Securing the home network for remote employees

In the case of a growing number of remote employees, company offices are beginning to be connected to poorly secured home networks. This exposes corporate resources to additional cyber threats. Some companies develop training programs targeted at employees working from home, especially those who have access to sensitive data. However, knowledge about how to avoid phishing attacks does not solve a relatively new problem - the security of extended home networks in the face of the growing popularity of the remote work trend.

Large organizations have financial and technical resources that most private owners can not afford. However, there are strategies and techniques that employees can borrow from enterprises to protect their increasingly complex and complex home networks.

Fortinet specialists recommend a three-step approach to the issue of cyber security of home networks of remote employees. It is based on knowing what is on the network, dividing it into separate segments, and then implementing the appropriate security that will provide protection without compromising functionality and interoperability.

1. Learning and discovering network resources

More and more mobile devices, IoT items and equipment used by the family and friends who visit it are connected to the home network of the employee. It is difficult to identify effectively how many devices are currently connected to the home network. It is even harder to control what is allowed and what is not.

In this situation, it is worth considering using one of the current home user tools that identify devices that connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. Many of them can be easily configured to provide guests with access to the network, while limiting and monitoring the type of traffic generated. For example, you can limit the number of applications and home resources that guests may have access to, as well as the time in which they can be connected to certain places on the Internet.

2. Segmenting

Many companies implement network segmentation strategies to protect their resources. Visitors and unauthorized devices are connected to the guest network. Critical resources, such as financial data, are isolated from the rest of the network. Confidential communication is encrypted.

As Fortinet experts point out, remote employees can act similarly:

  • Buy separate wireless access points to separate game devices or IoT items from personal computers and laptops;
  • Set up a wireless network for guests or new devices. Most access points allow configuring firewall functions and monitoring guest behavior;

To protect key resources, you can consider purchasing a separate device, such as a Chromebook for specific purposes only, such as using online banking. You can also create a separate virtual device on your laptop or computer to use electronic banking;

If possible, use separate work and personal devices. It is recommended to configure a separate connection to work, connect only via VPN, and consider encrypting confidential data transmitted between your home and company network.

3. Comprehensive protection

Home networks and devices are vulnerable because their protection is neglected. Considering how quickly technology changes, you can not just afford to install an antivirus tool and expect it to be enough for full protection. A good practice is to install a firewall. Connections to trusted data sources should be highly authenticated, and wherever possible, two-factor verification of account access should be used.

It should also be borne in mind that technology will not put us through everything. Therefore, employees should be particularly alert to phishing attacks, know what ransomware is and avoid suspicious websites and click on suspicious looking links.

When we connect more and more devices to the network and focus our personal, social and professional life within it, security becomes more and more important. It is very important to develop appropriate strategies for learning, segmenting and protecting the network - that is our resources, data and privacy.

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