The Guide to Cybersecurity in a Work from Home Environment

Cyber Security, High Technology, Technology Posted May 1, 2020 by Shannon Kelley

Over the past decade, working from home has become familiar to many companies that have integrated the practice into their business culture. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of office employees have converted to home workers in a matter of days.

Here at CHEN PR, we are well into our second month working from home and are adapting to the challenges that come with it. Apart from having to juggle a shared professional space with family, friends and roommates, or attempting to homeschool kids with a limited amount of technology in the household, it’s important that cybersecurity stays at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Working on home networks introduces a different set of security risks compared to when employees are on the secure infrastructures in the office. With overloaded and less secure Wi-Fi networks, the well-documented security and privacy issues of video conferencing platforms and an increase of malicious activity targeting those seeking information on current events, security teams – and workers – are feeling the hit. While most people know it’s important to maintain strong passwords and make sure computer software is up-to-date, there are cybersecurity tools that can help protect against opportunistic hackers. Remote user access that supports multiple employees can be complex and costly, but it doesn’t have to be. Below are a few cybersecurity tips, along with companies that are offering free security products and services during this time of uncertainty.

Enlist Encryption for Secure Data Sharing

Organizations face challenges of having to communicate and share data virtually. There are cybersecurity companies that specialize in encryption software for this reason. Using encryption can help users share data securely while still maintaining their productivity. The idea is that the encryption protects messages from any outside eyes that might be lurking on sensitive information sent in email or online. Companies are able to choose the recipients they want to have access to the message, so they are the only ones allowed to view it. This means when hackers try to nose their way into sensitive information, they will not be able to gain access. One notable company, Virtru, is expanding free access to its encryption and data control capabilities through June 30. While individual access via Gmail and Outlook have always been, and will continue to be, free, Virtru is offering up to five complimentary licenses for healthcare, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments. They are also granting unlimited complimentary licenses to K-12 education institutions and organizations that support the defense and intelligence missions.

Know When Your Company Could be at Risk

According to data gathered and analyzed by Atlas VPN, Google reported a whopping 350% increase in phishing websites and emails in March compared to January. These COVID-19 phishing attacks are flooding the Internet and inboxes as hackers are taking advantage of the fear and confusion the pandemic brings. While cyber criminals are thriving in this time of uncertainty, RiskLens is one company that wants to help! For a limited time and at no cost, the company is offering a half-day Work from Home Risk Assessment, which can show your risk exposure in financial terms to help you take action in adapting your security program in the most cost-effective way. The RiskLens platform is based on the FAIR Institute model, which is the international standard for cyber and technology risk quantification. This means that their team is able to generate an analysis on how much loss exposure could occur in dollars from direct and indirect costs. This is a blueprint that companies can use moving forward to help them prepare for other disruptive events that may arise.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Many people may not know that Internet users can be tracked, monitored and identified without their knowledge through their IP address. While freedom and privacy is getting harder to find in the virtual world, using a VPN can help preserve anonymity and bolster security. What’s most important to think about while working from home is that it’s not only ISPs and online businesses that can see activity, hackers can, too. These bad actors can even take over devices through an IP address. VPNs lend users a temporary IP address and hide their true IP address from websites they interact with. Most companies charge a monthly fee to use their VPN platform, but Aviatrix is offering free access to their smart SAML Remote User VPN software for all enterprise customers and employees through June 30. This solution is designed for organizations with employees, customers, developers and contractors who need remote access to private company resources that reside in public clouds.

There’s no doubt that people have come to understand and accept our delayed return to some semblance of normalcy. While working remotely is lasting longer than we all had hoped and expected, it’s important to consider each of these products and services to help protect users’ privacy, security and anonymity. Hackers are taking advantage of the vulnerable state the world is in, so being aware and proactive about cybersecurity can help better protect the work from home workforce.