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Still working remotely? Here’s how to stay safe

COVID-19-related phishing attempts and fraudulent emails have surged so far in 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which received more than 125,000 complaints between January and June.

With so many workers telecommuting, cybercriminals continue to target unprotected devices and unencrypted data. And security experts say that fraudulent activity around information already stolen in previous hacks has increased.

Bad actors can now upload compromised data to the dark web and demand a ransom before threatening to post embarrassing information publicly. The accounts of some of Twitter’s most prominent users were hacked in July, and although many suspected it was politically motivated, it turns out that bad actors started pushing a Bitcoin scam that spiraled out of control.

That’s why hyper-vigilance is so important, especially on the part of businesses and employees adjusting to remote work. Remote access portals and virtual private networks have become more common for those working from the home office—just two of several steps necessary to prevent data breaches and protect from fraudulent activity.

1. Make sure all employees have adequate protections on their remote work equipment.

Whether your staff members are using company-issued laptops, personal desktops, or even mobile devices to complete their work, extra layers of protection are required to keep those systems safe. From firewalls to anti-spam software to the above-mentioned VPNs, adding these enhancements can protect individual machines and the business-wide networks they access.

2. If you haven’t already, deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all remote employees.

MFA is defined as a two-step login process that requires users to enter something they know (a password) and something they have (a unique code delivered via push notification, text message, or email,) to add an extra level of security to any login credential. MFA use has surged in 2020 as the human element becomes more and more critical to keep email accounts, intranet logins, and other important information safe.

3. Update your cybersecurity strategy to account for remote work.

If you haven’t performed an updated assessment of your overall IT infrastructure in the last few months, now’s the time. At CMIT Solutions, we help our clients identify four areas that deserve heightened attention: administrative safeguards, physical protections, technical protocols, and organizational requirements. This can help identify vulnerabilities not spotted in the first rush to remote work, along with focusing on short- and long-term cybersecurity components that may need to shift to meet your company’s particular needs, now and in the future.

4. Provide your employees with guidance and education.

Thanks to increased cybersecurity awareness and ongoing training, many more workers are serving as the first line of defense for the companies. Employees trained to spot spam emails and avoid falling for social engineering scams can often stop data breaches in their tracks. Commit to providing such guidance to your staff now and you could empower someone to prevent a major issue in the future.

5. Test your data backups regularly.

If you’re already working with a reliable IT provider, this critical task should be performed on a routine basis. But don’t hesitate to inquire about it if you aren’t sure. Your company’s information is too important to be neglected, disregarded, or worse—to be rendered inaccessible in the event of a manmade or natural disaster. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic only highlights the need for extra data backup attention.

At CMIT Solutions, we conduct weekly reviews of data backup and disaster recovery plans, ensuring that important business information is at the ready, no matter what happens. We protect our clients’ systems with extra layers of protection, responding to evolving cybersecurity needs. And we go above and beyond to give our clients the support they deserve, whether they’re working in the office or at home.

Want to know more about stopping data breaches, identifying email scams, or preventing fraudulent activity? Contact CMIT Solutions today.

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