How To Secure Your Remote Office

About 16 million office workers moved their offices to their homes in March and, as of October, 33% of American workers are still working remotely all the time. The transition to remote work came suddenly for many employees, and your company may not have developed a complete at-home security policy at the beginning. In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, give your home office setup a security check to make sure your work is protected against hackers and scammers.

Email phishing scams

As scammers become more sophisticated in their approach, it gets harder to tell a phishing message from the real thing. Workers may also be receiving more email, as in-person communication goes digital. Always “think before you click” and hover your mouse over any links in the message to see the full URL. That will usually show you whether the email is legitimate or not. Finally, don’t open any attachments you weren’t expecting.

Personal Wi-Fi Networks

If you’re working from home, you’re also using your home Wi-Fi. Make sure to reset the password from the standard login your router came with. Avoid using open public networks to conduct official company business. Hackers can easily gain access to your data through networks that are not password-protected. Finally, if your company has a Virtual Private Network (VPN), make sure to sign on every day you’re working. The VPN adds a layer of security and also ensures you get automatic software updates and security patches installed on your laptop.

Use of non-work devices

While it may be tempting to transfer work files back and forth between your work and personal devices, this puts sensitive data and other company information at risk.

Generally, your work computer is more secure than personal devices because your company’s IT team installs regular updates, runs antivirus scans, and takes other cybersecurity steps that you are likely not up-to-date with on your personal laptop.

Non-work use of work devices

The other side of not using your personal device for work is not using your work device for personal tasks. That also means keeping your work computer away from children and other family members.

Password Strength

Creating a strong password is an essential step to protecting yourself online.

Of course, the primary way to protect your work device and accounts is through the use of strong, unique passwords. Aim for at least 16 characters, stay away from common words and number sequences, and consider a passphrase such as a line from your favorite book, movie, or song. A password management tool can help you generate strong passwords and store them for you so you don’t have to remember every account login.

Multi-factor authentication

Using more than one login credential to access your accounts, such as a special code sent to your phone, helps protect your devices and accounts from hackers. If not already required, it is recommended that you opt in for MFA wherever possible.

Continue to follow company policies from home

Make sure you follow company IT and security policies from home, just as if you were in the office.

Physical Security

Phishing and cyber attacks are not the only ways scammers gain access to sensitive data. Take physical security into account when working remotely. For example:

  • Keep doors locked. Whether you live in an apartment or house, keep entry doors locked to prevent theft of your work laptop. You may also want to keep it locked up in your house when not in use.
  • Don’t leave work devices in your car. Even if you store a laptop in your trunk, someone could be watching and break in after you walk away from your car.

Union Bank is here to help!

Union Bank will never solicit personal information

As your longtime community bank in Northern Vermont and Northern New Hampshire, we are here to support the security of our customers and community. Read more about our Cybersecurity Awareness and contact us if you have any questions about your Union Bank accounts!