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How to Work Securely from Home

During the current global crisis, many organizations are allowing their employees to work from home in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and follow government restrictions. These organizations must now implement robust security policies immediately to avoid falling prey to the many malicious actors who are determined to exploit any confusion or laxity in these turbulent times.

The biggest weakness in cybersecurity, but also the greatest strength, is the end user. Every company should be repeatedly reminding employees of what to look out for in terms of phishing scams, fraudulent emails, etc. Fraudsters will be particularly trying to exploit concerns about the coronavirus, so employees should be particularly wary of any emails related to that, e.g., “Tax breaks for every employee working from home” etc.

With so many employees working from home, access to the company/organization cloud will be essential; every organization should make sure that there is a clear paper trail so everyone who has accessed a particular document or application can be traced, and care should be taken that each worker only has access to those areas they need for their work.

End-user security should be a primary concern, given that most workers will be using their home Internet connections. VPNs are an excellent place to start, creating secure direct links between the employee and the workplace. Companies that do not have two-factor authentication in place should consider employing it so that remote access will require either fingerprint recognition, answering security questions, and/or using passwords sent to them via mobile.

All IT departments should be working flat out to establish reliable and secure ways for employees to communicate with each other, video chat, group chat, speak to clients, etc. Many different options are available, amongst the most popular are Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, Slack, and Google Hangouts.

Finally, it is important to keep structures and procedures in place and as regular as possible, both for work efficiency and to help remote workers feel connected to their friends and colleagues. Many videoconferencing applications have the facility to create a workplace environment, which can be comforting and reassuring for home workers who may be feeling vulnerable. Meetings should be organized in just the same way as normal, i.e., minutes, agendas, handouts, etc. should be distributed well in advance, and meetings should start on time. This will keep all participants on topic and ensure that meetings remain productive, even in such drastically changed circumstances.

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