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10 key steps to working from home

Like many companies across the globe, Team Biarca has felt the effects of Covid-19. This pandemic has turned our normal day to day upside down. With the closure of restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms and professional sports venues how we gather and interact as a people is transforming.

One particular transformation that many office workers face is a new workplace, the home office. The transition from an office environment to a home workspace can be challenging without an action plan. With many business applications available in the cloud ( eg. Office 365, Google G Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, etc) the primary concerns are internet connectivity, wifi signal strength, and most important – internet security. Team Biarca has outlined 10 Key Steps to help the new home-office bound workforce prepare their own secure and safe home network.

Corona Virus

Typical Home Network

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Training and Best practices

  • Train your employees and create awareness to follow security best practices and guidelines.
  • Avoid the use of public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Use of two-factor authentication.

Securing Router/Access Point Wifi Network

  • Routers often have default credentials that people don’t know about. Disable the “remote configuration” option in your router and change both your Wi-Fi password and your router password.
  • Enable Wi-Fi Protected Access(WPA2) for better security. If possible/feasible, preferably turn off SSID broadcast.
  • Additional security measures that can be taken on the router would be to set or limit the number of connections to known devices only. Reject all new connection requests.
  • Customize the default router settings for enhanced security

Password Security

  • Choose strong complex passwords or a passphrase for better security.
  • A strong password is of sufficient length (recommended 8-14+ characters), doesn’t include words found in a dictionary or any part of a user’s name, and combines at least three of the four that includes lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Always use unique passwords for sensitive accounts.

VPN Access

  • Use a virtual private network (VPN) to secure your connection. A VPN is a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. It hides your IP address and your location. It also encrypts your data after it leaves your device, and travels to whatever website you’re visiting.
  • When choosing a VPN Client, choose one that supports a full VPN connection as opposed to a split VPN gateway. Most corporate VPN clients allow only Full VPN connections. For OpenVPN make sure the configuration is locked to full VPN only.
  • Require that employees use a non-stored password to connect during each session, especially for VPN access.

Antivirus Software

  • This is the most basic, but by no means the only step you should take to secure your company’s files. Your employer may provide recommended software for a company-issued device, but if you use your personal laptop for work, it’s important to keep your system protected.
  • Antivirus needs updates, too! Set it to auto-update for the latest definitions.

Safe Browsing

  • Starting with a security focussed browser, the current recommendation is to use Firefox over Chrome. Making sure it’s the latest version with all updated security patches & fixes.
  • Don’t add extensions to your browsers without necessary.
  • Clearing the browser cache is a good way to flush potentially damaging information.
  • Don’t save credentials in the browser. Turn off autofill for any confidential or personal details.

Updated Software/ Applications

  • Regular updates make you less vulnerable to attack.
  • Update applications for the latest features and security fixes.
  • Only download software updates from the manufacturer website and enable auto-updates when possible.

Backup your files

  • Backups save your information if your device breaks or is taken over by an attacker.
  • Regularly back up your files to a removable device that can be locked away safely, such as a flash drive or an external hard drive.

Encrypt devices

  • Encryption renders files unreadable without the correct key. Some devices offer the option to encrypt individual files or the entire device.

Screen Lock enabled

  • Don’t allow family members to use your work devices. Keep your physical workspace secure.
  • Lock your screen on your laptop or desktop when you’re done or taking a break.
  • Set a screen lock time as an additional measure.