Maintaining Security While Working Remotely

Todd Smith, Director, Information Security Practice

Now that many of us are working remotely from home, we need to be sure that we are still protecting ourselves and our company from security threats and risks.  DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN! Some of us may be working on company laptops or PCs and some of us may be working on home computers.

Regardless of what computer you’re using, following these general guidelines will help to protect your systems:

1. Perform Periodic Software UpdatesAll systems should have the latest application, system and security updates installed. Software vulnerabilities are being discovered regularly with applications that we use every day.  A vulnerability might be a minor issue, such as a function that is not working, or it could be a major flaw that allows an external attacker to completely take over your system and expose sensitive information.

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2. Install Advanced Virus Protection – Advanced virus protection should be installed on all systems as they will block viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware, and other types of malicious programs from infecting your system. Taking advantage of Interphase Systems’ suite of IT security services, which we also include in our Ready-IT managed service, we can help secure your most important data.

3. Enable Local System Firewall – Most operating systems come with a built-in firewall function. Many people like to completely turn off the firewall, which is unfortunately a bad idea. Make sure this firewall is enabled and protecting at least the “public network”. Never completely turn off the firewall.  Only allow inbound connections that are necessary.

4. Backup Your Data – To protect yourself from catastrophic events, backup your system data weekly. Ideally, if your company provides a backup solution, have them implement it on your computer.

5. Protect Passwords – Change all passwords every 60 days. Do not use the same password for all accounts, especially accounts with financial information.  Do not use easy to guess passwords such as your kid’s names, your pet’s names or even the word ‘password’. Use a combination of numbers, upper-case/lower-case letters, and special characters.  Make your passwords at least 10 characters long.

6. Secure Wireless NetworksMake sure your wireless network is protected from access and requires a password. Make sure the firewall built into your wireless router is enabled as an extra layer of protection.

7. Encrypt your Hard Drives – To protect sensitive information, you may want to encrypt your hard drives. Microsoft Windows and Macs have “bilt-in” encryption technologies that secure your files and require you to enter a special password upon boot up.

8. Avoid Phishing Attacks– A phishing attack is typically an email that will try to get you to click on a link, open an attached file, or enter personal information into a form. Don’t open attached files in emails if you are not expecting a file. Look for spelling errors in the To:, From:, Subject:, and body of the message.

9. Carefully Dispose of Sensitive Information – If you have sensitive information at home, whether personal or company related, consider buying a shredder. Shred all bills/documents with personal information, bank statements, and/or financial institution records if you are throwing them away. Follow this same policy for printed client files.

10. Proactive MonitoringTurn on alerts for your financial institutions and have the alerts sent to your phone or email, if possible.

Interphase Systems offers a variety of services that can assist with your cyber security needs. Call us today!

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