As much of America continues to work from home, cybersecurity remains a top concern for businesses. In a perfect world, we recommend that businesses provide all remote employees with company-issued laptops. These would come loaded with anti-virus protection, a firewall and other security features. However, some businesses can’t get the computers they need for staff, leaving employees to work on personal devices. As a result, home router security has emerged as a new cybersecurity concern for businesses.
Executives fear that their employees’ home routers do not protect information as stringently as business-grade routers – for good reason. And, computers are more susceptible to data breaches than ever before.
Home router security is important, but securing these devices is often left up to the internet provider that supplied the device. Typically, a router is provided as part of a monthly internet service agreement. The router provides the optimum capabilities for the connection and has the necessary configurations to make the network work. Also consider some users may be using their own purchased router/firewall which may have never been properly setup to begin with.
Home routers typically come with a built-in firewall that provides some level of protection. However, protection can vary from router to router. If you have employees working from home on personal devices, here are a few things they can do to improve security and better protect your businesses.
Optimize Home Router Security
Using the router provided by your internet service provider (ISP) or a store bought model, employees can improve home router security by:
1. CHANGING THE USERNAME NAME AND PASSWORD
Routers will typically come with a default username and password. The first step to securing the router is to change both to something unique. The username should be easy to identify, but not something as specific as “House7306.” The password should include both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols.
2. TURNING ON AUTOMATIC FIRMWARE UPDATES
If automatic updates are available, our team recommends that your employees turn those on, or ask their ISP if this is an available option. If this is not available on the router, it may be time to upgrade to a new router that is more secure. Instructions on how to do this typically vary from router to router, and can be found with a quick internet search.
3. INCREASING WIRELESS ENCRYPTION
Encryption is a way to conceal information by making it appear to be random data. We recommended that employees configure wireless encryption to allow for the maximum encryption the router supports. WPA2 wireless encryption ensures only authorized users can access your network. Some routers may also support the latest standard, WPA3. If you or anyone you know needs help with configuring your wireless security just contact us today.
Add Layers of Protection for Improved Home Network Security
In addition to the above, employees can improve home network security by layering on added protections such as anti-virus/malware software, cloud backups and a VPN.
1. SECURITY SOFTWARE
We find most users home computer is lacking any true security software or they believe they have the software but it may have expired or never been active. Most major incidents could be avoided had their system just had proper protection. We always recommend an enterprise level protection software over any free options. If you are not sure you have the right software or would like a free quote on protection let us know today.
2. CLOUD BACKUPS
This added layer of protection will ensure that your home network is safe from any data loss due to virus, malware, ransomware, theft or even accidental damage. Each month we receive so many calls from people who lost their data and only realized then they had no properly working backups. Let out team set you up with a fully monitored cloud backup solution for any number of your systems to make sure everything is protected.
3. VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN)
Setting up a VPN is a great way for businesses to protect themselves while employees are working from home. Personal VPNs have also become popular lately as a way to hide user activity from hackers. In essence, a personal VPN creates a secure tunnel between the computer and a secure VPN cloud provider and encrypts data so it is difficult or impossible for hackers to read. We can even help you setup a corporate VPN between your business information systems and employee home network so they can easily access all of their data in your offices at home while keeping everything secure.