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Secure Your Desktop While Doing Work From Home

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In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the enterprises have adopted the work from home arrangement. Consequently, the employees have to remotely sign in to the organization’s network and cloud-based applications. However, with this rapid shift, security concerning information has become a significant challenge.

Currently, almost 70% of the employees are working from home, globally. Although they ensure a flexible workplace environment, instances of cyberthreat and security issues have become unavoidable.

Often employees will face various discomforts while working from home. Given these circumstances, it is mandatory to adopt substantial methods to avoid security risks. The SSL certificates are incredibly beneficial in this regard.

Data states that approximately 88% of the companies worldwide have enforced the work from home routine for their employees. Surveys mention that 99% of the employees like this new system of work. Remote working has become stable for businesses now, where hiring is also done exclusively following the same process.

Remote working comes with several guidelines. While in the office, you work in their privately owned desktops and laptops without having to worry about security problems.

Since the employees do not get the same safeguards as in the office, they have to undertake preventive measures for security controls. Security mistakes are also inevitable, especially outside the office perimeter. That is why additional policies are introduced within the company itself.

In this article, we have discussed the policy guidelines that need to be undertaken to maintain a safe working environment during the work at home. These techniques related to strengthening desktop protection also help you avoid security unreliability problems.

Avoiding public Wi-Fi

Using public Wi-Fi systems always brings along with its potential security risk hazards. There are two problems associated with this – many other people also have access to the Wi-Fi network system.

When you do not have a firewall between them and you, the risk of a security hazard increases, and anyone can access your data. Secondly, they can start monitoring your traffic via your desktop. Hence, your system must stay protected.

Always use your hotspot. The website traffic stays unencrypted between the network and the destination. It is also cost-effective, given the downside that comes from a potential system hack.

Use a VPN for remote access applications. The connection stays flexible while linking various services like a SQL server, web pages, email, etc. Choose a strong VPN technology since it is utilized mainly for privacy purposes.

You can also set up remote connections that are encrypted into the system or individual server. HTTPS, RDP, SSH have encryption within their services without needing any additional VPN encryption for in-transit data security.

Free VPNs are never as safe as they compromise with essential security.

How to Deploy a VPN? 

To secure the data which moves in between external employees and core systems is by deploying a VPN.

  • Hiding the IP address of the user
  • Encrypting the transfer of data during transit

Masking the location of the user

Most organizations already have their VPN service, but they should check whether they have sufficient seats to offer them this protection across a wide employee base. Also, keep in mind to never trust any unreliable internet provider.

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Prevention of unauthorized systems 

This risk of an authorized interference or access is always high when a significant population works from home. The same is the case for small and medium businesses as well. Hence, they need to keep their security policies updated.

Data breaches also happen because of old passwords and login. Hence, it is advisable to change the password from time to time. Also, if you are taking a break from work, never forget to lock your computer. You can also strengthen them using password protection tools.

Two-Factor Authentication 

 

Having a two-factor authentication is crucial as it helps avoid issues of data redundancy and data theft. The hacker cannot steal the OTP from your phone or have access to your fingerprints.

 

Similarly, having an extra layer of security authentication on the desktop or laptop can bring about huge differences while guaranteeing the utmost data protection. It also serves to satisfy an alerting mode while any unauthorized person tries to access the account.

Secure the gateway to the router

The router is the final gateway to all the devices you have at home. Attackers mostly compromise home-based routers with various default credentials that the users forget to change or neglect.

Experts suggest that it is always a great practice to change passwords from time to time. See that the passwords are not prone to dictionary attacks. Some routers have automatic updates, but the diligence needs to be maintained.

You can restrict user accounts to two people, a superuser account and a personal account. Some routers allow automatic linking of new devices for convenience, but you should disable this feature and remove this configuration from the router.

Running a password audit

Sometimes, the company needs to audit the passcodes of the employees. This does not mean that you have to request personal details from the employees.

