Keeping Your SMB Safe from Cyber Attacks During COVID-19

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Due to the work adjustments that had to be made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many large enterprises such as Google and Microsoft have turned their temporary remote working accommodations into permanent adoption of work-from-home arrangements for their employees. 

It is not only large-sized companies that are making permanent adjustments, SMBs are joining the crowd of businesses that are seeing the benefit of less expenses that come as a result of remote working. With rent no longer acting as a major expense for those business sectors that can operate almost completely from home, company executives are trying to come up with ways in which they can maximise this new reality in order to maintain it much longer after the pandemic is over.

However, smaller businesses and organisations face different challenges than larger companies when it comes to work-from-home conditions. The biggest challenge of them all is a lack of a dedicated workspace where one can focus and complete their work. 

Some of the other challenges that remote workers face are:

  • Lack of a computer in good state to complete tasks and work assignments.
  • Slow internet connection or issues with poor internet signal. 
  • Having to deal with many chat and conference applications.
  • A strict schedule and routine.
  • Self-motivation and discipline to complete work away from co-workers. 

While these are the issues that keep employees from being fully-productive team members, there are also other factors that can put companies themselves at risk.

Company Device Exposure 

Once a company gives out devices for work purposes, the integrity of the devices is immediately exposed to the risk of physical and digital theft. Although the purpose of giving out mobile devices is for employees to be able to use them strictly at home, most workers take the chance to take their devices to work from public places such as libraries, coffee shops or restaurants where the company’s data could be easily accessible to the wrong hands. 

But workers are not only at risk of exposure while using public networks, they run the same risk while using their very own home networks. In order to mitigate cyber attacks through a remote worker’s home network it’s important for the company to show employees how to run an audit on their home network vulnerabilities before they connect their work devices to the network. 

Best Techniques to Protect Company Devices

In case your equipment happens to fall into the wrong hands, your employees need to be educated about safeguarding the company’s data. To maintain your data secure make sure your employees count on full-disk encryption. 

Another strategy you can ask your employees to adopt is to log out of all accounts you are not using, whether you’re using your device at home or in public. This is not only in case of theft or cyber attacks, but also for professionalism in case you have some curious hands running through your devices, which is a side risk everyone runs from working at home with children. 

Enforcing a strong password policy is also a must when it comes to keeping your digital presence intact. This includes setting up a two-factor login process, setting up activity timeouts, etc. If you want to learn more about how to keep your password safe, you can check out this article, where we talk about 6 specific tips to help you manage your passwords better. 

Last, but certainly not least, remember to tell your employees to not leave their devices unattended regardless if they are just at home. Leaving sensitive company information on public display could cause an array of security issues varying from having prying eyes gain access to private company information, giving room for someone to use the device for something that could expose it to a virus or even physical damage of the device. 

Giving Access to Company Internal Network and Systems

It’s important to be wary of the people who can access a company’s internal network. The circle of people who are allowed to gain that type of access should be extremely closed and only be formed of trustworthy individuals who understand the sensibility of the data they are gaining access to. 

Once an individual has been given green light to access the internal network, it’s important for executives to enforce only using company-owned devices to gain access to the network, as the company’s IT team will normally have already prepared the device to maintain a secure status. 

Not only should companies provide sets of rules and standards for employees, but they should also enforce them at an executive level so that the downfalls from remote working may be much smaller in comparison to the benefits that a team member receives in exchange, even if just for the duration of the pandemic. 

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