WFH comes with an entirely new set of risks

As the COVID-19 pandemic grew, employers rapidly shifted to remote working for the safety of their employees while trying their best to continue business operations. 

This proposes an entirely new set of risks and challenges that small business owners have to consider.

Whether you have 10 employees or 100, hackers are finding new ways to get into your information.  

To help understand this topic a little bit better, I have a special interview with the Founder and owner of Papa Bear Digital Protection, Marc Herzog in the video above. After more than 15 years of helping corporate clients understand their technology and security, Marc has made it his mission to keep small businesses and families safe in the digital world. 

Stephanie: Marc, with all of these employees now working from home over a short period of time… I can imagine it would overwhelm any IT department. With employees now logging on from home, what are some of the things business owners can do to help mitigate the risk?

Marc: This experience highlights the importance of things like multi-factor authentication. Where employees have to enter a password or randomly generated pin to access their VPN, and then access their email and data. Additionally, we’re seeing businesses use technology like endpoint protection, and employee phishing training to make sure they stay safe from hackers.  Speaking of email, creating secure email gateways that use a code generator app to allow access. Additionally, we’re seeing businesses use technology like endpoint protection, and employee phishing training to make sure they stay safe from hackers. 

Stephanie:  You mentioned VPN or virtual private network.

Why is protecting your home remote access point important right now? 

Marc: VPN’s are crucial in minimizing ransomware and data breaches.  A lot of my clients want to know how a VPN works and if it will actually keep their data safe. My answer is “It will absolutely keep your data safe”

Here’s how it works:  A VPN works by routing your device’s internet connection through your chosen VPN’s private server rather than your internet service provider (ISP) so that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it comes from the VPN rather than your computer. The VPN acts as an intermediary of sorts as you connect to the internet, thereby hiding your IP address – the string of numbers your ISP assigns your device – and protecting your identity. Furthermore, if your data is somehow intercepted, it will be unreadable until it reaches its final destination.

Basically, a VPN creates a private “tunnel” from your device to the internet and hides your vital data through something that is known as encryption.

Stephanie: With so many employees working almost entirely from their mobile devices and tablets, how can they make sure their confidential work information is secure?

Marc: Two of the most important things I advise clients NOT to do are:

1) Log on to free wifi when you go in public. Those networks are the most vulnerable to hackers and leave your information exposed.

2) Use a charging cord at a restaurant or in a store. A new trend is emerging where companies provide their customers with a charging station for their wireless devices. Well, not only is it charging your phone, but it’s also pulling out your personal information that will be stored and delivered back to the business owner. 

There are a few others, but these are the two most important. 

Stephanie: Everyone whether you work in the office or from the deck of your boat – has a responsibility to be proactive about protecting your business’s digital assets from security threats. Thanks Marc Herzog for the vital information.

 

 

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