How to stay cyber safe while working remotely

Working remotely or from home is nothing new to many small businesses. There are thousands of home-based businesses across Australia, from accountants and consultants to tutors and personal trainers. No matter the industry, every home-based business should take cybersecurity seriously.

Cybersecurity while working remotely or at home is essential to protecting your small business, bank accounts, and reputation. Cyberattacks, data breaches and other incidents can happen with the click of a mouse—but the problems they cause can last much longer.

Keep reading to understand some of the cyber threats you may face and tips on how you can ensure your home-based and remote working environments are cyber-safe.

1. Be aware of cyber threats

There are countless types of cybercrime that happen every single day. Understanding the different threats that are circulating can help you identify a potential attack, like dodgy phishing emails, fraudulent billing scams, and ransomware.

The cyber.gov.au and ScamWatch websites have many free resources to help small business owners identify and avoid many cyber threats.

2. Educate your staff

Having a remote working team means it isn’t always easy to communicate and discuss important issues like cybersecurity. However, making remote work cybersecurity a priority can help ensure that your staff are staying cyber-safe.

Sharing examples from the websites mentioned above is one way to provide this education. Being familiar with the various types of cyber threats that they could encounter can help them avoid many potential attacks.

If you have sufficient time and resources, you may want to look at creating a cybersecurity training program or the option of hiring someone externally to conduct it. Requiring employees to complete training throughout the year (such as bi-annually or quarterly) helps keep them on guard and knowledgeable about new types of threats.

3. Secure your home office WI-FI

Internet routers are often overlooked in work-from-home cybersecurity measures. The ACSC estimates that 150,000 to 200,000 small office or home office routers are vulnerable to compromise. However, it is one of the simplest ways to strengthen your business’ defences.

Adding a strong, unique password to your home office router can quickly improve your cybersecurity when working from home. You might also consider changing the network name to make it harder for third parties to identify and access your WI-FI. Enabling network encryption and promptly installing security patches can also help.

4. Keep your systems updated

This is a process which needs to be regularly monitored and controlled. If you haven’t already got an IT checklist or process in place, it may be a good idea to have one. Keeping an eye on things like system and software updates is one preventive measure you can implement to safeguard your IT infrastructure.

If you have staff working remotely, ensure that their systems are not only current with updates but also check that they have all the right anti-virus and cyber security measures up and running. Multi-factor authentication and using a VPN can also help boost your cybersecurity while working remotely or from home.

5. Be wary of public WI-FI connections

Cybersecurity when working remotely can present new challenges for you and your staff. If you occasionally use public WI-FI connections, you also need to be aware of the potential security risks that can compromise your cybersecurity.

After using public WI-FI, be sure to delete the network credentials from your IT device as you disconnect from the system. If possible, when connecting to the network, use a VPN as an extra layer of cybersecurity.

6. Consider Cyber Liability insurance

Even with a strong cybersecurity plan in place, a cyberattack or data breach could still happen to your small business. If this happens, the financial fallout could be devastating. On average, cybercrime cost Australian small businesses $46,000 per incident in 2023.

Creating a cyber safety net could help your business bounce back in less time. Cyber Liability insurance* covers a range of occupations, from online retailers to bookkeepers, providing peace of mind and protection from the nasties of the online world.

Cyber Liability insurance provides protection and support if you face a data breach or cyberattack. The costs that are associated with managing a cyber claim, such as rebuilding your systems and notifying employees, are covered under your Cyber Liability insurance policy.

Protect your business with BizCover!

Give your small business an extra layer of security with a Cyber Liability insurance policy. Compare policies and get covered online and in minutes with BizCover. You can even compare other types of cover, like Public Liability and Professional Indemnity, at the same time.

Get a quote today and experience insurance made easy, because life is already dramatic enough!

* This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not
be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in
the policy wording.
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