The Orixcom Blog

Top 30+ Cybersecurity Tips for Employees: Tailored for Office and Remote Settings

As we move deeper into an era where we don’t just visit online, we live online, the threats of criminal behaviour in the digital world become increasingly more prevalent. As we continue our journey deeper into the digitalisation of our lives, cyber criminals have created incredibly sophisticated software and viruses to gain control of our personal and business information.  

The digital landscape is fraught with cybersecurity threats, with malware posing a significant risk, from traditional viruses to advanced ransomware and zero-day exploits, all designed with stealth to compromise systems and sensitive data. Phishing attacks have evolved to become more sophisticated, utilising deceptive emails, messages, and websites to exploit human vulnerabilities, tricking users into divulging confidential information or installing malware. The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has expanded potential entry points for cyber threats, as insecure devices can serve as gateways for unauthorised access. The widespread adoption of remote work and mobile technologies have also had consequences, with businesses facing heightened risks due to unsecured networks and devices. Often, they lack the robust cybersecurity measures found in traditional office settings which exposes vulnerabilities such as unsecured Wi-Fi connections and unpatched software.  

The significance of adherence to cybersecurity best practices for employees cannot be overstated in the fight against cybercrime. Employees serve as the first line of defence against cyber threats, and their level of awareness directly impacts the overall security of an organisation. Informed and vigilant teams, armed with security awareness tips for employees, are better equipped to recognise and thwart phishing attempts, identify suspicious activities, and practice secure online behaviour. Cybersecurity breaches often exploit human vulnerabilities, making it imperative for employees to be well-versed in recognising and responding to potential threats. Adherence to cybersecurity best practices, including the integration of workplace cybersecurity measures, ensures the implementation of robust security measures, such as regular password updates, software patches, and the use of secure networks, contributing significantly to the prevention of data breaches and unauthorised access. Ultimately, fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness among employees, enriched with security awareness tips for employees and workplace cybersecurity initiatives, is not just a defensive strategy; it's a proactive and integral component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that safeguards a business's sensitive information and upholds its reputation in the face of an ever-evolving threat landscape.

In the next section, we will delve into the top 30+ cybersecurity tips for employees for identifying and mitigating phishing threats, strengthening your online security and addressing the dynamic landscape of malware. Additionally, we will provide tailored recommendations for remote employees, emphasising cybersecurity awareness tips for securing virtual workspaces, adeptly navigating unsecured networks, and optimising digital defences. Read on to enhance your cybersecurity resilience and ensure a robust defence, whether operating from the office or remotely.  

General Cybersecurity Tips for Employees

These daily cybersecurity tips are the basic steps all businesses need to take to fortify your digital defences and ensure secure physical workspaces. 

1. Password Hygiene: 

  • Create complex passwords with a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. 
  • Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or names. 

2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): 

Enable two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication wherever possible to add an extra layer of security. MFA is a crucial security measure that provides an additional level of protection for your online accounts. By enabling MFA, you not only rely on your password but also require a second form of verification, such as a fingerprint, facial recognition, or a unique code sent to your mobile device.

3. Recognising Phishing Attacks: 

  • Be sceptical of unsolicited emails or messages, especially those urging immediate action. 
  • Double-check the sender's email address and verify the legitimacy of links before clicking.  

4. Software Updates: 

  • Regularly updating your operating systems, software, and applications is crucial for device security. By installing the latest updates, you address known vulnerabilities, reduce the risk of unauthorised access, and improve overall functionality.
  • Enable automatic updates for easier and constant protection. Prioritising regular updates demonstrates a proactive approach to cybersecurity, ensuring the ongoing safety of your digital environment. 

5. Secure Wi-Fi Connections: 

  • Use WPA3 encryption for Wi-Fi networks. 
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi for sensitive work tasks or use a virtual private network (VPN) for added security. 

6. Secure Physical Workspaces: 

  • Lock devices when not in use. 
  • Be cautious about discussing sensitive information in public areas. 

7. Device Tracking: 

  • Enable device tracking features to locate and recover your lost or stolen device. Use GPS or other location-based technologies to pinpoint its whereabouts.
  • You can also remotely lock or erase the device to protect your personal information. Activate an alarm or send a message to increase the chances of getting it back.
  • Use built-in tracking features like Find My iPhone or Find My Device and ensure your device is connected to the internet for tracking to work. Enhance device security and have peace of mind with this additional layer of protection.

8. Regular Data Backups: 

  • Back up important data regularly to prevent data loss in case of a security incident. This is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and integrity of your valuable information.
  • Use cloud-based backup services, which store your data securely on remote servers. These services often provide automatic backups, ensuring that your data is continuously protected without any manual intervention.
  • Use external storage devices such as external hard drives or USB flash drives to create physical backups of your data. These devices can be easily disconnected and stored in a separate location, providing an additional layer of protection against potential threats.
  • In addition to regular backups, it's also essential to periodically test the restoration process to ensure that your backups are functioning correctly. This will help you identify any issues or gaps in your backup strategy and allow you to address them before a real security incident occurs.

