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Tips to help stay secure when you work from home

Social distancing can create a set of new challenges for your workplace. Going from closed workplace networks to the wide-open spaces of telecommuting can leave businesses vulnerable to new risks. We at Connell are ready to help navigate this ever-evolving area of risk with Data Breach/Cyber Security policies and programs.

 

1. Is your cyber liability policy up to date?

Not all cyber/data breach policies are created equal. Cyber liability policies are fairly new to the insurance marketplace. Therefore, they are constantly evolving with the ever-changing cyber threats. With that being said, there are no standardized insurance coverage forms for this line of business. What one carrier may cover another will simply exclude. It is important to know exactly where your carrier stands on phishing, ransomware, funds transfer coverages, social engineering, 3rd party liabilities, and hardware replacements. It is also important to what triggers a cyber claim with your carrier and how they handle data recovery, restorations and post breach services. It is crucial that you find an insurance professional that can help you navigate this area.

 

2. Keep close contact with your employees

It’s smart to stay on top of company communications. Your inbox might contain emails about policy changes ranging from work hours to travel. You might consolidate coronavirus-related information on the company intranet. Streamlining the information to one location can help with clarity, and keep email free for normal business related items.

Why it’s important: Companies around the world continue to react to developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to know new policies to help keep you, your coworkers, and the business safe.

 

3. Use what’s in your company’s tech toolbox

Companies often have tech tools that can help keep you cybersafe when you work from home. That might mean you do your work on company-supplied laptops and mobile devices. They likely include firewall and antivirus protection, along with security features like VPN and 2-factor authentication.

Why it’s important: Your employer’s cybersecurity tools are designed to protect data and devices. Cybercriminals have an interest in both, whether you’re working in the office or at home.

 

4. Control the impulse to improvise

Employees often work in teams, and that can mean using collaboration tools like instant-messaging platforms and video-meeting rooms. If a tool isn’t working right, you might be tempted to download a substitute. Don’t do it. You could inadvertently introduce a software program with a security flaw — and that means someone unauthorized may be able to access company data, or any personal data you have on that device.

Why it’s important: Your employer likely has vetted its collaboration tools and makes sure they’re secure. You can’t be sure a quick-fix tool you’ve downloaded has the same protections.

 

5. Stay current on software updates and patches

You might get reminders that software updates are available for your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Don’t wait. Update. Also, keep in mind you can configure your devices to update automatically.

Why it’s important: Updates help patch security flaws and help protect your data. Updates can also add new features to your devices and remove outdated ones.

 

6. Keep your VPN turned on

A VPN — short for virtual private network — can help protect the data you send and receive while you work from home. A VPN can provide a secure link between employees and businesses by encrypting data and scanning devices for malicious software such as viruses and ransomware.

Why it’s important: VPNs help protect against cybercriminals and snoops from seeing what you do online during a workday. That might include sending or receiving financial information, strategy documents, and customer data. A VPN helps keep that information secure from cybercriminals and competitors.

 

7. Beware of coronavirus-themed phishing emails

Cybercriminals are exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to send fake emails with dangerous links to employees. Here’s how it works. The email messages may appear to come from company officials and might ask you to open a link to a new company policy related to the coronavirus. If you click on the attachment or imbedded link, you’re likely to download malware onto your device. Don’t click. Instead, immediately report the phishing attempt to your employer.

Why it’s important: A phishing email with malicious software could allow cybercriminals to take control of your computer, log your keystrokes, or access sensitive business information and financial data.

 

8. Develop a new routine

Working from home requires changing your routine. Making sure you are cyber secure is part of that. However, it also involves structuring your day to work efficiently and maintain contact with your team. If you are used to starting the day by greeting your coworkers, you might consider continuing to do that by email or on a chat platform.

Why it is important: It is easy to lose focus or feel isolated when working from home. Take steps to avoid letting that happen. Reach out and stay engaged with your colleagues. The coronavirus may have changed your work life, but you still have a job to do.

 

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