Working remotely? Don't forget your cyber security

Published on: 19 March 2020

With the new Covid-19 measurements, people are advised to stay indoors, which means more working remotely. Although technology can make this a lot easier, companies need to ensure they’re well protected against cyber-attacks. We asked our Principal Consultant Cyber Security Timmy Magnée about some important basic tips.

1. Update your software

Be sure that your operating system and the software installed on your laptop are up to date. Generally hackers try to access a computer system via vulnerabilities present on your system due to the fact that you don’t have the latest version of the software. To protect the computer system on your laptop, you need to install an anti-malware software and keep this up to date as well.

2. Think about your internet access

Don’t use a guest internet access. Only use your personal internet access at home. This means your own internet access, not the Wifi access from your neighbour.

3. Make your passwords strong

To prevent a cyber breach at home, choose a strong password to access your operating system and other applications. Some websites already give some advice on password strength. Make sure your passwords are different for each platform or website you use. Never let anyone know your password and be careful to write it down.

What is a strong password? A combination of letters, numbers and symbols that cannot easily be guessed. Mix them into a sentence with numbers and special characters. Avoid these: 12345678, password, qwery, azerty. Afraid to forget your passwords? Use a password manager to remember all your different passwords.

4. Watch for suspicious links

Be careful which links and programs you access. Some computer security software will automatically prompt you when a website is unsafe, but it's important to be able to spot the signs of a potential virus or other cyber risk for yourself. If you're emailed a link that you think looks dodgy, don't open it and certainly do not download any files that you're not sure about. Check website URLs carefully before clicking on them; if they seem to be misspelt or you're not convinced they are trustworthy, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Back up your files

Backing up your files is more easy than ever these days. There are different options. You could use the cloud to store your files. They will remain accessible permanently, even if your computer is unfortunately affected by a problem. It's free to sign up to cloud platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox. Alternatively, you can use a USB storage device to back up your files offline, but of course you need to make sure you're keeping this safe too. Therefore, in the current day and age, the cloud is probably the best and most secure option.

6. Know what to do if something goes wrong

Even when taking all these steps to improve your computer security, you need to be prepared for a possible breach. You need to come up with a plan. Whether this is changing all of your passwords, contacting your clients to let them know not to open any links they may have received, or reporting the incident to the relevant regulatory agencies. Taking swift action can minimise the damage in the longer term, and ensure your business is not disrupted any more than it needs to be.

7. Protect your data

Protect the access to the databases of the company by using VPN technology. Traffic must be encrypted to access the sensitive data of the company. To ensure all data is encrypted, make a list with all sensitive applications. 

Thanks to the nature of our job, our consultants can all work remotely. You can still reach us via phone and mail. Find our contact details here.