The internet, our computers, phones, tablets and other devices are crucial to the way of life we are living at the moment. In this climate, it’s vital that we protect our online systems and information and making sure that cyber security is always at the forefront of our mind. Protecting both your own personal information, your intellectual property and the details of your clients should be something that you are constantly striving to protect. COVID-19 has meant that many offices had to move quickly to mobilise their teams to work from home. While in the office there may have been security and firewalls, having multiple team members working from home may have rapidly changed the businesses risk profile and increased their chance of a security threat.
This event is the first time that we have experienced an international pandemic, but rather than see this as an isolated event, it is a good opportunity to review your current practices and see this as a business continuity exercise. This event has really helped many businesses see their strengths and weaknesses and this is an opportunity to refine these for the future.
Here are some security tips for working from home:
1. Strong passcodes – we all know how hard it is to remember hundreds of passwords, so it is tempting to make them all the same (or variations of the same thing). Make sure passwords are a random combination of numbers and letters and aren’t linked to birthdays or names of children and pets.
2. Multi-factor authentication – having several steps to get into a program increases your safety. This may mean that after you enter a password that you need to type in a code that has been sent to your registered phone or answer a security question. This makes it much harder for a hacker to get through.
3. Update software – Software updates often include increased security based on previous known issues. So making sure that your computer has the latest software updates will protect against all of the known issues.
4. Use a Virtual Private Network or VPN – this will mean that when your team is logging in from home they are logging into your VPN and working within that environment (as if they were in the office). This will give them safe access to software and files that they need and reduce the risk of them bringing in a security risk through their personal devices. This is critical if your team will be working on and accessing sensitive customer data.
5. Portable storage – avoid using USB’s and other portable storage devices as these can be lost or can infect your computer with malware. Instead, transfer files via a cloud platform or directly onto your service via your VPN.
Beware of scammers
Unfortunately, scammers are out and taking advantage of the constantly changing and uncertain environment in which, we are operating. We are constantly searching for new and updated information and this can mean that we can trust the wrong information. Ensure that you use trusted sources for information such as government websites and be cautious of receiving links to government sites such as the ATO via email or text.
These continue to be uncertain times, but there are opportunities in this to be more efficient and to change and update processes and procedures in your business as a result. Remain vigilant against the threat of cybercrime, and check the government advisories at cyber.gov.au regularly, so you know what to expect.
Have you noticed our #FridayExpertTips... here's one that relates to #CoVID-19: Contingency Planning
"Things are not going to be the same on the other side of COVID-19. Businesses that address the issues head on through contingency planning, will be far more likely to create resilience and be able to revive quickly."