Work from Home During the Pandemic, and The Risk of Data Leakage
More employees are being asked to work from home during the pandemic, in order for productivity to continue. This new arrangement is predicted to be more widespread, even as we recover from the current health crisis. For many employees, it may be their first time working from home.
They may be asked to work with critical business data on personal devices, or they may be tasked with using business devices on less secure WiFi networks. It’s important for your employees to take the necessary steps to protect company data as they work from home during the pandemic, whether they’re working on your devices or their own.
Unfortunately, not even a deadly biological virus is slowing cyberattacks. Below are some steps that your employees can take to more securely manage data as they work from their own homes.
Tips to Work From Home During the Pandemic
Use Antivirus Software – Updated software and antivirus platforms can help to prevent phishing and cyberattacks. While many platforms update automatically, some require that you manually check for updates. Some may also deactivate their antivirus software in order to maintain faster processing speeds.
But as new malware, viruses, and phishing schemes are developed daily, this is a risk that’s not worth taking. The best thing that you can do is to make sure that your virus protection software is activated and updated, and that it is working to protect your sensitive data.
Keep Backing Up Data – Data backups are the most surefire way to protect your business against data loss. While there may be a minor inconvenience on time, if data goes missing for any reason, you’ll rest easy when you can regain access. This may be as simple as a USB drive, or a cloud backup. An external hard drive could also be beneficial. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are all viable options for off-site cloud backup.
When you can successfully back this data up, it can minimize downtime following data loss.
Uninterrupted Power – You can buy devices that provide emergency power in the event of an outage, protecting your data from a loss if the power shorts out. These devices are often used in large office settings, but they’re also available in smaller form for personal use. Even if you only gain a few minutes of continued use, it’s long enough to save your work.
Treat Your Technology Well – The lockdown has put a high demand on certain consumer goods, and laptops are no exception. That’s not surprising considering the spike in working from home. With this in mind, it’s important to treat your technology as well as you possibly can. It may be time to change simple bad habits such as eating or drinking in front of the computer.
You may also want to clean the computer from time or get a cooling pad to prevent your machine from overheating. When you do everything possible to make sure that your devices are taken care of, you reduce the risk of data loss.
For those new to the setup, it can be challenging to work from home during the pandemic. But if you follow some of these simple suggestions, you should be able to keep data safe.
Cybersecurity Lessons that Can Be Learned from Covid-19
We’re in the midst of watching how every nation on the globe responds to a significant health crisis in real time, and there are some cybersecurity lessons we can take from this experience. First, let’s take a quick look at what’s happening in the world right now. In certain high-population areas, hospitals have been overrun and the health crisis is playing out in a very real way. The stay-at-home orders were able to limit the spread of the virus in other locations.
As we watch the Covid-19 response play out in real time, there are some natural parallels that can be drawn with cybersecurity and keeping sensitive business information safe during a crisis. These threats have enough in common that they often share a common name: viruses. So, it stands to reason that there could be some cybersecurity lessons from all of this.
Cybersecurity Lessons to Be Found in the Covid-19 Response
Lesson 1: Understand the Correlation Between Convenience and Security
So much of American life is set up in commune with others. We love our sporting events, concerts, festivals, and other large gatherings. We love public transportation, restaurants, and retail. So many of these things are set up for easy access and convenience. They’re part of our comfortable way of life. When there is a health and safety threat, we find ourselves in the position of sacrificing convenience for added security.
It’s the same with running your business.
There is a heavy emphasis on streamlining the workflow. Efficient processes can help speed up necessary tasks and ultimately make your company more profitable. This can pit convenience and security against each other. Minor inconveniences like two-factor authentication or automatic updates can also go a long way in keeping information secure.
Lesson 2: The Importance of Testing
Testing is the method that communities, states, and nations use to understand the depth of the Covid-19 issue within their community. Without this in-depth testing, there would be no way to understand just how deeply rooted the problem is within their borders.
The same rings true with cybersecurity. If you lack the methods to discover what’s been compromised, you’ll never be able to take the proper steps to fix the problem. The adage rings true in both areas: if you don’t understand the problem, you cannot fix it.
Lesson 3: Protect Assets
Certain segments of the population (the elderly and those with another medical diagnosis) fall into the most vulnerable categories with Covid-19. Nations are coming to terms with what it means to protect these elements of the population. Protecting these segments is another of the big cybersecurity lessons from Covid-19.
Certain data sets are more vulnerable to cyberattacks as well. Sensitive customer information, your most important financial information, and other key data points must be protected. The more valuable certain data is to the health of your business, the more valuable it will be to those looking to do you harm.
Lesson 4: Stop or Control the Spread
When you know how a virus (biological or computer) is spread, you know how to control its spread as well. For example, stay-at-home measures, the use of masks, and washing your hands is reducing the spread of Covid-19.
Added security and data backups can minimize the impact of cyberattacks as well. When your cybersecurity is set up to protect your most crucial data, it becomes harder to compromise. These cybersecurity lessons from Covid-19 can help you to understand and better protect valuable data.
5 Easy Steps Small Businesses Can Take to Improve Cybersecurity During Lockdown
Major data breaches are finding their way into the news all the time. Major retailers, credit, and finance companies have had major difficulty safeguarding customer data. Some companies may have limited resources to protect themselves from cyberattacks, but during the lockdown, you may find yourself with more time.
Below are 5 easy steps businesses can take to improve cybersecurity during the lockdown.
Change Passwords for Everything – From email platforms to accounting software, to system logins, you’d be surprised how many different platforms, and therefore passwords, businesses and their employees are entering in a given day. Go through every online platform or piece of software that you may have an account with, and change the passwords. This is a step that can be repeated either every three months or six months for optimal security.
Perform Regular Software Updates – Every time a computer, security system, mobile application, or a piece of software offers an update, it should be completed. Any connection online is vulnerable to being hacked, and one of the highest vulnerabilities is in out of date software.
The very purpose of many of these updates is to reduce vulnerability. Therefore the safest thing you can do is to complete them as soon as they are available.
Use a Password Manager – A password manager can help select unique and secure passwords for every site you use and keep track of them for you. It has the added benefit of simplifying this part of the security process for your employees. Many of these programs allow you to securely share passwords with employees as needed.
Delete Unused Accounts – How many times have you or an employee signed up for an account on a platform that you no longer use? These accounts become another way for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. If you’re not actively using a social media or software account, the best thing you can do is to delete it, so that hackers won’t have another way in.
Use Two-Factor Authentication – It may seem like an unnecessary burden at the time, but the sites that ask you to enter the passcode that’s been texted to your phone are the most secure. This added step enhances the security of the site and protects the user’s personal information. It’s relatively easy to activate, it’s only a minor inconvenience, and it’s highly effective at keeping information protected.
Consider VPNs – Open networks with generic and limited security measures become easy to hack for someone with the right experience. A virtual private network (VPN) offers added security, especially if employees might be connecting through public WiFi services.
These Are Steps That Can Be Implemented to Improve Cybersecurity During the Lockdown
Not every small business has the budget to spend tens of thousands on security, and that’s understandable. But taking some simple and affordable steps to safeguard information can decrease the chances of a successful cyberattack. Here are a few additional steps that will take minimal effort on your part:
- Empower your front-line employees to be able to identify and notify you of cybersecurity threats so that proper actions can be taken.
- Update your system to require password changes either every three months, six months, or annually.
- Set your operating systems to perform automatic updates. This will prevent busy employees from putting these updates off for long periods of time.
When you take these added security steps, you can better protect the information that’s vitally important to you, your customers, and the success of your business. This will help you to improve cybersecurity during the lockdown.