Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak and social distancing practices already in full swing, many businesses have been suddenly forced to conduct their work remotely. This change has created a need for companies to drastically adjust their operations in a short period of time.
With these swift changes comes the inherent possibility of cybersecurity risks while working in a different environment. CREST Insurance is here to help you navigate these uncertain times due to COVID-19.
Here are some vital security tips for the safest at home work experience:
Be Aware of Scammers
- CDC Alerts
- Health Advice
- Workplace Policy
- SBA Loan opportunities
Unfortunately, some individuals have decided to try and capitalize on the chaos & confusion of the coronavirus outbreak. There have already been reports of scammers fraudulently posing as insurance agents to gain access to people’s medicare accounts. They do this by asking you to “verify” your account number. During this uncertain time, people are not only vulnerable to the virus, but to healthcare scams as well. It’s essential to remain vigilant and NEVER give out any personal information, such as account numbers, over the phone or email to a stranger.
There have also been numerous phishing attempts by individuals looking to exploit those seeking more information about the virus. The way this works is, you’ll get a web link stating it’s an article or other new breaking information about the virus. Once clicked, it can launch malware onto your device, such as a phone, computer, or tablet. Scammers use these data breaches to extract personal information such as bank account numbers and other login info. This is a potential risk for any business and its employees.
Other Consumer Warnings
The FCC has also reported fraudulent scams involving text messages and robotic automated calls. Some have even been falsely posing as government agencies, offering testing and other financial relief related to the coronavirus. But again, these are scammers trying to extort personal information from you.
The SBA Loan Opportunities offered under the CARES Act have also been a target for cybercriminals. If you are a small business owner seeking financial relief through the Paycheck Protection Program, only apply through accredited financial institutions, such as your bank. Do not give out any sensitive information over the phone or an email.
Other robocalls are even claiming to offer (non-existent) coronavirus cures, all with a hefty price tag, of course. Do not trust any stranger who contacts you, unless they can absolutely verify their identity and who they work for.
Optimize Your Work Space
Ask yourself: What do I need to work from home besides a laptop and wi-fi connection? Do I need to upgrade my internet speed? Do I need to install any video chat apps like Skype or Zoom? What about other software such as Adobe? Do I have all of my necessary work documents from the office? There may be many adjustments needed initially, depending on your at home environment. It’s important to know your workplace’s policies and procedures for working remotely.
The proper work related essentials are also relevant towards your security, not just your productivity. If you need to work remotely from a public wi-fi network, always make sure that the connection is secure, otherwise hackers will be able to steal valuable information from your devices.
Try To Keep Work and Home Life Separate
This can surely be a challenge when working from home, especially if you have a spouse or any kids who are also stuck at home. Many schools and workplaces have temporarily closed, so your house may feel a bit noisy and cramped. This shouldn’t derail you, however.
Put yourself in a specific room where you will be the most focused and productive. This will make your work from home transition much easier, and keep you from working odd hours. A normal work block such as 8am – 4pm daily will keep your workflow on track, and keep you from having to answer work emails during family dinnertime, for example.
Set Aside Time For Yourself
Take a walk in the sun, stretch your legs (at a safe distance of course). Treat yourself to takeout for your lunch break, rather than just eating quick while working. You’ll be supporting a unique local business!
Social media connects us now more than ever. You can also call or Facetime a friend or family member. Mental health is important during this time as well. Just because we are physically apart, doesn’t mean we have to be socially apart. Isolation can potentially take its toll on your mental health, and your work as well.
There is no automatic safety net when it comes to working from home. Individuals must be aware and proactive of their surroundings. No expert knows exactly when business will return to ‘normal’ but we can still remain connected for the time being. CREST is here and we care about our community. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. For the most current coronavirus information, head over the the CDC website. We wish you the best of health.