Working from home? Four steps that can help you keep your data secure

As many companies adopt door-to-door (WFH) policies in response to the Covid-19 epidemic, cyber security is a growing issue.

The workforce has access to confidential company data, so how does one ensure data / system security when working from home? Devashish Sharma, CTO at Flock (a proprietary messaging and collaboration tool), lists four easy steps that can help you secure your data.

Prevent unauthorized system access
During these times the fear of unauthorized access is high because hackers know that a large part of the population is working from home. Every small and medium business must set a strong access control policy for its employees. So how does one prevent unauthorized access?

More than half the data breach is caused by weak or outdated passwords. Use passwords and strong passwords and change time at regular intervals. Do not write your password on your laptop / computer. Also, if you go away from your computer, even for washroom breaks, lock your computer. It does not matter if you are living alone and there is no one around. There are many tools available to see if your password is tampered with.

two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication adds a layer of redundancy to ensure that only the actual account owner can access their account. A hacker may steal an employee’s password, but they probably do not have a phone that receives a verification code or is commonly known as an OTP. In addition, hackers will not have access to fingerprints, which are used in some systems. Honestly, adding an extra layer to the login process can make a lot of difference in keeping hackers out. The two-factor authentication system can also serve as a type of alert when an unauthorized user is trying to log into an account.

Beware of phishing emails and messages
According to a recent report, phishing scams and malicious Covid-19 links have increased from 15 in January 2020 to 54,772 in March. If you ever get an email around PPE, mask, hand sanitizer, etc., think twice before clicking on the link. There are increasing numbers of cases where employees receive emails that once inadvertently hackers with malicious intent.

Protect your home network
Even if you have a separate work laptop provided by your office while working from home, you will use your home Wi-Fi. And your organization’s IT team has no control over what that is. Changing passwords far more complex than family members’ names or birthdays is the most basic step to secure a home network. Use a virtual private network (VPN) on your work device before connecting to your home network. This is another security practice that must be followed. However, be sure to avoid free VPNs as they are not secure and usually compromise security, killing the purpose of using it in the first place.

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