Home network safety probably isn’t a top-of-the-list concern for most business leaders. If your business has any remote or hybrid employees, it should be. 2020 saw a huge surge in the number of remote workers across the country. Many ill prepared businesses are now suffering the consequences. Helping employees learn how to secure home networks is a key piece of the security puzzle.
Like many small businesses, individuals in their home carry the mindset, “I’m too small for a cyberattack.” This type of thinking contributes to the steadily rising numbers of individuals and businesses impacted by cybercrime every year. It is up to the company to ensure cybersecurity policies are in place that mitigate risks. It may also be necessary to provide your workforce with information and tips on how comply with these policies. Help your employees learn how to secure home networks so their homes aren’t a threat to your business.
How to Secure Home Networks
Install and Use a Reputable Antivirus Software
Every computer on the network should be utilizing an AV software. There’s an old wive’s tale, maybe an old engineer’s tale, about how Macs don’t get viruses. It’s both prolific and potentially harmful when believed. Macs require AV software built for the Mac OS. Be sure you’re providing the right software to your workforce.
VPNs or Virtual Desktops Help Create a Sandbox Environment
Working from a VPN or virtual desktop creates what is known as a sandbox environment. These are not impenetrable but they are a great security layer. Provide remote employees with one of these options and limit tool access outside of the office network to VPN or virtual desktop only.
Update Software Regularly
Those pesky Windows and Mac updates bring vital patches to operating systems which help secure vulnerabilities before threat actors penetrate the weak spots. We recommend pushing updates to employees devices during non-business hours.
Don’t Use Devices Past End of Service Life
Using devices that are no longer supported and patched by their manufacturer poses a huge risk to both business and personal data. Understanding threats facing end of life devices is vital to every company’s cybersecurity efforts.
Set Up a Firewall
Many devices come with firewalls, often they’re on out of the box. We recommend ensuring that both the network and the devices on the network have firewalls enabled. Creating multiple layers of security makes networks much harder to penetrate.
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
We talk about password hygiene a lot at Hill Country Tech Guys because it’s so important. Strong, unique, frequently updated passwords are an essential defense component for businesses and individuals alike. Passwords should not include personal details because they’re easily guessed. Ensure that your employees update passwords every 90 days and require multi-factor authentication.
Secure Modems, Routers, and Their Networks
Securing networks is a basic step that every internet service provider (ISP) both recommends and, in most cases, assists in completing. Wifi passwords should be strong and unique just like all other passwords.
Securing modems and routers is a slightly different story. Modems and routers contain a gateway which allows access to the device by a computer. This is where users will change settings, set up network security, and maintain the interface. Ensuring the gateways are password protected creates another small layer to secure home networks. These devices often come with very generic usernames and passwords which makes them easy to gain access to. Strong, unique passwords are key!
Reducing the amount of spam coming to an inbox reduces the risk that an employee will click on or open something malicious. Ensure that your employees mark spam in their email clients. I.T. should set up a way to report suspicious or malicious looking messages and encourage employees to use this tool.
Train Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices and Policies
Training your employees allows them to take an active part in defending against cyberthreats both for your business and in their personal lives. Set up regular and dynamic cybersecurity training to keep knowledge fresh.
Hire a Reputable Cybersecurity Team
Having the right people around makes all the difference. Hire a team of I.T. professionals to help you create impactful policies, train employees, and secure networks and devices. There is no governmental oversight currently on I.T. professionals or companies. Do your research, ask questions, get references. Hiring the wrong company or individual could cost you big.
Convenience Should Never Take Priority Over Security
An additional item to consider for both remote and in-house employees is permissions. According to an article by The Daily Swig, cloud computing has created increased vulnerabilities for many companies.
“…improper authorization issues [rose] by 45% – largely because organizations are instituting ever-more granular permissions as they migrate to the cloud.”
Improper authorization refers to individual or organization-wide access to administrative controls. 99% of your company does not need administrative access to their computers or your network, including C level. While it may seem more practical to allow “trusted” individuals to have certain permissions, unless their job requires it, they don’t need them.
The importance of working from secure environments cannot be overstated. Cybercrime is a growing threat that every company, and individual, should take seriously. Ensure you take the proper steps to educate your remote workers on how to secure a home network. Express the importance of security to staff on a regular basis, regardless of where they work. No company is completely safe from cybercrime but that doesn’t mean your company should be an easy target. Call Hill Country Tech Guys today to see how you can secure your growth.