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29 May
  • Editorial Team
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Several companies have shifted to remote working in the wake of the coronavirus crisis to ensure the safety of their employees. As team members struggle to adapt to home offices, the real pressure point for companies isn’t just maintaining productivity. Businesses must also integrate robust security measures for all systems, data and hard drives.

There is more to online security than just changing email and application passwords. It’s about controlling access on all fronts—the WiFi networks in use, the devices connected to it, and the volume of all credentials, personal information and confidential files being exchanged.

Remote desktops are usually not configured by a central IT department, leaving confidential data open to cybercrime. With reports of phishing, ransomware and other cyber attacks on the rise, companies and their employees must take proactive measures to prevent any mishaps. Here are 8 ways to improve your data security:
Install an anti-virus programme – Whether it be office systems or personal laptops, a powerful anti-virus solution can protect corporate data and run checks for developing threats. If a company cannot afford expensive, all-inclusive packages, some free anti-virus applications still provide a baseline of assurance. Even if you leave all else, do not compromise on this front.

Update programs and operating systems – How many times have you clicked on ‘Remind me later’ when an alert pops up asking for a software upgrade? You might put things off for a more convenient time, but the tasks in these pop-ups should be implemented as soon as possible.

All software and applications hold vulnerabilities. If left unaddressed, they offer a window for hackers to attack sensitive data and damage customer relationships. Developers frequently release patches and updates to resolve these weaknesses—some updates even boost the user experience. So when you are working from home, make sure your devices, essential applications and software are running on their latest versions.

Use encrypted Wi-fi– Attackers can connect to your Wi-Fi network or target your router to affect everyday performance. To prevent this, make sure your connection is private, encrypted, and asks for a password every time someone requests to join the network. Security protocols like WEP, WPA and WPA2 restrict unauthorised access to your network.

Change your router login and password – All router models come with a default password that can be looked up online. Hackers can compile a list and write these passwords into the code of a programme to turn your router into a bot. This results in automated spying on everything you send or receive from devices connected to the affected network. Consider changing your router username and password, since you will be using your home network for an indeterminable period.

Encrypt sensitive data in your emails – If you are exchanging private or restricted-access data through emails, make sure the content is encrypted. This way, no third-party or unintended recipient can view your messages. Emails can be encrypted via S/MIME or PGP/MIME protocols, and providers like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Android support this feature.  

Use VPN – If you think your location, work and search history should not be monitored, or if you share a connection with others, it is best to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for official operations. That way, the manner in which you browse the World Wide Web will not be visible. Location and IP addresses are hidden by a VPN, keeping your data safe from prying eyes. Most companies with a work-from-home policy will be willing to invest in a bundle.

Beware of email scams and fake websites – More people—especially older generations—are using computers and smartphones for work, education, entertainment and transactions. Cyber attackers, in turn, see this as a golden opportunity to exploit unsuspecting targets.
If you get an email with embedded links from an unknown or suspicious source, do not open it. Delete it and inform your company’s IT department. Also be wary of downloading files, filling forms or sharing personal data with unknown websites.

Use corporate services for all communication – Most medium to large companies have a set of services they use for daily communications, such as MS Office 365 or a corporate messenger. This also includes project management tools like Slack and Trello that streamline daily tasks.

The company’s IT team is responsible for setting up these applications and providing access to employees. Consult them if it is your first time using such a suite, and stick to vetted channels like official email accounts, corporate chat platforms or end-to-end encrypted cloud services. Usually part of paid business packages, these mediums are far more secure than our personal storage accounts.

As you set yourself up to work from home, these safety best practices can be easily incorporated into your devices and workflow. Brief all employees with basic security knowledge and instruct them to report anything that seems out of place. Combine this with vigilant administrators staying in close reach, and things should run business as usual.
 

Did You Know

Disbursement

The act of paying out money for any kind of transaction is known as disbursement. From a lending perspective this usual implies the transfer of the loan amount to the borrower. It may cover paying to operate a business, dividend payments, cash outflow etc. So if disbursements are more than revenues, then cash flow of an entity is negative, and may indicate possible insolvency.

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