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Cyber Security for Remote Work

March 26, 2020

The COVID-19 epidemic has forced many companies to close their offices and require employees to work from home. This is a necessary measure to contain the epidemic and save lives. Nevertheless, there is a trade-off - a decreased risk of coronavirus but a greater risk of computer virus, data breach, and malware.

Within an office there are typically security defenses to protect computer systems and data - gateways, behavior monitoring, encryption, anti-malware applications. A home computer may have less protection or may be poorly configured.

Cybersecurity Matters recommends steps for organizations to maintain their systems and data while employees are working remotely:

  • Make it clear which clouds and applications are sanctioned for use. Provide a secure way for employees to access these applications.
  • Provide employees with dedicated equipment (my laptop is reserved for work use; I have a separate computer for personal use).
  • Enable multi-factor authentication for verification of user legitimacy.
  • Establish a support hotline (or require that support issues be directed to a designated person).
  • Use encryption.
  • Provide security awareness training.

Here are additional tips for businesses:

  • Speak to software as a service providers about their business continuity plans and assistance with disaster recovery.
  • Provide refresher training to employees on cybersecurity.
  • Include cyber incident response in COVID-19 response plan.
  • Be able to communicate with employees if systems must be taken offline or passwords reset.
  • Protect personal and confidential information.

While working remotely is probably not as efficient as being in the office, we can all benefit from attention to security.