The coronavirus pandemic has seen cyber-attacks on small businesses rise dramatically. As businesses quickly switched to virtual work, cybercriminals realized that businesses didn’t likely have proper security, so took advantage of the greater availability of weakly protected targets. Cybercriminals amped up their attack volumes by 40% in the month of April, and increased coronavirus-themed phishing attacks five-fold.
Small businesses need to respond to the novel security landscape that they find themselves in. While zero-trust models and cloud security are sensible directions in which to head over the long term, it’s important for IT managers at businesses to implement quick, short-term solutions, as well. What follows are four essential cybersecurity steps for small businesses to take when they have many of their employees working from home.
1. Bring social distancing to home networks
Home Wi-Fi networks are usually used for casual purposes – entertainment streaming, gaming, voice assistant use, and so on. Today, however, employees working from home use those same networks to connect to the company network. Often, employees need to use their home Wi-Fi networks for work even as other members of the family use them for casual purposes. Such mixed-use can blur security lines.
Social distancing is recommended to help slow down the ability of the coronavirus to spread person-to-person. Distancing is a practice that can help on home networks, as well. IT managers at small businesses should ask all employees working from home to partition their internet service. This means that they should configure their home networks so that everyone who needs to use them for casual purposes, uses a separate network.
Isolating a part of your home network doesn’t require much IT skill. Computer stores sell cheap home routers under $100 that come with support for VLAN technology. Your workers can set up a guest network on their home routers, and make sure that all casual connections are made on that network. IT managers should publish step-by-step instructions for how such networks are to be set up on commonly available router models.
If at all possible, IT managers should issue 4G-enabled personal portable hotspots to their employees to help them work remotely. Putting employees on their own dedicated networks offers the best security possible.
Continue reading on the next page to discover more ways that businesses need to improve their cyber security.