The Quick Guide to Remote Workplace Safety

As we continue to shelter in place and work remotely, cybersecurity becomes a greater concern than ever before. While there are certainly online risks during business as usual, they are much greater now.

With so many people working remotely, hackers have many more opportunities to access sensitive data, and abuse it in a variety of ways. Such as holding information ransom or using your credentials to log in to your bank account. In recruitment, dealing with sensitive information is par for the course.

So, how can you and your employees keep your virtual workplace safe?


Always Lock Your Device

This is an incredibly obvious suggestion and you might even wonder why it’s being mentioned. After all, when you’re working remotely there are unlikely to be outsiders near your device. However, it’s a good idea to maintain your habit of keeping your desktop away from prying eyes.

Besides that, you wouldn’t want someone else in your house to sit down and accidentally see sensitive data. Or accidentally send an email from your account.

Locking your device every time you walk away from it just makes sense.


Use Up-to-Date Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is another obvious suggestion, but it’s incredibly important. The software prevents hackers from getting into your system via malware. Usually by detecting and deleting or quarantining the malicious software.

Out-of-date versions can be dangerous, because criminals may have already worked out how to bypass them. They can also be irritating, because they won’t have all the latest bug fixes. The money that buys a good antivirus is definitely well spent. If your budget is tight there are several free options that work well.


Configure Wi-Fi Encryption

If your Wi-Fi isn’t properly configured, you’re in a vulnerable position no matter how impenetrable your desktop or mobile device is. If an attacker is able to get into your router or connect to your Wi-Fi, they can intercept whatever you enter or send online. Including passwords to sensitive business data.

To configure your network connection correctly and avoid information falling into the wrong hands, choose the WPA2 encryption standards as it is the most cutting-edge. Now anyone who wants to connect to your Wi-Fi will need a password. Make sure you set a very strong word or even phrase, using numbers, letters, and symbols, and change it regularly.


Update Your Operating System and Programs

Your system and programs must be up to date for the same reasons your antivirus software needs to be. Hackers are always working to discover new vulnerabilities in apps and overall operating systems.

Cybercriminals prey on the human vulnerabilities of ignorance or procrastination and go after anyone who hasn’t installed the latest updates on their device. To avoid this pitfall as much as possible, check for and install patches and updates on a regular basis.


Change Your Router Login Details

The default usernames and passwords for many router models are not only intrinsically weak, but they’re also widely known and easily searchable on the Internet. Often attackers simply write these details into malicious programs. If they work, your router is taken over and becomes a bot.

In addition, since everything that you send online goes through the router, hackers can spy on you. Tracking your activity at all times of the day and night. Change your details now, and then remember to do so again in a few months’ time. It’s also a good idea to implement a password update policy for your staff and ensure employees adhere to it.


Use Corporate Resources Only

The corporate Information Technology (IT) services that your company uses, such as Slack, Microsoft Office 365, or at least a corporate email, are all configured by the IT department. This is not the case with your personal email or other tools that you use, which can lead to security breaches.

When you send someone a link to a document and anyone who has the link can see it, search engines will be able to index it. If you save private data such as HR documents or employee wage breakdowns in your Google Drive and share the link, it could appear in someone’s search results. Whether they were looking for it or not.

The simple take-home message here is that whenever you’re exchanging business files of any kind, stick to official company tools and resources. Most cloud drives offer a business-configured version that is far more secure than the free personal platform and are a very sound investment.

Keeping work and personal emails separate also reduces the risk of missing any important correspondence in either of them.


Use a Reputable VPN

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) create additional virtual networks above the existing public connection (the Internet) below. A helpful way to think of them is as communication tunnels, which keep the information running through them completely private.

End-to-end encryption protects your data, and allows all employees working remotely to safely access the company’s files and resources. Any information sent from a device on the VPN is also encrypted. So sensitive details can also be shared with clients or outside colleagues who are collaborating on a specific project.


Above All, Stay Vigilant

Staying vigilant about cybersecurity when working from home extends far beyond making sure that you’re using the most recent versions of your antivirus, operating system, and programs. Hackers have always used phishing scams to try and access information like passwords and usernames. But now with COVID-19 they have an especially effective vehicle to do just that.

Whereas in the past any clickbait link would only appeal to a certain group of people with particular interests, everyone has a vested interest in the Coronavirus. Several apps that purport to keep users informed about the virus and then install malware onto devices when they are downloaded have already been reported. This is likely to continue.

To avoid falling prey to a COVID-19 phishing scam, never click on a link if you don’t know the source. Even if it seems to come from a person or organization that you trust. Criminals are preying on people’s anxiety about catching the virus and about the economy crashing. If you get a mail from your bank prompting you to click on a link, be sure to confirm it with the official customer service department first.

By implementing stricter security protocols, staying aware, and keeping software and passwords updated, staying safe when working remotely is relatively simple. In the recruitment world, cybersecurity should always be a priority. Even more so now than usual.

Zoe Porter

With a passion for writing and a background in HR, Zoe is an editor at Resource Compliance where she spends most of the day clacking away at a keyword. In her downtime, she loves playing tabletop games and can brew a mean cup of third-wave coffee.