COVID-19 Quarantine, Remote Workers, and Data Security: Don’t Put Your Business at Risk

Update 1/19/2021: Criminals have grown smarter and more sophisticated over the pandemic, so please share this information with your co-workers, housemates, and family members. Education is the best defense against cybercrime. 2020’s estimated annual revenue from cybercrime was at least $1.5 trillion! To put that in perspective, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla and Microsoft combined made $761 Billion in 2019, while Walmart made only $514 Billion. It pays to be a cybercriminal! Don’t be a victim. Cybercriminals are well funded, and their revenue is widely anticipated to be even higher in 2021.

With the COVID-19 virus all over the news, many organizations are looking into better ways to help employees work remotely. News reports, CDC recommendations, WHO guidelines, and social media are sending mixed messages. The driving factors of quarantine, caution, fear, and convenience all have the same reality- maintaining security and efficiency are key requirements to keep networks healthy and data safe. We can’t lose sight of these basic necessities when implementing work-from-home protocols. Companies who have invested heavily in securing their environments could have their systems wiped out by one insecure remote connection, and the criminals know it. Employee expectations of ease of use and fast speeds must not be overlooked. To be effective, work-from-home needs to be seamless for employees. Here are some of the things we’ve configured for our clients at Pegasus:

  • VoIP phone service where employees can receive and make phone calls from anywhere using the same extensions and phone numbers they are assigned in the office
  • Video conferencing and screen sharing
  • Instant messaging, collaboration, and more, using Microsoft Teams and Slack
  • Encrypted cloud file synchronization, sharing, and backup
  • Two-factor authentication to protect remote access from password attacks
  • Remote Desktop Services wrapped in security protocols, so you can connect from PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks without software installed on remote computers
  • Office 365 Web Apps to edit and share documents from PCs and Macs without any software installed on your computer
  • VPN to encrypt traffic between you and your office
  • Cloud Print and Cloud Signature, so you can look professional and stay productive from any device

You cannot be confident employee’s home networks and home computers are secure, but using some of the methods above, you can keep your data safe without worrying about management of home machines. Most traditional VPN solutions simply place the kids’ remote computer on your internal business network- scary, right? Other risks of work-from-home include:

  • Infections with malware, keystroke loggers, and more
  • Unauthorized access from other people in the home
  • Unsecure wireless networks, and unauthorized wireless guests
  • Unpatched machines
  • Unencrypted data
  • Expired, non-existent, or weak antivirus software
  • Lack of firewalls
  • Default RDP ports and other common access inviting attack

It’s worth a conversation with your IT company to see how usable your remote access really is, compared to features available today. Don’t ask if it’s secure- instead ask how can you be more secure than your average company. Pegasus has infinite ways to make work-from-home better and more secure, so ask us for some advice today!

P.S. Tell your employees to be on the lookout for COVID-19 phishing scams and work-from-home email bait! Don’t be a victim.