Working from home has never been more common; the remote-team trend has been rising for a while now, but COVID-19 caused a surge like never before. If your team is one of the many that have made the switch, you might need to think about your network security in new ways, too. Are you prepared for the risks that come with a fully remote team?
A risk you might not have considered just yet: online scams directed at children. That’s right; more and more, hackers are targeting kids. Games are the biggest culprit; with lockdowns increasing game sales, scams targeting children within those games are likewise increasing. It’s not just COVID, though — this isn’t the first time this has happened. Specific games have been targeted and malware has been spread intentionally via children as a way to access their parents’ data.
As a business, this might not initially seem relevant — but when those parents are your employees, it becomes very relevant, very quickly. It doesn’t matter how savvy your team is, if their five-year-old uses the laptop to download malware that then finds its way into your company network, the consequences are just as dire.
For any team members with children at home, it’s important to offer support and guidance for keeping their children safe. Following these three steps won’t just protect your network — it will help protect those children.
- Help your team educate their kids. All families need to talk about cybersecurity; encourage your team to do just that. Provide resources for how to educate children specifically; maybe even host a workshop for your team members to go more in-depth on best practices. Do their kids know never to click on links they don’t recognize? Never to communicate with people they don’t know, never to visit sites their parents haven’t approved? Does the family have any guidelines around the internet? With the internet as ubiquitous as it is, parents don’t always think about teaching their children these things; they might not even be aware of the risks their kids face. Teaching your team about how they can protect and educate their kids will help families feel supported and safe — which, as an added bonus, can be a positive factor in retention.
- Pay for a parental control app as a benefit. Speaking of retention, any benefits you can provide for team members with kids will put your company ahead of the pack when it comes to attracting employees. There are all kinds of parental control apps that offer text monitoring, content control, and more, but parents might be put off by the sometimes significant price tags. If you can offer a yearly membership to one of these services as a benefit for your team, you’ll have another perk to add to your recruitment package. More importantly, you’ll have another tool protecting your network.
- Ensure your team doesn’t share devices with family members. One of the most common mistakes remote teams make: sharing devices outside the company. The kids come home from school, and while dad is making dinner, their six-year-old snags their company phone to watch Youtube videos. It only takes one nefarious link or malicious download for attackers to get malware on that device — and you might not even know it. Then, as soon as you log in to your virtual network, that malware can move laterally and threaten company assets. Encourage your team to keep company devices strictly for company work, and enforce that policy as much as possible.
The safety of your teams’ families isn’t just important for your network — it’s important for your team’s overall well being. Start with these three steps, but from there make sure you check in with parents on your team for ideas for how to help keep kids safe online. When your team knows you have their back, they will go the extra mile to return the favor. Providing support for parents working from home helps keep kids safe, keep team morale high, and keeps your company network secure.