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3 Tips for Small Businesses: How To Make Working Remotely Safe & Productive

Working remotely, whether short-term or permanent comes with many perks, such as potentially not needing to suit up and show up, saving money on car maintenance and gas, and being able to access your own refrigerator anytime you want. 

But it also poses many new risks for the security of your organization’s data. For example, if an employee-owned device (laptop, PC, etc.) is connected to the company’s network and contains a virus or malware, your company’s entire network could be at risk for that virus or malware. 

Additionally, it becomes more of a challenge to verify the legitimacy of emails or staff requests. For example, if you’re no longer sitting down the hall from your CEO, who appears to have just requested an unusual wire transfer, what do you do? You can’t just go down the hall and ask. How do you protect the company and yourself?

Or, you may be unfamiliar with policies and procedures as they pertain to a work from home environment, but who do you ask? How do you proceed?

And the list goes on…. 

There are a number of things to do to protect yourself and your company during a time when we’re all required to work from home. We’ve developed a list of IT guidelines and tips to assist you. It’s intended for your guidance and information, and for the specifics of your unique situation, you’ll want to check in with your supervisor or IT provider to be sure and take the correct steps for your organization.

Three Tips For A Safe Work-from-Home Scenario:

  1. Physically Protect Your Data & Equipment at All Times
  • Make sure you can lock your devices (laptop, PC, etc.) and all business relevant information when not in use. Cable locks for laptops should be used when necessary. Laptops and devices should be locked out of sight and/or in the trunk if they must be left in a vehicle unattended. 
  • Avoid using personal devices for work-related business. 
  • Protect the privacy of your  conversations by avoiding the possibility of eavesdropping or shoulder surfing, especially while working in a mobile setting, such as a coffee shop.
  • Protect the data you are accessing by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to log into the company network, and make sure you are protecting data visible on your screen by using a screen protector. This is especially critical for employees who are required to be HIPAA compliant, PCI compliant, and so on. 
  • Restrict the use of devices containing business-relevant information. Don’t let family members, friends, or anyone but yourself use company-owned devices or personal devices used for business purposes.
  • Use strong, unique passwords on all your devices and accounts to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Make Sure Your Wireless System is Secure
  • Change the default Wi-Fi Router passwords to your specific, unhackable passwords
  • Enable WPA-2 or higher encryption 
  • Make sure your local router firmware is up-to-date
  • Limit the use of public Wi-Fi, as it presents a big risk to your data and equipment. 

Always use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi. Never use public Wi-Fi to send sensitive information without a VPN! 

  • Protect Your Data and Equipment with Protective Software 
  • Protect all personal devices with company-provided or personally owned antivirus and antimalware software 
  • Keep your IOT Device firmware updated (smart thermostats, surveillance cameras, etc.) 
  • Keep the software on all devices within your home network up to date (corporate laptop, IOT devices such as cameras and smart thermostats, personal laptops/tablets, etc.)
  • Be sure to change all default passwords to unhackable personal passwords

We don’t know how long we’ll all be working under these circumstances, but by many estimates it may be months before we can safely return to our physical workplaces. It’s great to be able to accommodate many of our workplace needs by working remotely and using the internet. Where CyAs Tech can make a difference for you is in offering specific product and tech guidance to you about what would create the safest and most productive tech environment or solution for you, given your specific situation. 

Reach out to us with any questions and let’s discover how we can help you to “rise above IT” and have optimal productivity during this time!

Call (831) 621-2440 or email info@cyastech.com and let us advise or help you during this time!