When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, nobody would have predicted that the shift to remote work would be anything but temporary. Now workforces thrive on technology — and need cybersecurity — more than ever. From highly regulated industries like financial services and healthcare to educational institutions, your computer is the new gateway to success in the workplace.
At this juncture, home offices are set. We have moved beyond working from the couch in our pajamas to getting into a “normal” routine making the commute to our workspace to meet our colleagues on the internet. We all have our rhythm and flow and the technological tools to make it happen – but how do we make it happen safely and effectively?
At RH Strategic, our cybersecurity PR expertise enabled us to smoothly transition to a remote model. Now that National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is upon us, we want to share a few simple tips to keep you safe while you and your employees continue to navigate the new normal of working from home.
Three Tips to Improve Your Cybersecurity
- If an email you receive looks strange, it probably is. According to PhishMe Research, 91% of cyber attacks start with a phishing email before the pandemic, so it is likely even higher now, with cybercriminals taking advantage of the crisis. For every email you receive, double-check the sender and ensure there are no strange email addresses in the “To” and “CC” lines. If they are asking for personal information, financial information or anything your company would never ask you to put in writing over email, that’s a red flag. Immediately alert your internal IT team or management of the email to confirm if it is legit. If so, no harm done. If not, the team can now take appropriate action.
- Make sure all your devices are up to date. We have all received a notification about a system update at the most inconvenient time, such as in the middle of an important meeting. It may be inconvenient to take the 20 to 30 minutes to go through the update process on your computer, but it will be even more inconvenient if you inadvertently infect your computer or company’s network. You can use the time spent updating your computer to step away and stretch, grab some water or a snack, or just give your eyes a breather from staring at the computer for hours on end.
- Passwords aren’t foolproof — especially if they are all the same. You could go in and make all your work passwords the name of your dog to make them easy to remember, but that also makes it easy for a hacker to figure it out. Always aim to make your passwords unique utilizing a variety of types of characters, including numbers and punctuation, as well as utilizing multifactor authentication wherever possible. Multifactor authentication is a tool that can be implemented to ask the user to confirm the action outside of just entering a password. For example, a text message with a code may be sent your cell phone number on file for you to enter or an email would be sent from a trusted source with a safe link for you to click.
Sharing These Tips
At the root of success for all these cybersecurity tips and for work from home in general is communication. Whether making sure you are accurately and effectively communicating security tips or sharing office communications best practices to your distributed employees, it’s key to ensure everyone is talking to each other. Implementing communication touchpoints like a weekly standup meeting or messaging channels can help to ensure that all employees are engaged and on the same page.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.