7 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Post-COVID Remote Work

Remote work is now the norm, and cyber attacks are up. Follow these seven cybersecurity best practices to keep your systems and information safe.

While businesses are concerned for the health of their employees during the pandemic, cybersecurity hygiene has also been a growing concern. With the future of returning to physical offices uncertain, organizations must focus on how they can protect IT systems, company data, and employees in the remote work landscape. Likewise, employees must do their part to secure data outside the office.

Consider these seven best practices the vaccine for post-COVID remote work woes.

1. Avoid public Wi-Fi.

Many of us have cabin fever, thanks to a year of isolation; however, coffee shop Wi-Fi is not secure. There is no firewall between you and the next user on the network, nor is your traffic encrypted. If you must work in public, consider reducing your risk of being hacked by using a personal hotspot, a VPN, and/or an encrypted remote connection.

2. Don’t work on a personal computer.

IT takes many precautions when configuring company devices for security and should be routinely pushing updates to your machine. Using a personal computer for work makes all that effort moot and can end up exposing company data to cyber criminals.

3. Keep physical security in mind.

In the cyber age, we tend to fall into the trap of thinking the Internet is the only enemy. However, unlocked doors, unattended laptops in vehicles, and prying eyes are also significant threats to security. Be mindful of your surroundings while working remotely and remember that data compromise is not restricted to cyber warfare.

4. Be a security-aware user.

Social engineering, particularly email phishing, is the leading cause of data breaches. Organizations should provide regular security awareness training to employees, who should, in turn, put what they’ve learned into practice. Verify sender email addresses, links, and attachments before opening any suspicious communications.

5. Implement advanced threat detection and response capabilities.

Malicious threats are more sophisticated than ever, and the faster the response, the less damage they can do. Implementing a solution that detects and isolates threats quickly can stop attackers from settling into a network, laying down roots, and siphoning data undetected for years.

6. Develop cybersecurity governance policies.

If you don’t have formal remote work and remote access policies for employees, late is better than never. Cybersecurity is only uniform and effective when the same information is shared with everyone. Despite turnover and other business challenges, these policies will serve as a concrete guide to securing systems and data while working remotely.

7. Don’t forget basic cyber hygiene.

Strong passwords won’t stop cyber criminals, but two- or multi-factor authentication might be too much of a hassle for them to invest the time to hack into your systems. While not hacker-proof, 2FA and MFA provide an extra layer of protection for user accounts and help limit unauthorized connections.

The remote workplace might not be the most inherently secure, but with some good cyber hygiene, organizations and users alike can protect data and systems from malicious actors. These top seven best practices are a great place to start.