Working from home is the new norm nowadays due to Corona virus. But the social distancing brought a major disruption to business across the world. While some companies are already familiar to the concept of work from home – mainly due to their activity field or organizational culture – for others, this situation is totally new.

When it comes about remote work, one of the main challenges every company face is related to privacy and security. So, beside setting goals and leading virtual teams, companies need to ensure privacy rules and checks.  

Security while working from home is crucially important as any mistake could lead to data loss, business damage and reputation issues. Cybersecurity firms say it appears hackers have become more active lately. Researchers at Bitdefender say there are 5 times more malware reports during March. Coronavirus-related campaigns are likely mostly targeted at countries that have started suffering an increase in Coronavirus infections, leveraging the fear on everyone’s mind.

Work from home presents a unique challenge in terms of privacy and security because home environments don't usually have the same protection as in the office. So, what can companies and teams do under these circumstances? Our privacy specialists developed a short list of guidelines that can be quickly implemented:

  • Secure your data and moreover secure your clients data – Make sure all the confidential information is secured and not exposed. Another golden rule is to keep sensitive information on working devices only and never on personal ones. Use two factor authentication when and where possible. This requires entering a onetime code or use a hardware token to finish logging in after entering login credentials. When this is enabled, it makes hackers’ job depend on something else than just your login credentials.
  • Advice your team to avoid any public WIFI. Make sure everyone in the team is using a secure connection to the work environment. One good option is to use a personal hotspot from a dedicated device or the phone.
  • Apply security rules and checks. A quick example: make sure routers are patched and updated. Few people do that at home and most routers do not self update. Plus, with the rise of low-end routers, this seems to let your home devices at risk at all times, not just during your work from home sessions.
  • Ensure anti-virus is in place and fully updated. On this note, all software should be kept updated, starting from the operating system, whether this is Windows, Linux or MacOS or a mobile OS like IOS or Android. Because not being in the office, your company could have a harder time keeping your software updated automatically. Professionals whose job it is to stop hackers say that keeping your software up to date is one of the most important things you can do. And updating your software is like periodically changing your locks, making it harder for hackers to get it.
  • Be aware of who is having rights and access to sensitive data. In mist of work routine changing, it’s easy to make mistakes or omissions. Now is the moment to be very carefully with who is having access rights to important information
  • Make sure your team is using secured remote virtual connections. Don’t confuse the corporate VPN with the personal VPN. The personal VPN is mostly to protect your own privacy, as these services aren't meant to protect you from malicious software and apps. Also, if there is no need to connect to a corporate VPN, users should not have this option at all. If you can't access your employer's network, then hackers can't use your computer to access it either.
  • Follow more careful privacy practices when sharing information. Now more than ever, avoid phishing scams. While you're working from home, you can't walk down the hall and ask your boss for more details about an odd request for funds, but you can still check in on the phone. That way, you won't suddenly wire company money to Nigeria or someplace you didn't intend to.

Also, don’t forget to check with your team to see how they handle privacy challenges and if they face any troubles. If not already in place, initiate now work from home policies. In the end, stay safe and protected from all kind of viruses!