By Matt Tyrer

 

With so many of us affected by the measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are finding ourselves in strange territory. Not everyone is used to working from home and there are a few important things to consider to keep your data safe when outside the office. Here are three tips to keep in mind.

Be diligent with email/website links and attachments

This is (unfortunately) a golden time for cybercriminals. There are a lot of chances for them to prey upon our fears and leverage phishing strategies, tricking you to click on links that install ransomware or other malware on your systems.  Using the guise of health information, refunds for cancelled events, or other notifications, these criminals will work to get their malware installed wherever possible. Take the time to review email addresses to ensure they are coming from a trusted source. Make sure you look closely at any website links BEFORE you click, and don’t open any attachments if you’re unsure.

Nobody is safe from cybercrime, as even the U.S. Government’s Health and Human Services department was struck by an intrusion that led to misinformation being distributed. These are difficult and stressful times for all, so double-check everything before clicking.

Make sure you have a backup

Now that you’re sitting at home and not in the office, make sure you verify that your cybersecurity and backup services are up to date and running properly on your home devices. Don’t be afraid to contact your IT department to have them do a health check on your home system (especially if it was issued to you by your place of business). Even those of you working in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments should check to make sure data protection and security services are running.  

As well, verify when the last backup of your devices took place. Test that you can access your data backups so you know you can recover your data if needed. Now is not the time you want to find out the project files you were working on all last week that you accidentally hosed were not being actively backed up. Do yourself a favour and just be sure your data is safe.

Keep an eye on IT

Your IT teams are probably working overtime to keep network and data services all up and running so pay attention to any notices they post on your internal webpage or distribute via email notifications.  They’ll keep you apprised of the situation and a heads up if some services have maintenance needed. Of course, you still need to subscribe to the same diligence I noted at the beginning to validate that the notes from IT are legit.

Keeping your data secure when working from home is always important. Now, just as any other time, remember to be diligent and to be careful.

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Matt Tyrer is the Ottawa-based Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing for the Americas for data protection leader Commvault. Matt is an IT industry veteran with nearly 20 years of experience, including the past 12 with Commvault. He has worked with teams from around the world to build and implement intelligent data management and protection solutions for customers of all sizes and industries. 

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