IT Security Guidelines for Remote Work

Many business continuity plans have been challenged in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. Companies across the globe are trying to figure out how to work remotely while also staying productive and maintain IT security. Whether your company has 5 or 5,000 employees, it’s important that everyone takes the correct preventative security measures in order to continue business as usual. Check-in with your team and make sure they are following these IT policy guidelines while working remotely.

Working From Home 

Use your Work Computer for Work 

If your company gave you a laptop to use while working from home then use it for just that. There’s a good chance that your IT team has already installed security features on the laptop. Avoid using your personal laptop for any work-related tasks. And yes, that means even checking work emails. Your personal laptop might not have the same antivirus scans and site blocks that your work laptop has. You could put your company network at risk if you introduce it to your personal computer. The loophole for this is if you have remote access to Office 365. While it’s not 100% safe, it’s your best bet if you have to use a personal laptop.

Encrypt Emails with Sensitive Work Data

There is always a security risk when sending emails with sensitive data. Make sure that the emails you are sending are encrypted to prevent unauthorized viewers. Depending on what Office 365 package you have, you can encrypt your emails using Outlook. 

Lock Your Doors

This should go without saying but seriously, lock your doors. Break-ins happen of course but don’t let thieves have a chance to just walk right into your home. When you aren’t using your work laptop make sure it is in a secure place where robbers (or even children) can’t find it. We know that locking your doors isn’t the only way to stop intruders, this is why you should install an encryption service on your laptop. BitLocker can encrypt your entire device while logged out. Even if they pull out the hard drive, they won’t be able to decode the information without the key.  

Never use a random thumb drive

Another trick in the hacker book is leaving hard drives on the ground and waiting for someone to pick it up and plug it into their computer. I know it sounds dumb but it actually works more often than you think. While you shouldn’t have this problem while working from home, we just wanted to remind you to never use a random thumb drive, ever. 

Public Precautions 

Avoid Public Wi-fi

When a contagious virus on the loose, you should avoid going out in public as much as possible. However, we understand that not everyone has the luxury of being able to inside their home. If you have to go to a public place to use the Wi-Fi, make sure you are taking the correct precautions. Anyone else who is using that Wi-Fi can monitor your traffic or get external access to your system. If you can, use a hotspot to prevent getting hacked. Another option is to use a VPN to protect your traffic. Talk to your supervisor and IT team about setting up an encrypted remote connection on your laptop. If you can’t use your own Wi-Fi then make sure you and your team have a game plan to keep the company data safe.

Protect your Screen

If you’re working around strangers, protect your screen like it’s the 3rd-grade spelling test and you’re sitting next to a cheater. You can never be too careful when it comes to your company’s data so never let your guard down. Try sitting in a corner facing away so that no one can get a glance at what you’re working on. 

Don’t Leave Your Laptop Unattended

Don’t leave your laptop in your car. Don’t leave it while you use the restroom. Don’t leave it while you get another cup of coffee. Make sure your laptop is within arm’s reach at all times. Even if you leave it for a second, that second could be a thief’s chance to steal your device. 

Use a USB Data Blocker

Bring a USB data blocker with you in the event that you have to use an unknown USB port to charge your phone. You’ll be able to charge it without exposing the data pins inside your device. 

Businesses everywhere are having to make new changes and procedures to keep their employees healthy. If your business needs help figuring out how to stay on top of IT security while your team works from home then contact us! The Miller Group can answer any questions you may have and provide you with the tools you need during this pandemic.