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Work From Home Cybersecurity Tips

While millions of people in the United States have lost their jobs in recent months, those who remain employed are navigating a new challenge—working from home. 

Staying cybersecure while working from home

While millions of people in the United States have lost their jobs in recent months, those who remain employed are navigating a new challenge—working from home. 

Despite some benefits to this new way of working, such as no commuting and increased flexibility, working from home can pose other cybersecurity challenges—especially for those who work with sensitive financial data every day. 

Here are some tips to keep yourself, your clients and your organization secure while working from home. 
1. Remember – all connections are not created equal
Virtual private networks (VPNs) become very important in a remote working environment because they essentially create a private tunnel directly from your device to the data you need to access—often stored on a remote server. This means hackers are largely prevented from getting in and accessing sensitive client information like they would be able to do if you connected through a public WIFI or a private home network. Since 1 in 4 WIFI hotspots can be hacked in minutes1, connecting through a VPN is one of the top ways to stay safe while working from home.
2. Don’t let fear make you click without thinking
In a work from home setting, it is especially important to be aware of phishing scams that target professional email accounts. Since professionals aren’t seeing their managers in the office during this time, Boss/CEO phishing scams can be more prevalent, with scammers hoping to capitalize on the fact that the receiver of the message is likely to respond to an email they believe to be from their boss. You are your own best cybersecurity defense, so be on the lookout for any email that doesn’t seem quite right and report it as a possible phishing message.
3. Vulnerable employees lead to vulnerable organizations
As an accountant, your clients’ financial data is very desirable for a hacker or scammer. Because it is easier for a company to be breached when as few as one employee’s information is exposed, employees and contractors continue to be targeted by cyber criminals as entry points to institutional data.2 While 81% of all company data breaches are the result of identity theft3, there is some good news—professionals with identity theft protection are nearly 3 times more likely to be aware of a compromised identity than those without it.4
Although no one asked to be thrust into their work from home environment in this manner, there is opportunity amid this inconvenience for accountants to adapt their traditional technology protocols and enhance their collective understanding of cybersecurity wellness and digital hygiene. 

Now with Identity Guard, AICPA and State Society members can save as much as 60% off the cost of identity theft protection.

1Kaspersky Lab. “1 in 4 wifi hotspots can be hack in minutes.” November 2016. 

2Haystax Technology. “Insider Threat Report 2017.” February 2018. 

3CTech by Calcalist. “Identity theft is the biggest cybersecurity concern, says Cisco exec.” December 2019. 

Identity Theft Resource Center. “Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2017.” January 2018.

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