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Working Remotely? 5 Ways to keep your data safe as a remote worker

The way we work in South Africa and the world has changed. More of us have been working remotely in recent times. But how do you keep your data safe? Have you thought about the security implications of accessing your work resources over a public network? #internetsecurity #cybersecurity #datasecurity #workingremotely #risk

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The way we work in South Africa and the world has changed. More of us have been working remotely in recent times. But how do you keep your data safe? Have you thought about the security implications of accessing your work resources over a public network? #internetsecurity #cybersecurity #datasecurity #workingremotely #risk 

This is a new era where remote and hybrid working models are the norm for many employees and self-employed people. With this new dynamic, knowing how to keep data safe and limit exposure to cybersecurity risks is critical. This short insight will give you a simple set of steps you can take to protect your company and customer data.

Keep your data safe when working remotely: Limiting Exposure and Vulnerability

Using freely available internet connectivity in public places such as hotels, cafes and coffee shops is commonplace in this era of digital work. Public WiFi is convenient and affords remote workers the flexibility of working online from any location. The question is, are you aware of the potential data security risks of working via public WiFi networks?

This is a new era where remote and hybrid working models are the norm for many employees and self-employed people. With this new dynamic, knowing how to keep data safe and limit exposure to cybersecurity risks is critical. This short insight will give you a simple set of steps you can take to protect your company and customer data.

Keep your data safe when working remotely: How to work securely on public network

Working remotely, also known as telecommuting, is a flexible approach to work that’s increased in popularity hugely over the past couple of years, especially following the widespread COVID-19 lockdowns. A recent study conducted by social media tooler Buffer discovered that 97% of workers prefer to continue working remotely for part of their work week – and that for the rest of their time in employment!

This new dynamic is here to stay – we can expect companies to continue deploying hybrid work models, allowing employees the flexibility to work from home or wherever they are. But what steps can you as a remote worker take to ensure that you’re using the very best possible security practices? And what are some of the more common risks to keep an eye out for?

We’ve highlighted the important elements of cyber safety to be aware of:

  • Open public networks and their security flaws – an open public network is NOT a secure environment for remote workers. When you use your home network, only you and your family have access to the WiFi. If you log into a public network, literally anyone can join the network – and this can lead to all kinds of security issues and concerns.
  • Malware and other suspicious activity – hackers and those with malicious intent will see a public network as a potential backdoor to your data. Malware (malicious software), Trojan horses and other hostile programmes can be easily uploaded to your device, allowing hackers to access your programmes, hard drive and data.
  • Using a personal VPN to access the internet – if you’re using a public network to work, the chances are that you have access to confidential information and customer data via your device. To protect your device, it’s important to use a VPN (virtual private network). This creates a secure network for you, so you can safely share and access your important data, with fewer worries about hackers and malware etc.
  • Having proper security software on your device – it’s a good idea to also have cyber security software installed on your computer or smart device. Security software vendors like BitDefender, Norton, McAfee and Kaspersky all offer complete internet security suites that include firewalls, regular scans of your drive and other tools to keep your data safe and sound.
  • Keeping up to date with the latest threats – no security system is 100% safe. But you can do a lot to improve your internet security by being aware of the current threats. Keep an eye out for news stories about cyber breaches and read the updates and social posts from your internet security provider. The more you’re in the loop about present dangers, the more you can do to update your security arrangements and keep your devices safe.

Keep your data safe when working remotely: Know the negative impacts of a cybersecurity breach

The negative impacts of a data breach on an organisation cannot be overstated. With the strong possibility of penalties from privacy regulators, the direct damage to the image and reputation of a company is hard to calculate. When a company’s data is breached and customer data falls into the hands of bad actors, there is sure to be a ripple effect, starting from legal jeopardy all the way to negative bottom line impact.

Reputational damage will surely lead to a loss of customers and with that, a decline in sales. When your clients and customers lose trust in your company, they will turn their eyes toward competitors who do not have a history of cyber breaches. In this age of instant customer experience feedback, clients and customers have the power to make or break a business by taking their grievances online into the public domain. Negative feedback in the form of reviews and complaints on various online platforms will inevitably lead to lost sales opportunities.

As your public relations and marketing teams work hard at brand restoration from a holistic view, your sales force on the front lines will be faced with the challenge of addressing customers’ concerns about your business’ cybersecurity — outside of your prepared corporate response guidelines, your sales team will struggle to close new business opportunities to a very real degree. Businesses need to be aware of cyber threat intelligence and its place in corporate risk management.

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Improve your cyber security posture and keep your data safe when working remotely

We’ve all enjoyed the additional flexibility and time-saving benefits of working from somewhere other than the office. As working remotely becomes a normal way of working, it’s more and more vital to improve your cyber security posture and be more aware of the potential threats to your data.

Keeping in mind the serious business implications of a potential data breach, remote workers function on the frontline, and often breaches will occur as a result of poor security posture of the entire organization, from the very top to the lower functions.

As a firm actively helping our clients define and manage risk, Kettle Consulting is ready to help South African organizations take concrete steps to limit the potential for a cyber security breach. You may call us on 011 025 1446 or email us on info@kettleconsulting.co.za

Insight by:

Justin Kettle

Managing Director

Kettle Consulting (PTY) Ltd

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