Month: March 2021

Pros and Cons of Working at Home

Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, and people had to adapt. Many employees have started working from home, and people get left to wonder: is this the new normal? Is working from home a dream or a nightmare? There are both pros and cons to it. Let’s examine them and begin with the positives. 

You cut out the time it takes you to get to your office. No commuting saves time usually wasted, which you can use to work or sleep in – both great perks. It also decreases transportation costs and saves you the stress that accompanies street traffic or being cramped in a tube or bus. 

It’s your own space, and you control it. You don’t have to endure loud coworkers chatting, music from noisy headphones, any noise you find distracting or uncomfortable – you can get rid of at once. Brighter, darker, hotter, colder, any adjustments that usually require a conversation with your fellow employees, you can do on your own accord. You won’t get judged every time you go on a break.

Flexibility is also a key benefit. Unless video calls are involved, you can roll out of bed and work from your pajamas if you feel like it. You have no dress code. Even if you get a call, you can always be business on top and party at the bottom.

A quick recap of the pros:

  • no commute
  • saves money
  • control
  • flexibility

Let’s go over the disadvantages next.

To keep up productivity at home, you must have self-discipline. If you have set working hours, you must abide by them. If you don’t, you must find the time needed to accomplish your work for the day. The couch may seem enticing, but it can wait after you’ve done your job. The same applies to chores or other home-related tasks. Don’t get distracted. You may be at home, but you’re on the clock. 

A significant contributor to poor working conditions is roommates. That includes flatmates of any kind – family, friends, all same-space occupants fit the bill. If they are unaccommodating to your working needs, you will suffer for it. 

It can be isolating and lonely to work from home. Whether you live alone or with people, you’ll find that you miss your coworkers. You’ll miss the banter, the opportunity to ask them a quick question and get a response. You can lose that connection when you’re all working from home. In that case, you should try to spend some time in communication with your coworkers.

It’s hard to separate work from home. Not many people have the luxury of designated office space to leave and close the door behind them when work hours end. You can lose the distinction between home and office, and that can lead to overworking yourself.

On the bottom side of the diagram, you can see the standard office deployment, and on the top, the standard remote/freelancer deployment. We have to defend the red lines. In the case of freelancers, you have more entry points to defend.

Working from home increases the risk of being a cybercrime victim. Most people do not have the proper training to build their cybersecurity defenses, leading to data breaches. So to properly defend yourself, an onboarding cybersecurity essentials course is a good start.

A quick recap of the cons:

  • self-discipline is mandatory
  • unaccommodating roommates
  • lonely
  • no work-home separation
  • more significant risk of being a cyber victim

You can argue for and against it, but ultimately, it comes down to every person’s preferences.

How Can Companies Get Malware?

How does a company end up with malware? There are two general replies to that question – people and vulnerabilities.

The people category tends to include all admins, users, everyone who can run code on the network, and vulnerabilities encompass anything from an old system that hasn’t been updated to lack a good antivirus program.

How does malware invade the system?

Emails are arguably the most common infiltration way malware uses to slither into your system. Cybercrooks load them with corrupted links, attachments, or both and hope you fall for their trickery. You receive an email one day that seems legitimate. It can appear to come from your boss and contain a vital business document attached. Or from a delivery company that has a package withheld and urges you to open a tracking link to check it out. The potential scams are endless, and some of them can be pretty convincing. Always be vigilant when getting emails that you were not expecting or anything even remotely seems suspicious. Better to be safe than sorry.

Look out for bad spelling and grammar, weirdly placed punctuation, senders you don’t recognize, your name misspelled. Anything can be a giveaway that you’re the victim of a scam. Caution is critical if you wish to protect your computer and company from malware.

Here are two simple rules to abide by when dealing with emails:

  • Unless you’re positive who sent you the email – don’t open it!
  • If it aims to convince you to click a link or download an attachment, triple-check everything before you do; blindly following instructions won’t end well.

Another common invasive way is removable drives as they often carry infections. You should always handle external hard drives and USB flash drives with care. If employees find one on their way to work and decide to check it out on their company PC, the whole company could be in trouble. The malware usually gets installed once the drive gets plugged in, so don’t do that. Again, you must proceed with caution.

Employees often have to install programs needed for work. When doing so, it’s imperative to read through the terms and conditions and not just head straight for the OK. Malware can be hiding somewhere in the fine print, and you don’t want to agree to install it. Make sure to choose the official vendor’s website for necessary downloads, minimizing the risk of malware.

How to reduce the possibility of getting malware

If you wish to protect your company from malware, there are a few things you can do that will improve your chances of enjoying a malware-free company.

  • Educate your employees.

Teach them what to look for in emails and be wary of clicking suspicious-looking links or visiting unsafe websites.

  • Update regularly.

Software, applications, systems, everything must get frequent updates. Consistent updates are vital for keeping up your system’s safety.

  • Invest in excellent antivirus software.

If you can afford it, choose anti-ransomware and anti-malware software, too. Having several security layers is hugely beneficial in guarding against cyberattacks.

  • Backup your data.

If all else fails, you won’t find yourself at the mercy of cybercrooks. Try to backup everything weekly and even daily if possible. It’s preferable not to trust cloud services for that, as hackers can still find a way to access them.

If your company does get malware, it can be quite a devastating experience that could result in severe financial losses. Suppose you get stuck with a PUP (potentially unwanted program), adware, or anything of the sort. In that case, you’d be wasting valuable working time trying to get rid of the infection. The time that you could have spent making calls, connecting to clients, promoting your services, et cetera. If you get stuck with ransomware, it’s even worse. You could end up losing files, documents, client contacts, and, not to mention, time, energy, and money in your attempts to deal with the cyber threat.

You’d do your best to ensure malware cannot invade your company systems. When it comes to cyber threats, prevention is preferred to the reaction.