However, the passcodes will have to be changed, of those belonging to the enterprise service, following strict security guidelines and policies.

This can be done by two-factor authentication, alphanumeric codes, etc. It is keeping in mind the most stringent restrictions concerning security issues across every device. Passwords that are business-critical should be stored securely to avoid personal data theft.

Use secure cloud services 

Cloud Security for data is vital since it makes you check whether all your information is stored safely in the cloud application. Although many believe that the data is safe there, you should give priority to it.

Cloud storage will check whether all the data and information are stored in a remote location. With that, we can avoid data thefts on a large scale.

Both the employees and the officials can have access to this cloud network, and we can restrict the interference of third-party members.

Secure the communication

Interacting via email medium is intensely insecure. While in the office, employees connect through the same internal network over which the IT department can impose restrictions.

Sometimes, emails have warning signs on the bottom portion mentioning VPN logins to get the mail. This is meant to ensure protection for the users. During work from home, employees need to log into their corporate VPN to receive their work mail. But for most, this is not necessary since the data becomes exposed to the home systems or desktops.

For personal email ids, you can select the option of adding an “email encryption service.” In situations where you have to communicate sensitive company information via corporate emails, you can request your management to implement stringent security measures like encryptions.

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For work from home environments, the comfortable means of communication is through texting, which is much safer than internet emails. Basic messaging systems have no such security protections enabled.

One can also go for secure organization messaging applications. For video conferences, you should shift to face-to-face interviews. It is your responsibility to guarantee protection against data theft and hacks.

Surf only on HTTPS website

When you work from home, you should be careful while browsing the website as HTTPS sites seem secured against HTTP. After Google’s initiative, all browsers slowly adopted HTTPS and flag insecure sites with a warning. Such insecure site damage the reputation of a site holder as well keeps users away from browsing such a site. As a site holder, you need to have an SSL certificate on the site. If you are working from home, you should check a padlock as well as HTTPS in the browser’s address bar. HTTPS can be achieved with an SSL certificate. SSL certificates are available at cheap prices in the market.

Backup mandatory

While working remotely, you have to use online backing up services. Companies should encourage their employees to utilize external drives to take backups from their personal computers.

You can use MDM- mobile device management or EMM systems known as mobility management service so that automated backups are initiated via the console of the enterprise management.

Through the EMM and MDM management systems, you can manage and provision your company’s data through the use of several devices. This also helps while separating corporate data from personal ones.

Some other recommendations to ensure desktop security while pursuing work from work include –

  • No use of USB sticks
  • Beware of scam or phishing mails.
  • Go for single sign-on corporate service.
  • Secure the passwords through the implementation of TOTP or any other safe application
  • Update all software
  • Switch-off network visibility to other devices
  • Read and know about cybersecurity practices.
  • Develop employee contingency plans
  • Never copy sensitive files to other devices.
  • Disinfect data through antivirus software

Precautionary measures 

Enterprises are simultaneously checking integrity and confidentiality by undertaking risk assessment and situational assessment. They are now deploying end-to-end security so that employee networks are protected.

Leading IT companies are consistently monitoring cyber adversaries. Experts are busy consulting safety priority conditions according to new patterns of hacks. Risks are being quantified, and then actions are taken.

Conclusion

Work from home is a big adjustment for the people. Away from the office environment, adapting to remote work demands us to be careful with data confidentiality and security.

While security is imperative in this digital age, an unprotected arrangement leading to data breaches or hacks can cost the company time, money, and reputation.

Some desktops and laptops having fewer security measures installed will be prone to cybercriminal attacks as they get easy access to the device. Hence, ensuring 100% protection is essential at the moment.

Keep in mind the following things to safeguard your workspace –

  1. The security of data.
  2. The security of the network.
  3. The security for communication.

These are the primary considerations for direct implementation. So, until the time Covid-19 asks all the people to stay at home and proceed to work. Hence, checking data security for the organization becomes crucial these days.

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