If you have employees working from home – as more of us are doing while the pandemic continues to surge – it’s even more important to educate and assist remote workers with both cyber security and physical security. Here are some key points to emphasize with employees working from home to keep sensitive information and valuable equipment out of the wrong hands:
- Keep security software up to date. Require passwords on all devices and apps. Passwords should be long, strong and unique: at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols and upper and lowercase letters. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a one-sheet flyer you can use to communicate cybersecurity basics to your team.
- Secure home networks. Most remote workers will be using Wi-Fi, so ensure that employees’ routers have WPA2 or WPA3 encryption that scrambles information to prevent outsiders from reading it. If WPA2 or WPA3 are not available on an employee’s router, consider replacing it. The FTC offers another flyer with the basics for Secure Remote Access.
- Never leave laptop computers unattended. Even if you use it on your patio table, your computer is much more vulnerable to theft than inside your house. All laptops should be password-protected, locked and secure. Ideally, it should also have software that encrypts all the data stored on it to prevent extraction of files from a stolen hard drive.
"Educate and assist remote workers with both cyber security and physical security."
- Secure files and documents containing sensitive information. Avoid transferring confidential information from office to home, if possible. If there is a necessary business purpose, keep it out of sight and under lock and key. Whether it’s financial, personal health, or trade secret, keep it in a locked file cabinet. Provide your remote employees with these tips about physical security.
- Shred sensitive documents. Throwing it in the trash or recycling bin runs a serious risk for identity thieves to harvest personal information that would compromise employees or other persons, and exposing your organization to costly liabilities. Supply a shredder to any remote workers who must handle such documents.
- Enforce your employer security policies. Reinforce the message that their home is an extension of your office. Follow the same protocols for internet use, network access and data security that is required in the regular workplace.
Keep these principles front and center with your work from home team to maintain a smooth and secure operation during these challenging days.