Tips for Keeping Data Secure in a Hybrid or Remote Work Model

More than half of U.S. employees say they can perform their work duties away from the office at least part of the time. If you’re in the majority, you’re likely working from home, coffee shops and perhaps even on the sidelines of your childrens’ sports practices. But while slugging your laptop along on your day-to-day journey can be convenient, it can also present a security threat to both you and your employer. Some studies have attributed the rise of remote working to an increase in security breaches, underscoring the importance of keeping your guard up in all working backdrops.

In this blog, we’ll share some tips on how to protect your data while working remotely.

Avoid using personal devices

It can be easier or more convenient to work from personal devices, but doing so is rarely in the best interest of your employer. One report showed that more than 50 percent of remote employees are accessing customer data on their personal devices, despite the fact that it prevents security teams from having visibility. That security gap is linked to findings that more than three-quarters of an organization’s cyberattack targets are remote workers.

When using your work device, you’re working with extra layers of security including:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Network security
  • Malware protection 
  • Restricted websites

If you insist upon using a personal device–or are obliged to due to the nature of your work–you can take your own measures to protect data. This includes ensuring your antivirus software is up-to-date, increasing your security settings and updating your operating system regularly.  And by keeping your personal information off the device you’re working from, you are also protecting your own information and data in the event of a data breach.

Beware of open networks

Open networks can be another trap for unsuspecting remote employees seeking an easy connection on the go. Tapping into an open WiFi connection exposes you–and your company’s data–to hackers who could gain access to sensitive data. It can also expose you to viruses, malware and put you at risk for session hijacking attacks.

Although using open networks on public networks is highly discouraged by most companies, there are ways to lower risks in situations where you view it as unavoidable. For example, perhaps you’re on a tight deadline and your network is out. Or, maybe you’re traveling and have received a time-sensitive request from a client. You can take precautions to guard your data by:

  • Using a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data secure while accessing public networks
  • Enabling firewall
  • Refraining from visiting sites that aren’t necessary for the scope of your work
  • Confirming the network name you’re using is the one provided by the business
  • Turning off sharing

Don’t take the bait

Avoid clicking links from third-party sources and instead independently visit the site you wish to pursue by typing its name in your browser. For instance, if you receive an email about an Amazon deal that sounds good to be true, visit the online retailer directly rather than clicking on the link the message contains.

Phishing–or masquerading as a legitimate sender to trick email recipients into sharing sensitive information–is an old tactic that’s only growing in sophistication. The Anti-Phishing Working Group during the first months of 2022 observed the worst quarter on record, with more than one million phishing attacks recorded.

When you’re working remotely, it can be trickier to determine whether an email is legitimate without a cubicle neighbor or in-person IT team to consult with. Phishing scams most frequently circulate via email. Here’s how you can spot and avoid them:

  • Look for misspellings, poor grammar, generic greetings, a false sense of urgency and/or a demand
  • Enable multi-factor authentication where possible
  • Use strong, unique passwords for each service—don’t reuse passwords across multiple websites
  • Ensure your antivirus software is up to date and all application patches are installed
  • Contact the sender offline to verify the email’s authenticity if you’re suspicious

Get educated

When you’re in the bubble of remote working, cybersecurity concerns often fall to the wayside of meeting deadlines and connecting with clients. Some might assume they won’t be targeted, while others could have the misguided impression that the software installed on their computer will protect them from attacks.

According to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 82 percent of data breaches were caused by human mistakes. Another report revealed that nearly half of surveyed employees were at least fairly certain they’d made a mistake that led to security repercussions. Such blunders can be prevented with the right training to learn how to identify, flag and report malicious content.

Use trusted platforms

Contracts and agreements are a part of day-to-day lives for many employees, and with such paperwork often containing sensitive information it’s important to utilize trusted sources to facilitate electronic signature gathering.

At Docusign, one of our top priorities is to make your experience as safe and secure as possible — trust is in our DNA and ingrained in our people, processes, and technologies. In addition to delivering a secure experience, we can also provide tips to protect your data from phishing.

We are committed to employing the latest technology and industry knowledge to keep our customers safe from attackers. Learn more about our security program.

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