Remote Working: 5 Top Tips for SMEs

Blog post by Sam Devoldere, Research Analyst at Manchester Metropolitan University

The Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry team—like all teams across the globe—has had to adapt to remote working in light of the coronavirus pandemic. While remote working presents many challenges, the challenge of protecting your team from cybercriminals that are looking to exploit the current situation is one that absolutely must be overcome.

Here are our five top tips to help SMEs in Greater Manchester do so during these difficult times:

Insecure Networks

Team members that use an insecure home network or connect to a public network leave your organisation exposed. Malicious actors could take advantage of this and access sensitive data your organisation is required to protect.

Tip: Advise your team to use strong passwords and not to use the default passwords that come with many devices. Also, advise against connecting to public networks and provide a VPN for your team to use.

Insecure Devices

It is inevitable that some of your team will want to use their personal devices when working remotely. Whilst this is sometimes necessary, it could nonetheless leave your organisation exposed, as the devices may not be equipped with the appropriate defences.

Tip: Discourage the use of personal devices. Provide team members with the equipment they need to work remotely where possible.

Lack of Security Policies

The speed at which the coronavirus has spread may have caught you off-guard. The security policies provided by your organisation should be updated to reflect the fact that much of your team is now likely working from home.

Tip: Advise your team to keep work systems separate from personal systems. Consider whether two-factor authentication can be used by your team to improve security and think about how team members can safely back-up their work.

Targeted Malware

Malicious actors will try and exploit the coronavirus crisis (and already are). Various malware may disguise itself as tools to aid remote working but be performing malicious activities behind the scenes.

Tip: Tell your team to be vigilant. If possible, provide cyber hygiene training as this is perhaps the best defence against this increasingly prominent threat.

 Working with Confidential Data:

Working with sensitive data can be difficult when working from home. Insecure networks and devices aside, other people that live with any of your team members could view sensitive/confidential data simply by catching a glimpse of your team member’s screen.

Tip: Ensure your team understands the value of sensitive data and encourage team members to work in a private space where possible.