March 19, 2020
Practical tech tips for employees to safely and securely work from home during this unprecedented time.
In this two-part series, we’ll discuss considerations for employees and employers impacting the quickly expanding work from home community.
Your company’s IT team is mindful of outside threats, and they go to great lengths to ensure outsiders cannot breach the network to access financial data or intellectual property. These restrictions can mean employees cannot access the same resources available in the office, or only with limited ability. Also, employees are feeling the pressure of slow home network speeds and confusing security restrictions that impact their ability to work effectively.
Read on for some tips to address these challenges without compromising security – at home or in the enterprise.
Tips for Employees
Many IT resources are under pressure to deliver the best services they can. Frequently, they are working very long hours with minimal sleep. While you can’t be with them personally to offer a coffee or a Snickers, be sure to let them know you understand the pressure and when you return to the office, thank them in person, if possible!
Ensure your home WiFi is secure
Ask yourself a few basic security questions to assess the security of your home WiFi. Open WiFi access can be easy to use at home, but it is also easy for a neighbor or someone driving by to access your computers if left unchecked.
Do I need a password to join my WiFi?
If the answer is no, consider setting up a password. Do a quick online search for password ideas and security guidelines, so your new password is not too easy to crack.
Is my WiFi password easy to guess such as a house number or pet's name?
Weak WiFi security can leave your network vulnerable to snooping, which puts you and your company’s data at risk.
Do you have malware and antivirus protection?
If you're using a personal device to access your company network, you may not have the same software that your IT team uses to protect computers such as malware and antivirus tools. If you're using your own computer and you're not sure, contact your IT department and ask them if you can get access to malware and antivirus software to keep your computer, and company data safe.
Does your screen lock when you step away?
If you are like most, not only are you at home but so are your children as schools close temporarily. The last thing you want is your kiddo accidentally messaging your coworkers or closing that document you’ve just spent the last hour perfecting. Plus, this is a best practice to keep your data secure when you’re able to return to work or a coffee shop.
Do you have a secure connection to your work environment?
This may be another question for the IT department if you're not familiar with the term "VPN" (Virtual Private Network) software. The purpose of VPN software is to securely connect you to your work and protect the traffic so others cannot see what you transmit across the Internet.
If it has been a long time since you have worked from home or if you never have, it’s crucial to use this software before working on company information.
Can your home network withstand hackers?
During this time, opportunists with malintent will exploit the crisis to gain access. Cyber-security agencies have already seen an increase in COVID-19 / coronavirus-related phishing attacks.
Here are some tips to stay safe:
- Be wary of any emails asking you to check or renew your passwords and login credentials. Even if such requests appear to come from a trusted source, reach out to your IT team for verification before responding to any such requests.
- Be suspicious of emails from people you don't know - especially if they ask to click links or open attachments. Phishing messages try to create a sense of urgency in order to panic you into clicking on a link. Take the time to validate with your IT team before clicking.
- Also, emails sent from people you know, but asking for unusual things can be suspect. Email addresses can be spoofed. If a request seems odd, pick up the phone and call the requestor. You might need the adult contact anyway 😊.
Can we help?
The team at Covene understands the difficulties of standing up a remote workforce overnight. As experts in collaboration technology, we can help!
We are here to walk you through the areas we discussed in this article, pick out technology to improve your work from home experience, or give general guidance on collaborating as a remote worker. Please reach out if we can help you and your business during this difficult time.