Many organizations are now at greater risk due to the dramatic increase in people who work from home. Therefore, you and your employees must take steps to protect sensitive data in your company and its privacy.

You can start by ensuring everyone in your team is aware of these best practices for data protection when working remotely.

1.Keep your devices patched up and current

You can prevent your devices from becoming vulnerable by setting aside time each week for security updates.

  • Your computer

  • Your router

  • All other devices that are connected to your network

You can also enable auto-updates to ensure that your devices update automatically when a new security patch is available.

2. Anti-virus and anti-malware software can be installed on your home computer

Although your company computer may have anti-virus and anti-malware software, we don't think about our personal computers.

Each computer can be a security risk if they are connected to the same network. Therefore, you should ensure that your data protection policies for working at home include using cybersecurity software across all devices.

3. Create separate wireless networks for different devices

Most people use wi-fi (wireless network) to connect their devices when working remotely. However, some of the smart devices we connect to our home network can be used as gateways by cyber thieves to access our router and connected work devices.

This threat can be avoided by setting up two separate wireless networks.

  • One for IoT (internet-of-things) that is less secure and smart devices.

  • One for your most essential tools, such as your work computer

Separating connectivity will ensure that risks from one area don't spill into the other. Employees should also be advised not to use public wi-fi while working remotely.

4. Protect all passwords

These tips will help you and your staff keep your passwords safe.

Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) or an authenticator app like Google Authenticator.

Numerous websites offer 2-factor authentication to improve cybersecurity. For example, a website may send you a text message with a verification code that you need to enter online and ask for your username and password.

This form of MFA could be compromised if your number is stolen. You also have the option to use an authenticator app.

A phone authenticator app generates codes every day. Text messages cannot compromise verification codes because you will need the  device and  your username and password.

Use a strong password  Never use default passwords to multiple accounts and  constantly change  all passwords.

Passwords should not be stored on paper, in a computer document, or a security program. You should also ensure that your employees cannot access client bank accounts or other confidential platforms.

LastPass and 1Password are recommended password management tools for password storage, credit card information, or bank account information.

A password manager can be used to:

  • Generate unique alphanumeric passwords

  • Keep passwords safe in the cloud

  • Share passwords securely with other members of the team

You can restrict access to shared passwords. By having usernames or passwords autofill on login platforms, you can also limit access to passwords.

5. Secure your email account

Email accounts are more secure than a bank accounts in many ways. This is because they contain so much confidential information.

For example, your work email might contain HR records or personal information of clients or employees. Hackers may also gain access to your email because it is often used as a recovery tool for other accounts.

  1. Make sure that your email accounts are multi-factor authenticated and that passwords are regularly changed.

  2. Secure all business data

Encrypting emails and files will help to protect your business. Encrypting your data changes it into a code only accessible by those with the password or decryption keys.

If your company has a BYOD policy (Bring Your Own Device), make sure that your employees have encrypted devices. Also, back up any critical data to the cloud. This will ensure that data is safe even if the device is stolen or lost.

6. Conduct data security training sessions

Your business is at risk from employee negligence regarding sensitive customer or company data.

Regular security training sessions are the best way to reduce this risk.

  • Remote employees receive data security and privacy training, especially when working from home.

  • Remote employees are kept informed about new phishing attacks and cyber threats.

In the case of cybersecurity issues, it is a good idea to have someone or a team in IT for your business. Security personnel must be able to quickly assess and determine the severity of any threat while also keeping employees informed about possible issues.

Kobalt Security, a company that provides cybersecurity monitoring and security audits for companies such as yours, can help you if your organization doesn't have the funds to hire an IT security specialist. 

It is your responsibility as a business owner to protect your company's data (e.g., payroll information) and those of your clients. Data breaches can cause financial hardship, reputational damage, and loss of customers' trust.

Your employees will be more likely to stay safe if they are trained in data protection when working remotely.

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