In the wake of COVID-19, employees who had never worked out of the office before were forced to work from home any way they could. This often meant using their personal devices—their home computer, their mobile phone, their family tablet—to get the job done.
While our small business IT support team at KDG does not recommend using personal devices to work remotely, we understand these extraordinary times have left many businesses and their employees without a choice. If you’re left with no other option than to use personal devices during your work from home period, there are a few ways you can keep them as secure as possible.
Start with the Basics
Like the FTC says in their 2020 guidelines, start with the cybersecurity basics. Before you even begin working remotely, make sure all of your software programs (Word, Adobe, Firefox, Skype) are up to date. Make sure your personal devices use password protection, along with your email accounts and wireless connections.
If your organization is partnered with KDG’s technology management team, we can help point you to secure password generators and password management systems that can help you keep track of everything. We can also provide you with a list of programs that are out of support and in need of an update.
Also, never leave your laptop or mobile phone unattended. Working remotely at a coffee shop or restaurant can help you get out of the house for a bit, but it can also put your data at risk. Your device can get lost or stolen. Meanwhile, public WiFi enables hackers to break into your device and its data.
Secure Your Connection
Encourage employees to enable WPA2 or WPA3 encryption on their router. This will help hide data from outside parties. Employees with very old routers may not have this option, but KDG can ship a temporary router to them that is up-to-date with the latest standards. Through our IT Inventory Management, a router can be configured, sanitized, and shipped directly to your employee.
In addition, consider a VPN connection to keep your employees connected and your data secure. A VPN will encrypt all internet traffic and tunnel that traffic to your server. If you add the personal device(s) to your support agreement with KDG, our team can remote in to help install and set up a VPN.
Back Up Your Data
If you’re using your personal devices, make sure you’re making a backup of your data regularly to protect it from loss or corruption. Then, should your device get lost, stolen, or hacked, your data is still accessible from somewhere else. Our team can propose several cloud-based backup solutions your employees should use based on their needs and the amount of data they’re saving.
Some programs we would recommend include:
- Microsoft Office OneDrive
- Google Cloud FileStream
- DropBox Cloud Backup
- iDrive Backup for Business
Be Extra Vigilant
Hackers are making their moves, especially now that they know employees are more vulnerable. When we’re working from home, our attention is understandably elsewhere at times. This leaves us open to distractions and prone to making mistakes, like clicking on a phishing email.
If you receive an email about your Amazon password being reset or your email account being compromised, take a step back. Think about whether you have made any updates or changed any passwords. Chances are you haven’t. Look at the subject line and the sender. Are there spelling errors? Does it say “Customer” instead of your name? Hover over the URL. Does it say Amazon.com or Amazon.co or Amazon.org? Remember that sites like Amazon or banking institutions will never ask for private information over email.
If you’d like to keep your employees alert, KDG offers security training that helps your team identify phishing emails through random tests and training webinars. The more practice they have, the better they’ll be at identifying these fake and dangerous emails.
Let Us Help You Get Back to Work (From Home!)
If you and your employees are still adjusting to working from home and the requirements that come with it, don’t be afraid to give our technology and cybersecurity management team a call. We’ll help you secure your employees’ personal devices, recommend programs that can keep your data safe, and supply your team with safe, secure, and updated devices configured to meet your compliance needs.
Services we can help with during these unprecedented times include:
- Help Desk Support: We can offer support over the phone or through remote login for general desktop support. Our client-specific ticketing system lets you submit concerns or questions directly to our team and receive resource-level appropriate responses, usually within 15 minutes or less.
- IT Inventory Management: Let us help configure, sanitize, and ship devices to remote employees. If an employee is fired or leaves the company, we can collect the device, clear its data, sanitize it, and place it back in our inventory.
- Training: Recognize security threats and phishing attacks through regular training. We can also provide training on cloud-based software that helps keep employees connected.
- VPN Installation: Ensure secure collaboration with a VPN. A virtual private network lets your employees send and receive data securely across your network even on personal devices, encrypting it from third-parties. We’ll find the right VPN for you, install it, and support it.
Contact our support team today to learn more about how we can help your team get back to work…from the safety of their own home.
Kyle David is the President and CEO of KDG. He has navigated the dynamic intersection of technology and business, advising both leaders and organizations, from Fortune 25 companies and professional sports leagues to innovative technology startups.