man working from home on laptop

How To Stay Secure In A Work From Home Environment

In the past year, many businesses have transitioned to a work from home environment, and many are going to continue operating like this, at least some of the time. While this has provided a welcome flexibility for many employees, it has posed a host of new cybersecurity challenges for businesses.

Whereas previously, businesses could restrict access to their systems based on their office IP, home working has made this more difficult. Verifying the identity of who is accessing your system is also made more difficult when that employee is no longer sitting at a desk on-premises.

In this post we’re going to cover some of the cybersecurity tips and procedures we’ve been implementing for our customers as they’ve adjusted to working from home. We’ve kept them safe while still allowing them to stay functional and collaborate easily.

  1. Take A Zero Trust Approach
    A zero-trust environment is one where everything is assumed to be a threat unless specifically whitelisted. An example of this would be that all software is blocked from being installed on an employee’s device unless it has been specifically approved. Carden IT Services can provide software that makes this process easier and more regimented.
  2. Keep Your Employees Engaged With Your Security
    This first tip isn’t a piece of software or a new gadget, but it’s probably the most important factor of all. Your people are the weakest link in any system, but they can also be your greatest strength. Most data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cybersecurity disasters could have been avoided if the people involved were better prepared and knew what warning signs to look for.Make sure that your employees are trained on the latest cybersecurity threats, the methods that cyber criminals use, and how to stop them. To help with this, Carden IT Services offer employee cybersecurity training and consultancy, and we use tools like ID agent to test your team’s preparedness with fake phishing emails.
  3. Use a VPN
    Using a VPN to safeguard data as it travels between your core systems and remote employees is vital. VPNs provide an extra layer of protection to the mix, among other advantages they can…
    – Hide the user’s IP address
    – Encrypt data transfers in transitMany companies already have a VPN service in place, and they are a good idea whether you have remote workers or not. Carden IT Services can provide you with a professional-grade VPN to help secure your network. Once it’s set up, we can make sure that all remote employees have access to it and that they utilise it for all business-related tasks.
  4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
    Multi-Factor Authentication refers to the use of an additional piece of information to gain access to a system beyond the standard username + password. This often takes the form of a code generated by an app or a code sent directly to your employee by SMS message. We recommend using the app method rather than the SMS method as it is more secure. SMS delivery is less secure since it’s simpler for a hacker to obtain access to your text messages than it is to physically gain access to your phone. Hackers can use several techniques to reroute your text messages such as cloning your SIM or tricking your phone carrier into redirecting messages. The advantage of MFA is that even if an employee’s username and password are compromised, an attacker would not be able to gain access to your systems without also having physical access to the employee’s device. This is a vital security measure which you should be using whether your team works from home or not.
  5. Where Possible, Use Secure Cloud Services
    To better safeguard your data, ensure that your data is not stored locally on your employees’ devices. Wherever feasible, data should be stored on secure cloud services, and your team should be instructed to use cloud-based tools (such as Microsoft Office 365).
  6. Implement Strict Access Control
    Data breaches and data leaks caused by privilege escalation assaults can be reduced by implementing an effective access control policy, such as role-based access control (RBAC), which assigns permissions to end-users based on their function within your company. For example, your new intern doesn’t need access to your Office 365 admin centre!

How Can Carden IT Services Help?

If you are concerned about your organization’s cybersecurity, at home or in the office, contact Carden IT Services today.

Author: Jeremy Huson

Jeremy Huson is the founder and director of Carden IT Services LLC. He has nearly two decades of experience managing businesses’ IT networks and his areas of expertise are IT consultation and cybersecurity.