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Cyber Security While Working From Home


brian991219
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With the new normal off working from home many towers I have spoken to have moved their dispatch operations to the home office or have allowed their dispatchers too work from home. This is fairly simple to do today with high speed internet, laptop computers and virtual phone systems replacing traditional wireline services.

 

My question is, what security measures have you taken to protect the integrity of your company data when accessing it remotely? It would be devastating if someone hacked into your dispatch or billing software and held the data hostage, or worse yet, used it for fraudulent purposes. Most business liability insurance policies have some coverage for cyber crime, however many do not cover work from home or other unsecured networks.

 

Let's face it, not everyone is computer savvy and security conscious. Even on my own network at the home office, where I am very conscientious of cyber attacks, I have attempts almost daily. My home network is worse because my wife and in-laws (they live in an apartment in my home) are not very security aware even after I have educated them. Here are a few tips I have for computer security in these unusual times. Perhaps Ron and Chris have even more to add as they are very familiar with web based security?

 

  • If your work at home employees are using their own personal computer or cell phone make sure it has an effective anti-virus and the latest updates/patches for their operating system
  • Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for remote access to your office servers/computer system
  • Insist on password security including regular changes and not reusing old passwords
  • Make sure your work from home employees have firewall protections on their router/wifi network -including a robust password for wifi access
  • Ask remote workers to limit sharing and non-essential internet use while connected to your software and/or servers to help prevent backdoor entry
  • Consider supplying company owned computer equipment and phones for long term work at home situations to allow for better cyber security controls
  • Monitor usage and access logs daily for reports of suspicious activity
  • Pay for effective cyber security measures for work from home positions to discourage your employee from taking the cheap/free source way out or ignoring the requirements
  • Consider data security training such as anti-phishing and email integrity training for any employee that ha internet access to company software (even drivers on cell phone/tablets)

 

Now is a good time to also review your internet and social media policies for all employees. It is tempting to pass the slow time on social media or watching internet video, although this is a easy way for hackers to gain access to secure systems. Be very wary of loan offers, including those that appear to be from the SBA or other government sources, coming via email or social  media. Many are false and just looking for your business info so they can scam you out of money or clean out your bank account. Be very aware and damn sure of what you are replying to!

 

A popular scam going around on Face Book currently is to have you play along to a copy and paste challenge where you google your first car or some variant of that, then post it as a challenge. What this, and similar scams, does is give hackers clues about your potential security question answers such as year you graduated (senior photo challenge in honor of class of 2020), high school attended, first car, current car, etc. Do not participate in these "games" as you are exposing much of your personal identifiable information to the whole world. Further, by using copy and paste for the original challenge you give the author of such challenge, usually a bad guy, access beyond your security setting on Face Book to view your answers and do who knows what with them.

 

As always, be alert and diligent in your safety and security measures.

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