How to create a secure work environment to bag a remote cyber security contract

Without doubt the way in which we all worked pre-covid has irreversibly changed -- some would argue for the better.

It’s partly as a result of this irrevocable change that more than 74% of professionals now expect remote working when taking on a new assignment, writes Georgina Day, cyber security recruitment consultant at Leap29.

Tests, jokes, and reliance

But in a cyber security environment; remote working can come with its own ‘tests’. See what I did there?!

Jokes aside, the trust from the contractor’s end-client is placed in a security company, which relies on their personnel to best secure internal documentation, data and confidential information. But how is this all ensured?

Well, the main focus when remote working is internet and cloud security, and the most common and widely-used practice for securing remote working data is a VPN -- a Virtual Private Network.

VPN and other protections

A VPN enables individuals to ensure and encrypt internet connections between different parties.

Other relevant protections to consider adopting here include anti-virus software, email encryption and protecting Wi-Fi connections.

Why is working from home different to working from the client-office, if the same tech is in use?

Your hardware may not be provided by your engager

If you are contracting in a workplace that doesn’t provide you with the necessary hardware, this can cause an overlap in websites visited by your device(s), which can heighten the risk of hackers, or malware virus’ entering your data.

To create a secure work environment, definitely keep your work and personal devices separate to reduce the risk of client information being leaked or compromised.

Your home Wi-Fi cannot be managed by your engager

Using a different Wi-Fi router when you’re at home can heighten the risk of incidents, so be sure to instead use the client’s VPN to stay safe when supplying remotely. Certainly prioritise the VPN over any ‘readily available free Wi-Fi’ in your local coffee shop! Alternatively, if there’s no choice but you home router, change your password regularly.

Your location services and private password safety

As cliche and boring as it sounds, the password guidance/rules which your client handed you are important!

So mix up your passwords, include upper and lower case, special characters and numbers where applicable.

Whatever you do, don’t write the password down and put it close by wherever you tend to work -- you may as well post it on your socials!

Passwords should be updated every six months at a minimum. All it takes is one time of you not doing that, to know why the six-month rule should be followed – as a minimum.

Oh, and two-factor verification provides double the protection and peace of mind, so select or implement this wherever possible.

You may have out-of-date versions of software or be behind on updates

Running software updates regularly helps fix bugs and plugs any security holes in the features you may have. The updates can be set up automatically -- but companies should be running business-wide software updates as often as possible.

Are you and your client working hand-in-hand to maximise security?

The above covers the most fundamental elements of securing a remote desk.

However, it’s of course up to the client and contractor to work hand-in-hand to ensure that remote working operates smoothly and securely. It’s like many aspects of IT security with a sender and receiver -- if both parties implement, manage and maintain a system that works for them, the risks become limited and the process becomes smoother and more maintainable.

Why is it recommended to secure a remote desk when beginning a new role or even attending an interview?

Taking the above steps shows you are capable of managing a prospective client’s data and eliminating immediate risks.

Some quick context. In the 1980s, just over 1% of UK employees worked from home. Today, in 2023, it’s predicted to soon be at over 30%!

So even if remote or hybrid working isn't your preference right now, it's definitely the direction which the world of technology is moving towards. And it’s therefore important to showcase your capability at securing a remote desk, as it could give you the edge at contract renewal or with future cyber contracts which the individuals you demonstrate your capability to know are going to soon crop up.

Finally, be part of the 87% -- but with real peace of mind

Let’s end on another stat. Forbes has reported that people are 87% more likely to love their jobs if they work from home. My guess is that not many of that 87% have ever been hacked when working from home! Hopefully, by taking the right precautions and implementing the correct software, you can regard yourself as among that 87%, albeit with the added peace of mind that the data belonging to both you and your end-client is covered, and not going anywhere but your collective systems and servers.

Tuesday 12th Sep 2023
Profile picture for user Georgina Day

Written by Georgina Day

As head of cyber security at Leap29, Georgi plays a key role in client and candidate management within the Cyber Security market. Through her years working within the tech space, covering IT support, cloud Infrastructure and cyber security, Georgi has developed a strong understanding of the market and a wide network of qualified professionals. She prides herself on finding candidates that not only have the technical knowledge and experience, but who also drive business growth for her clients.

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