Tag: headset

Working Securely At Home

Working securely at home curing coronavirus outbreak, shelter-in-place, security risks
Can you identify the security threat?

Have you been working at home as a result of the coronavirus and orders to shelter in place?  Do you have employees working at home? Are you confident you and employees are working securely at home and your company’s secrets are as safe as they need to be?

It’s probably time to take another look at security in your home office.

Of course, you may not have time or resources to set up the perfect work-at-home situation. But the survival of your company may depend on its at-home workforce. You can’t afford a simple mistake that could bring the whole enterprise tumbling down.

The following checklist is meant to be a quick way for you to confirm the strengths of your at-home set-up, and identify any weaknesses that need to be corrected. If you’re the boss, you can apply some of these ideas to your at-home troops. If you’re an employee, you can certainly ask about them

So, here we go.

Good habits for managing remote teams

Do you have a schedule for regularly communicating with your team?

Everyone in your company is experiencing uncertainly and even fear. Not being in regular touch will make that worse.  A daily virtual meeting can keep people in the loop and on track. (Most of the people we talk to are using Zoom. They like seeing the faces of friends and having the advantage of “reading” their emotions.)

Make some of your communications “staff meetings” that deal with business. Other meetings can be “virtual coffee breaks” for informal sharing.

Whether via virtual meetings or email blasts, are you getting frequent factual updates?

These could be about the status of the business, what’s happening politically that will impact your industry, or even health updates for your co-workers, city or state. Of course, your updates need to be as accurate as you can make them. When you find useful, reliable resources, encourage ALL employees to rely on those quality resources so everyone gets the same info. For example, if people are worried that they may be coming down with the virus, they can head for help to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html

Are employees working securely at home? Are you monitoring security while employees are working from home?

The security you have worked so hard to set up at the office may be impossible to recreate by employees at home. But the risks of user error, data breaches, scams, or cyber-crime remain just as high – or even higher. Working securely at home requires a new security mindset that applies to a whole range of issues.   Which of these suggestions can you and your co-workers implement?

Are computers safe at home?

Are take-home company computers limited to company business only? (That little kid in the image above is just waiting for a chance to press a few keys the minute you step away to go to the bathroom!)

Have you created strong NEW passwords to protect your at-home devices that are used for work? Consider using multi-factor authentication. For sure, don’t let the computer itself store your new business passwords.

Do all at-home devices have anti-virus and malware protection? Here’s an earlier Advisory with more about cyber-crime and passwords.

Are all operating systems and programs updated?

Does your home network use WPA2 or WPA3 for security? Have default usernames or logins been changed?

Are you communicating effectively and professionally with colleagues and clients?

Can you make calls and check voicemails from home?

If you can’t forward calls, have you left an “out of office” message?

Are you avoiding social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Whatsapp) for business communications?

Are you protecting confidential paperwork? If you don’t have a locking office, make sure confidential work-related papers aren’t spread around the room for visitors to see.

When you participate on a video call with a client or supplier, do you make sure all confidential papers are covered or in a drawer so they are not visible? What about your white board (that happens to have your recent income figures clearly identified)? Do you remind your team before meetings?

On every kind of call, do you protect yourself from listening ears – including Alexa, Siri and Google Home?  

Actually, if you expect to be on the phone a lot, with calls and/or meetings, you may want to consider business headphones with a microphone. A good set dampens the noise of the kids for both you and for the people you are listening to. You can get sets that fit over or in the ears, are wired or operate wirelessly.

Below is a good example of a mid-range headset model . It’s from Jabra, a company with a long history in headsets and electronics. If you think a headset would be useful, click the link to go to Amazon where you will find other models ranging from as low as $30 to well over $300. (As you probably know, we are Amazon Associates.)

Keeping the data secure at home

Do you have the appropriate levels of security set for the company files you and employees need to access, whether on the company server or in the cloud?

Can you support the tech needs of your employees working at home? Do they know who and at what point to call for help? Is that person set up to use remote diagnostic and repair software?

Are you reminding your employees about pfishing and other scams? They may be more vulnerable during this emergency, where everyone is so eager to hear and respond to “good news.” By the way, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, CISA, wants to hear about security incidents. Report pfishing and malware at https://www.us-cert.gov/report

Is everybody backing up their work? (How often? Where? How do you know?)

If you are used to running a business from home, most of these reminders will be just that — reminders. For employees who haven’t done serious work from home, we hope this will become a to-do list, as appropriate.

Be safe. Stay healthy.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P. S. Working at home may actually become part of the way you run your business in the future. Keep that in mind as you go through this checklist! Let us know what you would add to it for the perfect office in home.