9. Safe Web Browsing: 

  • Exercise caution when clicking on links, especially from unfamiliar websites. 
  • Verify the legitimacy of websites before entering personal or login information. 

10. Always Use Antivirus Software: 

  • Install and update antivirus software regularly to protect against various types of malware. It provides an additional layer of defence, detecting and removing potential threats before they harm your system.
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date to stay ahead of evolving cybercriminal techniques. Additionally, antivirus software often offers features like real-time scanning, web protection, and email scanning to enhance overall cybersecurity.
  • Using antivirus software can significantly reduce the risk of malware attacks and ensure ongoing device and personal information security.

11. Avoid AutoConnect for Wireless Networks and Bluetooth Devices: 

  • Manually select and connect to known and secure networks. 
  • Turn off Bluetooth when not in use to minimise the risk of unauthorised connections. 

Remote Work-Specific Cybersecurity Tips

For remote workers, different practices should be employed to ensure networks are fully secured. 

12. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): 

  • Utilise a reputable VPN service when working remotely to encrypt internet connections and enhance privacy. 
  • Ensure that the VPN software is kept up to date with the latest security patches. 

13. Home Wi-Fi Security: 

  • Change default router login credentials to a strong, unique password. 
  • Enable WPA3 encryption on your home Wi-Fi network for enhanced security. 
  • Regularly update the router firmware to patch potential vulnerabilities. 

14. Protecting Sensitive Information:  

  • Use secure storage solutions such as locked cabinets for physical documents containing sensitive information. 
  • Shred or securely dispose of unnecessary documents to prevent unauthorised access. 

15. Separate Work and Personal Devices: 

  • Avoid using personal devices for work-related tasks, and vice versa, to minimise potential security risks. 
  • Implement strong access controls and encryption on both work and personal devices. 

Email Security Best Practices    

Email is one of the most common ways that fraudsters and cybercriminals will target businesses. It’s crucial that all employees are aware of how to spot emails that are potentially unsafe. 

The SLAM method in cybersecurity, comprising Stop, Look, Ask, and Manage, is a concise and effective approach for enhancing email security best practices: 

16. Stop:

  • Pause before taking any action on an email, especially if it is unexpected or unsolicited. This is a critical step in safeguarding your online security and protecting yourself from potential scams or phishing attempts. By pausing and carefully evaluating the email, you can avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes.
  • When you receive an unexpected or unsolicited email, it's essential to exercise caution and refrain from immediately clicking on any links, downloading attachments, or providing personal information. Take a moment to assess the email and consider its legitimacy. Look for any signs of phishing, such as suspicious email addresses, grammatical errors, or requests for sensitive information.
  • Hovering over links without clicking on them can help you preview the URLs and determine if they are leading to legitimate websites. Avoid downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious sources as they may contain malware or viruses that can compromise your device's security.

17. Look:

  • Scrutinise the email for potential signs of phishing, including the sender's email address, content errors, and links or attachments.
  • Hover over links without clicking to preview URLs. Avoid downloading attachment from unknown or suspicious sources.  

18. Ask:

  • When in doubt about the legitimacy of an email, reach out to the sender through a separate communication channel to verify its authenticity.
  • Ask specific questions or request additional information to validate the email's legitimacy.
  • Avoid using contact information provided in the suspicious email and independently search for the official contact details of the sender.
  • Taking the time to verify emails through a separate communication channel protects sensitive information and prevents falling victim to phishing attacks.

19. Manage:

  • Actively manage email security settings, enable multi-factor authentication or passwordless authentication or even Single Sign-On.
  • Promptly report suspicious emails to the IT or cybersecurity team for a proactive defence against potential threats.  

Secure Online Communication

For any online communication there are some basic principles that should be adhered to, to minimise security compromises.   

20. Encrypted Communication Tools: 

  • Utilise end-to-end encrypted communication tools to safeguard sensitive information during online conversations. 
  • Verify that the tools you use adhere to industry-standard encryption protocols. 

21. Information Sharing in Virtual Meetings: 

  • Exercise caution when sharing sensitive information during virtual meetings, ensuring only necessary details are disclosed. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the security features of the virtual meeting platform, such as password protection and meeting lock options. 

22. Secure File Sharing: 

  • Opt for reputable file-sharing platforms with encryption features to protect confidential documents. 
  • Set access controls and permissions to restrict document access to authorised individuals only. 

23. Connect Only with People You Trust: 

  • Be selective in connecting with individuals on professional networks and social media platforms. 
  • Regularly review your connections and remove unfamiliar or untrusted contacts. 

Device Security Guidelines 

Unlocked or unsecure devices can easily be compromised. Follow these tips to keep your business safe.   

