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Enhancing Cyber Security When Working Remotely

The COVID-19 Pandemic has thrown organisations into a tailspin, saturated by the trending phrase ‘work from home’. IT resources are limited in providing authorised devices for critical staff to work remotely, leaving staff to use personal devices to establish ‘secure’ remote desktop connections as a last resort. These unauthorised devices are a potential threat in an environment where a cyber attack could have devastating impacts, especially considering the restrictions and delayed timeframes of a Pandemic.

Personal device security at home is a topic that is often overlooked from the comfort of a corporate space. After all, organisations have an obligation to provide a secure office infrastructure thanks to regulation and the interest of stakeholders. Why should we be outlaying substantial hard-earned cash to protect a personal device or desktop that is used to Skype call relatives?

The answer is, we shouldn’t.

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hard-earned cash or worry about regulation since security at home is much simpler than the corporate concept. Cost is minimal, it is easy to implement, and you are not only protecting your employer, you are protecting your family.

To achieve security at home, there are four simple steps to take relating to the device or desktop itself.

1. Updating and Patching

Updating your device or installing security patches is one of the quickest and simplest methods of securing it against an attack. It costs absolutely nothing, and most devices can perform the update automatically with little feedback from the user. It is very common for updates or patches to be a fix for a discovered vulnerability on a device. Failure to keep up to date exposes the device to a conundrum of malware, viruses, ransomware and more. As a general rule of thumb, devices should be updated within 30 days of the last update.

2. Anti-Virus or Internet Security

While some devices may already come with out-of-the-box security, such as Windows Defender, they are generally insufficient in providing full coverage. A complete Anti-Virus or Internet Security suite can be attained for as little as $20 AUD for a complete one-year subscription. A small price to pay in protecting your home. Suites have developed significantly in recent years to include live monitoring, anti-malware, device optimisation, webcam protection, parental control and much more.

3. Secondary Storage or Backup

Using a second storage device or backup device can greatly reduce the impact of an attack or infection. Most commonly, an infection will target the primary storage of a device. While it may try to propagate to other storage, the probability is lower. Investing in a removable device is incredibly low cost thanks to flash drives or flash storage. If you wanted to save the hassle of using an additional device, consider implementing a secondary partition. They are simple to setup and great in segregating important files from the primary storage location.

4. Isolate a Work Device

This may sound obvious to some; however, it is quite surprising how easily individuals can forget to adhere to the purpose of a device, especially if working from home. When using a work-related device at home, remember to practice the same principles as one would use in the workplace. Refrain from using personal credentials, personal apps, or anything that sits outside the scope of the work role. Defining a clear line between personal and work-related activities not only provides security, it helps to develop a more structured daily schedule, reducing the blend of work activities into our personal lives.

How we can help

InConsult is committed to helping organisations become more resilient to a range of disruptions including pandemics.  We have extensive experience in cyber security, risk management, crisis management, business continuity, emergency management, disaster management and pandemic planning.

If you feel the coronavirus may have an adverse impact on your business and would like to discuss strategies to be better prepared and respond, contact us  to discuss your needs.