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5 Cybersecurity Tips for Remote and Hybrid Workforce

by Jeff Birner, Owner / CEO of IT Consulting St. Petersburg LLC

 

Introduction

The rise of remote work has been a boon for productivity, flexibility, and the ability to work from home. But with the increased freedom comes increased risk. With that in mind, here are five cybersecurity tips for working remotely.

Staying up to date on your antivirus and security patches

  • Make sure that all of your antivirus software is up to date.
  • Make sure that your operating system is up to date.
  • Make sure that any browsers you use are up to date.
  • Make sure that any apps you use are up to date.
  • Make sure that the devices you connect with (printers, routers) are up to date as well.

Remote workers should take extra precautions when working from home

You should take extra precautions when working from home. It is important to use a VPN, secure your laptop with an antivirus, and use a separate phone for work. You also should have a separate email address and credit card for work purposes. You also need to keep all of your social media accounts private so that you can be more secure online. Finally, if possible, it would be good practice to have remote workers use cloud storage services like Dropbox in order to store sensitive data securely in the cloud instead of on their own computer or mobile device.

Not using public WiFi for work

The first step to keeping your business safe is to avoid using any public WiFi while working. Public WiFi isn’t secure, and it can be used by attackers to gain access to your data. By default, every device that connects to the internet has a unique identifier called an IP address (IPv4). This number allows websites and other devices on the same network—like printers or routers—to identify each other and send information back and forth in a secure manner. Attackers can use these identifiers as well as weak passwords from users who don’t know better when trying to infiltrate their networks.

To protect yourself when connecting remotely, you should use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) whenever possible. VPNs encrypt all information sent between your computer and their servers so no one else can see what you’re doing online without first decrypting it themselves; they also mask where you’re located so any attacker looking up IP addresses won’t see yours associated with the website or service being accessed at that moment in time.* However, not all organizations offer this type of security measure yet; if yours doesn’t currently have one set up yet but plans on implementing one in the future then consider using paid WiFi instead until they do so.* If neither are available options then consider purchasing personal hot spot from Verizon Wireless which comes equipped with built-in encryption software for added protection against hackers trying everything from installing malware onto devices like laptops running Windows operating systems through browsers like Mozilla Firefox, etc. 

Using a VPN, if possible – but not all VPNs are created equal.

If you have the option to use a VPN, it’s definitely worth your time. But not all VPNs are created equal. Some are more user-friendly than others, some are more secure than others, and some are just plain more expensive.

Some of the most popular options include:

  • [NordVPN](https://nordvpn.com/) – NordVPN is a great option for those who want a no-fuss VPN experience that’s easy on the wallet and won’t bog down your internet connection. It also has one of the most robust privacy policies in the industry when it comes to protecting users’ data from governments and third parties alike (and even includes an ad blocker). Plus, its Android app was recently updated with support for IKEv2 protocol (see below) which makes it much faster than other apps we tested out! If you’re looking for an inexpensive but fast solution without any bells or whistles then this might be it!
  • [ExpressVPN](https://www.expressvpn.com/) – This service offers some very high-end security features such as triple encryption protocols consisting of OpenVPN 256-bit AES encryption coupled with HMAC SHA256 authentication as well as perfect forward secrecy using 4096 bit RSA keys along with 2048 bit Diffie Hellman exchange parameters—all designed by leading experts at Stanford University!”

Requiring MFA for all accounts, if possible

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a good way to protect your online accounts. It requires that you verify your identity with more than just a password. You can do this by. 

  • Entering a code sent to your phone via SMS or voice call
  • Using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy
  • Typing in a one-time password that’s generated on the spot with an app like Duo Mobile or Microsoft Authenticator.

The number of people who use multifactor authentication (MFA) has been steadily increasing, but lots of people still don’t use it at all. If you’re not using it, consider implementing MFA for all your accounts or at least some of them, especially if they contain sensitive information such as banking details and credit card numbers.

Conclusion

The takeaway here is that remote workers have a higher risk of being hacked than in-office employees. The key to protecting yourself on the job is to stay informed and take precautions. Don’t forget to use MFA wherever possible, and be sure that all of your devices are up-to-date with antivirus patches before using them for work purposes. For more tips on cybersecurity best practices for remote workers, stay up to date with our blog!