To assist those who are working remotely during the COVID19 Pandemic we have compiled a set of cybersecurity best practices for home workers to help IT teams prepare for a massive rise in telecommuting

The cybersecurity protections at home will not be as strong as protections in the office, which are much easier to implement and maintain. IT departments will therefore need to advise telecommuting workers cybersecurity best practices for home working and their devices will need to be set up to access applications and work resources securely. With so many workers having to telecommute, this will be a massive challenge.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to quickly grow the number of telecommuting workers and having to increase capacity in such a short space of time increases the potential for errors. Additionally, testing may not be nearly as stringent as necessary given the time pressure IT staff are under. Their teams too are likely to be much smaler due to self-isolating workers.

One area where standards are likely to fall is staff training on IT. Many staff will be working from home for the first time and will have to use new methods and applications they will not be used to. The lack of familiarity can easily lead to errors being made. It is important that even though resources are restricted you still teach cybersecurity best practices for home workers. Do not think that telecommuting workers will be aware of the steps they must take to work safely away from the office.

Measures for IT Teams to implement to Enhance Cybersecurity for Home Workers

Listed here are some of the main steps that IT teams need to take to improve security for employees that must now work from home.

Check VPNs are Provided and Updated

Telecommuting workers should not be allowed to access their work environment unless they use a VPN. A VPN will ensure that all traffic is encrypted, and data cannot be captured in transit. Enterprise-grade VPNs should be used as they are more robust and provide stronger security. Ensure there are sufficient licenses for all workers, and you have enough bandwidth available. You must also make sure that the VPN is running the most recent software version and patches are applied, even if this means some downtime to apply the updates. VPN vulnerabilities are under active attack.

Configure Firewalls for Remote Workers

You will have a firewall in place at the office and remote workers must have similar security measures in place. Software firewalls should be set up to protect remote workers’ devices. Home routers may have inbuilt firewalls show employees how to enable hardware firewalls if they have them on their home routers and ensure that passwords are set to stop unauthorized individuals from logging on with their home Wi-Fi network.

Use the Rule of Least Privilege

Remote workers bring with them new risks, and with large sections of the workforce telecommuting, that risk is considerable. Remote workers are being targeted by cybercriminals and through web- and email-based attacks. In the event of a malware infection or credential theft, damage can be managed by ensuring workers only have access to resources absolutely vital for them to perform their work duties. If possible, limit access to sensitive systems and data.

Ensure Strong Passwords are Being Used

To safeguard from brute force attacks, ensure good password practices are being adhered to. Consider using a password manager to help employees remember their passwords. The use of complex passwords should be policed.

Enable Multifactor Authentication

Multifactor authentication should be enabled on all applications that are accessed by remote workers. This measure will ensure that if credentials are compromised, system access is not allowed unless a second factor is provided.

Ensure Remote Workers’ Devices Have Antivirus Software Configured

Antivirus software must be configured on all devices that are allowed to connect to work networks and the solutions must be set to update automatically.

Set Windows Updates to Automatic

Working remotely makes it more difficult to monitor user devices and perform updates. Ensure that Windows updates are set to take place automatically outside of office hours. Instruct workers to leave their devices on to permit updates to take place.

Use Cloud-Based Backups

To stop accidental data loss and to protect against ransomware attacks, all data must be backed up. By using cloud-based backups, in the event of data loss, data can be brought back online from the cloud-backup service.

Use Cybersecurity Best Practices for Home Workers

All telecommuting workers must be shown how they need to access their work environment securely when working away from the office. Reinforce IT best practices with home workers, provide training on the use of VPNs, provide training on cybersecurity dos and don’ts when working remotely, and explain procedures for reporting problems.

Define Procedures for Dealing with a Security Incident

Members of the IT team are also likely to be working remotely so it is essential that everyone is aware of their role and responsibilities. In the event of a security incident, workers should have clear procedures to follow to ensure the incident is resolved quickly and efficiently.

Implement a Web Filter

A web filter will help to protect against web-based malware attacks by blocking access to malicious websites and will help to prevent malware downloads and the installation of shadow IT. Also consider applying content controls to limit employee activities on corporate-owned devices. Drive-by malware attacks have grown and the number of malicious domains registered in the past few weeks has gone up rapidly.

Use Encrypted Communication Channels

When you need to speak ot private message with telecommuting workers, ensure you have secure communications channels to use where sensitive information cannot be intercepted. Use encryption for email and safe text message communications, such as Telegram or WhatsApp.

Ensure Your Email Security Controls are Appropriate

One of the main cybersecurity best practices for home workers is to take additional care when opening emails. Phishing and email-based malware attacks have increased massively during the coronavirus pandemic. Ensure training is given to help employees spot phishing emails and other email dangers.

Think about augmenting email security to see to it that more threats are blocked. If you use Office 365, a third-party email security solution layered on top will give much better security. Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is unlikely to give the level of protection you need against phishing and zero-day malware attacks. Consider an email security solutions with data loss protection functions to keep you safe from against insider threats.

Search for Unauthorized Access

More devices linked to work environments makes it much more simple for threat actors to disguise malicious activity. Make sure monitoring is increased. An intrusion detection system that can spot anomalous user behavior would be a wide investment.

For more information on enhancing email security and web filtering to safeguard remote workers during the coronavirus pandemic, contact TitanHQ now.