24. Password Protection: 

  • Implement password protection on all devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. 
  • Utilise strong and unique passwords for each device, incorporating a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. 
  • Enable biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, if available.
  • Set up automatic device lock after a period of inactivity for an additional layer of security.  

25. Check Your Apps Permissions: 

  • Regularly review and audit the permissions granted to apps on your devices. 
  • Restrict app permissions to only essential functions, limiting unnecessary access to sensitive data. 
  • Be cautious when granting apps access to location, camera, microphone, and other personal information. 
  • Uninstall or disable apps that request excessive or unnecessary permissions.  

Social Media Awareness

Social Media is another front on the war against cyber criminals. Being aware of how to protect yourself on these platforms is crucial.

26. Privacy Settings: 

  • Periodically review and update your privacy settings on social media platforms to control who can access your profile and information. 
  • Customise privacy settings for individual posts to limit their visibility to specific audiences. 
  • Utilise two-factor authentication for an additional layer of security on your social media accounts. 

27. Avoid oversharing:

  • Be mindful of the information you share on social media, considering the potential impact on your personal and professional life. 
  • Discretion in what you share online contributes significantly to your overall digital safety.

Physical Security Measures  

Physical security is often overlooked and is easily compromised by an opportunistic criminal.   

28. Locking Devices: 

  • Cultivate the habit of locking your computer or mobile device whenever you step away, ensuring unauthorised access is prevented. 
  • Use strong and unique passwords or PIN codes for device lock screens. 
  • Enable biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, for added security. 
  • Set short automatic lock times to minimise the window of opportunity for potential unauthorised access. 

Incident Reporting Protocols  

29. Reporting Suspicious Activities:  

  • Implement and communicate straightforward protocols for employees to report any suspicious activities or security incidents promptly. 
  • Provide training to ensure employees are familiar with the reporting procedures and understand the importance of reporting incidents in a timely manner. 

30. Culture of Openness:   

  • Encourage an open and non-judgmental atmosphere where employees feel empowered to report security concerns without fear of reprisal. 
  • Recognise and appreciate employees for their vigilance in reporting potential threats, reinforcing a positive cybersecurity culture within the organisation. 

Regular Cybersecurity Training  

Ensuring employees are up to date on the latest security threats and actors is imperative to ensure a comprehensive cybersecurity posture. Your teams should be fully equipped to effectively respond to and mitigate cybersecurity threats.   

31. Cybersecurity Awareness Programs and Training Sessions: 

  • Conduct regular cybersecurity awareness programs and training sessions for employees to stay informed about the latest threats, best practices, and security protocols. 
  • Provide targeted training sessions tailored to specific roles and responsibilities within the organisation to address unique cybersecurity challenges. 

32. Simulations and Scenarios:   

  • Conduct simulated cybersecurity scenarios to allow employees to practice and refine their response strategies in a controlled environment. 
  • Regularly update and vary simulation scenarios to ensure preparedness for a range of potential cybersecurity incidents.  

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  1. What should employees do if they suspect a phishing attempt?
    If employees suspect a phishing attempt, it is crucial to exercise caution and follow established protocols promptly. Firstly, refrain from clicking on any links or downloading attachments in the suspicious email. Instead, verify the legitimacy of the email by checking the sender's email address for anomalies and confirming with known contact information if available. Report the phishing attempt to the IT or cybersecurity team using designated channels, ensuring that the organisation can take swift action to investigate and mitigate potential risks. A proactive approach includes staying informed about common phishing tactics, regularly updating security awareness, and promptly reporting any suspicious activities, fostering a collective effort to enhance the business's cybersecurity posture.  

  2. How can remote employees ensure the security of their home networks?
    Remote employees can enhance the security of their home networks by implementing a few essential measures. Firstly, they should ensure that their home Wi-Fi network is secured with a strong and unique password, utilising WPA3 encryption for an added layer of protection. Regularly updating the router firmware and changing default login credentials further fortifies the network. Implementing a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing work-related resources enhances data encryption and privacy. Additionally, disabling unnecessary network features, such as guest networks, and configuring a strong firewall adds an extra barrier against potential threats. Regularly reviewing and updating all connected devices' security settings, including computers, routers, and smart devices, ensures a comprehensive approach to home network security for remote employees. 

  3. Are there specific cybersecurity tips for mobile devices used for work?
    Firstly, ensure that the device has a strong password or PIN lock, and enable biometric authentication if available. Regularly update the device's operating system and applications to patch vulnerabilities. Use reputable security software and enable remote tracking and wiping features in case the device is lost or stolen. Avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks and consider using a virtual private network (VPN) for added security. Be cautious of app permissions, granting access only to essential functions. Lastly, separate work and personal activities on the device to minimise security risks. Implementing these measures enhances the cybersecurity posture of mobile devices used for work. 

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