A remote worker’s guide to enhanced device security

A remote worker’s guide to enhanced device security

Remote work gives employees the freedom to work wherever and however they like, but this arrangement also invites security risks. Having the freedom to use personal devices for remote work can give cybercriminals a gateway into your company’s network and valuable assets. Keeping your device safe is therefore crucial to safeguarding your digital workspace and ensuring a seamless and secure remote work experience.

Top security risks for businesses with remote workers

Remote workers often encounter the following security risks:

  • Unsecured personal devices – Personal devices used for remote work may not be as thoroughly protected as company-managed devices. This makes personal devices much more vulnerable to cyberthreats.
  • High-risk networks – Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks may seem convenient, but these networks often lack the security measures to protect sensitive information. Moreover, hackers could be monitoring public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive information on connected devices.
  • Phishing scams – In a phishing scam, cybercriminals employ deceptive tactics, such as misleading emails, to trick users into revealing sensitive information. When outside the office and its comprehensive network security measures, remote workers may be less vigilant and therefore more susceptible to these types of scams.
  • Vishing – Vishing, or voice phishing, is where criminals scam targets over the phone or a voice messaging application, often masquerading as a business executive, bank teller, or authoritative figure. Their primary goal is to steal information from their targets. Since companies are unable to screen unsolicited calls to personal devices, detecting vishing attacks is more difficult. If a remote worker is unaware, they could easily leak company secrets and sensitive information to the hacker over the phone.
  • Outdated software – Remote workers may not be proactive with updating their devices. Failing to install operating system and software updates can create vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
  • Weak passwords – In remote work setups, poor password management (i.e., recycling passwords and setting easy-to-guess combinations) may get overlooked. This makes it easy for hackers to find their way into company accounts.

Security best practices for remote workers

To better protect personal devices and valuable information, remote workers must take the following practical steps:

1. Use a virtual private network (VPN)

VPNs establish an encrypted connection between the user’s device and public Wi-Fi, which means any data transmitted is completely indecipherable by unauthorized parties. Using a VPN when connected to a public Wi-Fi network ensures that hackers can’t intercept and steal your information.

2. Enable multiple authentication (MFA)

MFA requires more than one way to verify someone’s identity, which may include passwords, temporary passcodes, biometrics, and security tokens. By enabling MFA, you’ll no longer solely rely on passwords to guard your online accounts.

3. Regularly update your software

Enabling automatic updates for your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications will make it easier for you to patch the latest vulnerabilities and defend against emerging threats.

4. Beware of phishing attempts

You and your remote employees should always practice caution when you encounter an unsolicited email or text message. Avoid messages that contain suspicious links, malware attachments, or messaging that instills a sense of urgency (e.g., Your bank account is frozen, call us now). Many scammers will also replicate or “spoof” the email address of a coworker or well-known organization. If in doubt, contact the organization directly via their official website (not through the link provided in the email).

5. Learn to spot vishing or voice attacks

Vishing cases are increasing, and AI tools can replicate a person’s voice more realistically. Currently, the most effective way to guard against vishing is through education and training in security awareness. Regularly conduct simulations for both phishing and vishing, and establish a clear policy on sharing sensitive information using secure and private channels.

6. Secure your home network

Home networks should be properly secured to prevent hackers from gaining access to personal devices and company accounts. To do this, reset your router password and regularly update its firmware. You should also install strong network firewalls and encryption software that uses strong encryption protocols (e.g., WPA3) to prevent unauthorized access.

7. Implement endpoint security

Your devices should have reputable antivirus and anti-malware software installed to detect and remove potential threats.

Securing remote workers’ devices is not merely a precaution but an essential requirement in our digital era. By understanding the potential risks and adopting best practices, you can establish a protected digital workspace that enables efficient work without jeopardizing your data or your company’s security.

Do you or your New Jersey remote team need help securing your devices? Why not leave it to our tech experts at Online Computers to ensure the security of your remote workers’ devices? We’ll safeguard your systems and proactively bolster your digital defenses. Contact us today.

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