Who would have ever thought that during a global pandemic our one thought would be “do I have enough toilet paper?” It’s almost surreal, like something from a Stephen King novel. Yet here we are. During my time of isolation and in my attempt to maintain my social unacceptability, just like everyone one else, I’ve had plenty of time to review articles I’ve been meaning to read and some I wish I hadn’t. Not to mention that I think I have sang happy birthday to myself so many times that when my actual birthday arrives, I’ll probably slap the first one that starts singing; having pretty much washed the skin off of my hands by now.
But all kidding aside, as local governments have mandated that we “shelter in place,” some of us have made a hasty transition to have ourselves and/or our staff work from home. In most cases utilizing the tools we have to continue business operations; and with other tools we quickly adopted to fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, malicious actors have taken note and continue to find ways to subvert those tools to gain access to our information.
Working from home can have its benefits, but also has its drawbacks. As the mass exodus to remote workspaces have taxed supply sources for equipment; devices such as laptops and tablets have flown off the shelves in quantities that make them all but unavailable if you don’t already have one. If you are in a situation where you have had to resort to working from your personal device from home, here are a few tips to keep you and your organization’s data safe and prevent yourself from being the main topic at the company Christmas party.
- Keep your anti-virus up to date. Make sure you are conducting regular full scans of your system to make sure your system is clean before connecting to your corporate network.
- Keep your security patches are up to date. Along with your anti-virus software, make sure your operating system is fully patched with the latest security updates.
- Personal email is just as susceptible to phishing emails as your work email. Your system can be infected by malware just as quickly from Facebook, or gmail as it would be from your company email accounts. All it takes is a click on the wrong link.ZOOM
You may have seen the news articles mentioning Zoom and its quick growth during this time of crisis. I’ll be the first to admit, I love this service. With the service’s ease of use, and key features that make the service the teleconferencing tool of choice. Unfortunately, this quick fame has also put Zoom in the crosshairs of those that look to cause harm. In a recent article I read, there are some ways you can secure your Zoom meetings to prevent unwanted attendees from highjacking your meetings.
- Always review the settings thoroughly when you’re configuring your Zoom meeting instances.
- Enable attendee passwords: Password protecting your meetings prevent those with malicious intent from joining in uninvited.
- Disable attendee screen sharing: There are settings that enable key features of the Zoom meeting that prevent attendees from sharing content and taking over your presentation. These settings can also be changed during the meeting on a case by case basis if someone other than the host needs to share content by granting that attendee the privileges required on the fly.
Microsoft Cloud Services
Who would have ever thought that Microsoft would be overwhelmed by user connections. For several years now they’ve touted the benefits of Office 365 and what it can do for the mobile workforce. But, just like everyone else, they were totally caught off guard by the vast majority of remote connections. If you’re experiencing slowness when accessing Microsoft’s services, you may have to give it a few minutes to catch up. Microsoft has announced that they have given less priority to minor services in an attempt to provide more resources to those that require higher demands.
What would one my newsletters be without a tip for keeping safe. Cyber Security experts have stated that there have been and exponential increase in the number of fake news, Facebook, twitter, instagram posts as well and email phishing attempts relating to the Corona virus. As we all are hungry for the latest news, cyber criminals are using this craving against us with content that will cause harm to systems or organizational data breaches. I can’t stress this enough, especially in this time of crisis. Verify the content and the source before opening or clicking on anything. In one article I read, the phishing email content stated that a family member had been exposed to COVID-19 and that the recipient needed to locate a testing facility immediately. “Click the link to find a testing center near you.” Again, preying on your fears to get you to act.
So, if you’re with me, practicing my social distancing and pretty much eating everything in the house. Just remember we’re all in this together and we’ll get through this. Above all, stay safe, wash your hands and as always, thank you for partnering with us. We’re here if you need us.
Brent Hudson, MBA-ITM
vCIO – Managed Services
vCIO – Managed Services