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10 Best Cybersecurity Practices for Remote Workers

In a nationwide effort to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of employers across the United States have been forced to suddenly and rapidly transition to a distributed workforce model. This has introduced a variety of new challenges for employers and employees alike.  

Cybersecurity, for example, has become an increasingly salient concern for remote teams at every level. A distributed workforce requires a huge number of separate digital connections in order to function properly. As a consequence, there is a much greater risk of security breaches and irretrievable data loss. 

However, the good news is that there are a wide variety of best practices that can help you and your colleagues keep your data secure while everyone’s working remotely. In celebration of cybersecurity awareness month, this article will explore eight individual ways that remote employees can keep their personal and professional information safely protected against hackers and threat actors. 

Top 10 Cybersecurity Practices for Remote Workers to Be Aware of in 2020  

  • Be vigilant of lines of sight when working in a public space. Have you been frequently working in coffee shops or other public areas during the lockdown period? If so, you should remember to be mindful when you’re working on sensitive material that might be visible to others around you. If you’re working on confidential or sensitive information in a public place, try to do so in a manner that reduces the chances of somebody glimpsing and stealing your information.
  • Avoid public WiFi domains whenever possible. Logging into public WiFi incurs significant cybersecurity risk for both your personal and professional information. Public WiFi domains, for example, lack a protective firewall. This, in turn, makes it much easier for hackers to access your files and steal your information. Whenever possible, you should make it a point to either use personal hotspots or some form of encryption technology. 
  • Always use your work computer for work-related tasks. Your personal computer is unlikely to be set up with all of the cybersecurity measures and features that have been diligently added to your work computer. With that being the case, it can be extremely risky to you and everyone on your team to even perform basic work functions from your personal computer.  
  • Always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). When you’re connected to a VPN, your computer’s internet connection will be delivered through a private and secure server, rather than through an internet service provider (which is much more easily accessible to hackers and threat actors). Leveraging a VPN is one of the most simple and effective ways to keep your data secure while working remotely. 
  • Make password management a priority. In many cases, your passwords are the last line of defense separating your files from a cybersecurity threat. Unfortunately, many working professionals today do not practice optimal online password hygiene. A recent study, for example, found that nearly one-third of adults in the United States today reuse passwords for their online accounts.  

Even the simple act of diversifying your online passwords can provide a big boost to your cybersecurity. To learn more about proper password maintenance, check out this article. 

  • Install high-quality antivirus software. When it comes to anti-virus software, the most important thing to remember is that not all software is created equal. Using strong anti-virus software will give you peace of mind knowing that any potential security threats threatening your data will be identified and eradicated. Here’s a list of the most reliable and efficient antivirus software in 2020.
  • Make it a habit to routinely install updates. It can be all too easy to disregard those pesky software update notifications that pop up in the corner of your computer screen every few months. If you ignore them for too long, however, you could be making your computer – and even your company’s whole network – dangerously vulnerable to a  cybersecurity attack. So the next time your computer alerts you that it’s time for a software update, be sure to click “install now.” 
  • Take advantage of two-factor authorization. Setting up two-factor authorization (2FA) only takes a couple of minutes, but it can provide some major enhancements to you and your company’s cybersecurity. Basically, it boils down to the fact that passwords are not always enough to provide total protection. These days, there are several different ways that a hacker can access or bypass your password. However, with two-factor authorization, you’ll have an extra security gate blocking the entry of any bad actor, which will make it twice as likely that your information will remain safe and secure. 
  • Keep an eye out for phishing scams. Phishing scams have always posed a threat, but there’s been a major uptick in the number of recorded scam attempts since the onset of the pandemic. Around the world, hackers are taking advantage of the crisis and attempting to lure people in with bogus offers and fake log-in pages to popular platforms like Zoom and Skype. It’s crucial, therefore, for remote workers to remain vigilant to these sorts of cybersecurity threats. Here are some of the telltale signs to be on the lookout for. 
  • Be mindful of how and where you store paper documents. It’s also important to bear in mind that cybersecurity extends beyond the digital world and into the physical one. If you ever need to print documents that contain confidential or sensitive material, make sure that you’re using a personal printer, that you have a secure filing system in place, and that you keep track of every single copy that you print.

Learn More About Enhancing Your Cybersecurity Practices While Working Remotely 

At Patel Consultants, we’re committed to helping job candidates keep themselves and their information safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about how partnering with a staffing agency can boost your cybersecurity, please reach out to Nick Malefyt at nickm@patelcorp.com or contact our office today!