In response to the COVID-19 crisis, nearly all workers from all industries uprooted from the office and began working from home. Fast forward nearly 18 months, and this remote working model has, more often than not, become the norm for most companies. While the benefits of being given the opportunity to work flexibly are second-to-none, including improved work/life balance, less money spent on the commute and a reduction in stress levels, there are of course pitfalls. One area that is rife with issues, yet perhaps not as widely talked about as others, is that of cybersecurity. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 90 per cent of participants reported to be able to continue working effectively from home with the support of their employer’s cyber and data security measures however, this didn’t, and still doesn’t, correlate with a completely risk-free working environment. In fact, 14 per cent of employees are concerned about the increased risk of cybersecurity threats while working from home, and only 15 per cent of employees know what to do to protect themselves against breaches. Additionally, a quarter have seen an increase in the number of phishing emails they have received and the cost of data breaches has risen by £104,000 since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Due to the nature of the industries many Risk Analysts work in, for example, finance and healthcare, most of the data being managed and analysed on a day-today basis is confidential and highly sensitive. It is a prime target for hackers and in the instance of a data leak, the fallout would be immensely detrimental. So, what measures can employees within the Data industry put in place to help decrease the risk of data breaches as much as possible when working from home?Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)Without a VPN service, every move you make on the internet is open for anyone to see. From your browsing history to your passwords, your email address to your location – your anonymity on the web is compromised without a VPN. By implementing a VPN with a trustworthy provider, your data is scrambled – most commonly your IP address – and this encrypts any information you use and makes it unreadable to anyone else. Reset your passwords regularlyWhile seemingly simple, think about how many times you have updated your passwords in the past year? Probably never. Worryingly, there is an attack on the web every 39 seconds, and the predominant reason for successful breaches comes from insecure usernames and passwords. According to Keeper Security, passwords should be changed at least every 60 to 90 days to keep hackers at bay. When updating passwords, also ensure to follow guidance of including capital letters, numbers, and special characters. And don’t be tempted to use the same password across all your accounts, as this is a sure-fire way to have every single piece of information you work with compromised. Update your computerThat pop-up on your laptop that keeps reminding you to update may be annoying, but it’s there for a good reason. Every time an update is released from an official tech company, such as Apple or Microsoft, hackers will be finding ways to manipulate its security almost immediately. By not updating and falling behind the most up-to-date security systems, you are placing yourself at an increased risk of being a victim of breach. For example, if you are an Apple Mac owner still using Catalina (10.15), hackers will more likely than not have found ways to break into this system.Be savvy about clicking linksWhile not a new phenomenon, employees have seen a significant increase in attempted phishing attacks since the start of the pandemic. 75 per cent or organisations across the globe witnessed phishing attacks in 2020 alone, and 74 per cent of the attacks undertaken in the US alone were successful. Hackers are becoming smarter and more innovative in the ways that they target individuals via email. From impersonating colleagues at work to alerting users to issues with Amazon deliveries, meeting errors on Zoom and unusual activity on social media platforms – it’s no longer as easy to separate the real from the fake. Avoid clicking links at all costs, especially if you’re unsure of who the sender is. Flag any disruptive emails to your employer’s IT team and report it as spam immediately. Even if it’s a genuine link from a colleague, it’s better to err on the side of caution to avoid a full internal meltdown. Working from home has certainly throw some challenges our way, especially in the Data & Analytics world. However, with carefully thought-out strategies and clear education around cybersecurity, risks can be managed, and work can continue as normal. If you’re looking for your next Data & Analytics role, or to build out your data team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.