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Security / October 19, 2020

NCSAM Week 3: 3 Ways to Do Your Part, Apart

While we’ve participated in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) for several years now, 2020 is perhaps the one that matters most. With life as we know it turned upside down and more people working remotely than ever before, security is a skyrocketing priority. Our recent Zero Trust survey of EMEA IT and security professionals makes this point exceedingly clear, with more than half of respondents noting that a work-from-home model has made their organizations more vulnerable to attacks. And though these results focused on the U.K., France and Germany, we expect to see similar results in the U.S.

Knowing that new security threats and challenges lie ahead, it’s vital for employees at every level of the organization to arm themselves with useful information. With this in mind, we’ve outlined three ways to be cyber smart while working from home.

1. Watch Out for Scams

Seems obvious, right? While some scams stick out like the proverbial sore thumb, threat actors have gotten increasingly clever in their tactics. It’s no longer just foreign princes being held captive, winning a contest you never signed up for or paying on a debt you’ve never heard of. Today’s scams are designed to catch you off guard. They’re stealthy, swift and often believable — that is, if you’re not watching out for them in the first place. And it turns out, many people aren’t. According to our recent Zero Trust survey, 44 percent of respondents saw an increase in phishing attacks in 2020 alone.

Break the bad habit: Take a cue from the Zero Trust playbook and proceed with extreme caution whenever you’re connected. Keep a keen eye on suspicious emails, phone calls, social media connections and even Slack messages. Think that’s your bank calling you? Chances are it’s not. When in doubt, always check it out.

2. Run Security Updates on Your Home Network

With a near-constant stream of breaking news stories about major security breaches, we tend to think about security in terms of protecting a major entity. But individuals are just as vulnerable on their home networks. This is especially true for those who believe their equipment is safe right out of the box (pro tip: it’s not). In our survey, 53 percent said remote working made them more vulnerable due to insecure devices.

Break the bad habit: Keep your software current. It’s honestly one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect your home network. These updates can feel exhaustive at times, but they’re worth the slight interruption they may bring to your day. They contain security fixes that are required to keep you safe, so make it a habit to schedule them in.

3. If You’re Unsure, Stick to the Rules

Company security policies exist for a reason. Actually, scratch that. They exist for hundreds of thousands of reasons, but it all boils down to keeping the organization and its people protected. Problem is, it’s people who unwittingly work against this goal when we break security rules either by accident or otherwise. This often happens when instead of using IT-approved tools and services, we opt for our own solutions. When this occurs, it’s typically referred to as shadow IT, and it really gets in the way of security professionals working diligently to keep us all safe. Our survey shows that 48 percent of security professionals see shadow IT as one of their top challenges.

Break the bad habit: Many digital transformation plans call for more innovative solutions to managing shadow IT rather than the unrealistic goal of eliminating it. But until those solutions are in play, the cyber smart thing to do is stick with company-approved technology when handling work-related items. 

Takeaway

If the new work-from-home normal has taught us anything, it’s that we all need to be more diligent about our home security practices. IT leaders can help fuel better at-home habits by adopting a Zero Trust approach while also educating employees on the importance of a Zero Trust mindset. To learn more about the Zero Trust journey, head here.

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