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Teleworking During Coronavirus... 
Are You Ready?

As the Coronavirus continues to spread, more companies are faced with the reality of remote work. For many employees, telework is not a new concept, but for entire organizations, this level of remote work is unprecedented. We are seeing companies update their policies to reflect the current landscape and ramp up contingency plans. 

During this crisis, it’s essential that organizations do not overlook the importance of cybersecurity for the sake of efficiency when establishing business continuity measures.

The last thing your organization needs during a pandemic, is the backlash over a data breach that can cause a reputation problem for even the most robust organization. With communications departments already stretched thin because of Coronavirus, adding a data breach crisis could have catastrophic repercussions.  

According to Checkpoint’s Global Threat Index for January 2020, cyber-criminals are already exploiting the global epidemic by spreading malicious activity and launching spam campaigns relating to the outbreak of the virus. 

The research also identified a targeted coronavirus themed phishing campaign that hit 10% of all organizations in Italy. Bad actors are using the increase in HR email traffic regarding the virus to impersonate internal employee communications. 

We are often brought in as a communications firm to address crises large and small and that includes data breaches. As the Coronavirus continues to spread and organizations potentially turn to remote work for safety, we want to share actionable security practices to help your team stay one step ahead:

  • All remote workers should have access to a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs create a secure connection from one network to another network over the Internet. For example, for remote workers using their home WiFi to access the Internet, it is likely that connection is not as secure as your enterprise connected. If some of your employees do not have access to a VPN we recommend they do not conduct remote work that is sensitive or proprietary. 

  • Two factor or multifactor authentication should be enabled for all devices and accounts. Multi-factor authentication is an authentication method in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. For example, one common two-factor authentication method involves requiring users to enter a passcode sent to them via email, text or phone. It is important to provide employees with a guide to setting up these methods and you establish a mechanism for verifying that all employees are using it. 

  • Advise your employees to secure their at-home Internet connection. Many at-home Internet connections are left password free for ease of access and use. These connections, however, are shared across many wireless devices that are known to have security vulnerabilities. As more workers begin to operate out of their homes, their Internet connection and Internet connected devices will become prime targets for cybercriminals. It is important that organizations advise their employees to divide their home Wi-Fi networks into different accounts; keep one secure login for business use and one for personal use. 

  • Alert employees to possible email scams. Hyperlinks found in emails or on websites can be tempting to click on, especially if they seem to provide useful information surrounding the Coronavirus. As mentioned above, there has been an increase in phishing emails using the Coronavirus to trick employees into clicking on malicious links. It is important that organizations continue to communicate to their employees about the dangers of opening email links and attachments without verifying the email’s legitimacy. Employees can easily verify an email or domain by checking the sender credentials or hovering over a link to identify the URL. If the email is suspicious, employees should be advised to mark it as such and alert your organization’s IT department.

  • Update Security Systems. Require employees to keep systems updated with the latest security patches.

  • Turn Off Devices. Advise employees to turn off and unplug work devices when not in use.

  • Don’t Connect with Work and Home Devices. Instruct employees not to connect at-home internet connected devices like Bluetooth speakers or smart TVs to their work devices.

As the reality of enterprise-wide remote work potentially looms, organizations must be proactive in how they communicate security best practices for at-home workstations. Stay smart, stay safe and be secure.


ROKK Solutions sits at the nexus of policy, politics and communications. Our team possesses decades of senior-level public service experience and the firm has spent years counseling companies, trade associations, coalitions and non-profits. We bring a bipartisan approach to each client engagement because our experience shows it is the most effective way to ensure a clients’ objectives are achieved. 

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