know and trust the sender.  Although your company’s own internal security might be strong you can’t presume the same of your contacts, no matter how honest they might personally be.

Rule Two: Remain Vigilant

Always be vigilant, especially if connecting to your work network via a personal device.  This means that you shouldn’t allow yourself to go into ‘home’ mode.  Follow office rules:

  • Don’t go onto websites you wouldn’t visit in the office.
  • Don’t click on unknown links.
  • Don’t leave your computer unlocked.
  • Don’t download videoconferencing (or any other) software not explicitly condoned by your company.

If you are a manager, it is important when working remotely to ensure employees are continually reminded to remain vigilant and to treat their work computers and other technology (especially phones) in the way required by company policy.  This can be done via daily or weekly email reminders, to ensure that cyber security always remains top of mind for your staff.

Rule Three: Don’t Ignore Software Updates

This one is simple.  Keep on top of software updates.  These are now more crucial than ever and you should restart your computer to allow updates to complete as soon as it is viable to do so.  In addition shut down computers at the end of every day to allow overnight updates to occur.

Rule Four: Use VPNs

A VPN provides a secure and properly encrypted web connection for you and your employees’ work devices to access the work network. By encrypting traffic – where an employee has to connect to the internal network via public internet – it reduces the chances of exposing them, in particular to man-in-the-middle-attacks, but also to other intrusions from cyber criminals.

Rule Five: Backup Data

If you have responsibility for projects which contain data (which these days means most of us), make sure that you confirm with your IT team or IT service provider that backups of your files are occurring daily.  To make these effective, set up protocols with teams to save all work to the company network, not onto the desktop.  This ensures it will be backed up and also that it is protected by a more robust level of security.  The new environment has driven us a huge step further towards paperless working, and this means that protecting our online information is even more important.