The shift to a hybrid working system or full-on work-from-home arrangements for customer service agents comes with a number of challenges, among them the need for added security.
However, you don’t need to have a degree in cybersecurity to ensure that your digital workspaces remain secure. Read on to learn how you can safely and securely work from home.
1. Use antivirus and internet security software
Antivirus software protects your devices from various threats that range from those that can cause minor inconveniences to those that can cause serious harm to your online security and finances. Choose professional-grade software and update it regularly to ensure that you are protected from the newest malware and viruses.
2. Only install trusted software and application
More and more meetings are being held on Zoom and other conferencing platforms. You are also likely using collaboration software to easily share work information with co-workers. Make sure that you obtain this software from the providers themselves. Avoid third-party software sites since downloads from these sites can contain malware. Also use built-in security features such as unique conference IDs and passwords, as well as waiting room features, to verify the identities of people who want to join your online discussions.
3. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Your VPN provides a secure link between you, your co-workers and your customers by encrypting all transmitted data so you can work securely. A VPN is a crucial layer of security, especially if you are regularly sending and receiving important and sensitive information like financial data, strategy documents, or secure customer data, among other things. Many employers provide VPN software that can be installed on your remote work devices. If your employer does not offer this option, you can look at using a VPN alternative. VPN alternatives include identity and access management platforms, privileged access management, third-party security platforms, and zero trust network access. All of these offer similar functionalities and security features.
4. Use a secure Wi-Fi Connection
Ensure that your home router and Wi-Fi controls are not easy to break into. The first step is to change the password from the default option (or add one if you don’t use one) and choose a strong one. If you don’t have a password on your home Wi-Fi anyone can log in and use your connection, as well as access any device connected to your Wi-Fi network. Update your Wi-Fi passwords regularly as well. It is also useful to change your SSID name. This is the name of your wireless network and can help cloak your home network from potential hackers’ eyes. Finally, you can also beef up your network encryption. Choose among WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption types. You can do all these by accessing your network browser. Check your manual on how to make these specific changes to your network.
5. Use dedicated work devices
Try to use a laptop and computer that is dedicated to office work. This way you can avoid mixing personal and work info on your devices and avoid inadvertently sending work information using an insecure laptop or phone. It is also important to ensure that all work data is securely stored on company devices. Check with your employer to see if they provide dedicated devices for home use.
6. Back up data regularly
Cybersecurity threats can result in data breaches and loss of information, which can be costly for businesses. Backing up data regularly ensures that you have a copy of your work in case something happens to your device or files. There are various backup options available, so choose one that fits your needs. You can use an external hard drive or a cloud-based backup service provided by your employer.
7. Update security software and devices
Make sure that the security software on all your work devices is up to date. This includes your anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewalls. These tools help protect your devices from malware and other online threats. It is also important to keep all your work devices, including laptops, computers, and smartphones, up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Employers should provide these updates for work devices, but if you are using your own device for work make sure to install updates as soon as they are available.
8. Limit access to work devices
Restrict physical access to work devices when working from home. This means keeping devices in a secure location when not in use, such as a locked drawer or cabinet. If possible, set up password protection or biometric security, such as fingerprint recognition, to further limit access to work devices. Employers should also provide remote device management tools that can be used to remotely lock or wipe work devices if they are lost or stolen.
9. Use strong passwords
Create strong passwords for all work accounts and make sure to update them regularly. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using dictionary words or personal information in passwords. It is also important to never reuse passwords for different accounts. If you need help creating strong passwords, there are various password management tools available that can generate and store passwords securely.
10. Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification) adds an extra layer of security to work accounts. When two-factor authentication is enabled, you will need to enter a code in addition to your password when logging in. This code is usually sent to your mobile phone via text message or generated by a mobile app. Two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to work accounts, even if they have your password.
11. Be aware of phishing scams
Phishing scams are a common type of cyber-attack where hackers send fraudulent emails or text messages in an attempt to steal personal information. These messages often appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a work or financial institution. Be on the lookout for red flags, such as unexpected requests for personal information or links to unfamiliar websites. Do not click on any links or attachments in suspicious emails or text messages. If you are unsure whether a message is legitimate, contact the sender directly using a phone number or email address from a trusted source.
12. Never work on public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure and should be avoided when working from home. If you must use public Wi-Fi, make sure to connect to a VPN first to encrypt all data that is transmitted.
13. Be cautious when sharing personal information
Be careful about what personal information you share online, even in private messages or emails. Hackers can gain access to these conversations and use this information to steal your identity or commit fraud. Only share personal information with people you know and trust.
14. Keep work and personal accounts separate
Use separate work and personal email accounts, social media accounts, and other online services. This will help to prevent work-related information from being shared publicly or with people who should not have access to it.
15. Update work devices regularly
Make sure work devices, such as laptops and smartphones, are running the latest software updates. These updates usually include security patches that can help to protect against cyber-attacks.
By following these tips, customer service agents can work from home securely and help protect your employer’s customer data. Remember that cyber security is a shared responsibility, so take steps to protect your own personal information as well. Taking these precautions will help create a safer work environment for everyone.