In the coming weeks, we will be featuring a set of #CyberSelfCare blogs to help you educate yourself, your coworkers, family, and friends about how to protect their digital presence.
We talk a lot about work-life balance. What does it mean, exactly? In a perfect world, we would spend some time each day working hard at our jobs, and an equal amount of time relaxing at home — maybe spending time with our families, doing hobbies, cooking healthy meals, exercising, getting enough sleep, reading books, and catching up on that amazing new show. If you just do a little bit of everything each day, you’ll be set. Sounds like a great plan, right?
Let’s get real. Some days, it feels like an absolute victory if you get one thing done on your work to-do list (as you add five more things to your list before the work day is over). And forget about cooking and exercising — sometimes it’s a good day as long as everyone in your house has eaten something, and you’re too tired to even think about opening a book. Just like with a balanced diet, it’s a myth that you have to get a little bit of everything each day. Some days are going to be full of work, and that’s okay! Other days, you’ll need to prioritize your kids, or your pets, or home repairs, or (maybe… just maybe) yourself.
It gets even harder to manage an effective balance between your job and your home life when your home and your office are in the same place. That’s the reality so many of us face today when we work remotely. Working from home is on the rise and is rapidly becoming the new normal. Staying home makes some things easier (like no dry cleaning bills), but makes some things harder (like finding a quiet space to run an important meeting). If you’re new to working from home with young children or pets in the house, you might miss the days where interruptions only came from your boss on the phone or in your inbox.
The New Normal: Working From Home
The good news is, you’re not alone. Many of us at Cisco work from home, so we’ve had time to develop some ideas about how to make remote work less stressful. Here are some quick tips for managing the challenges of your job when you’re working from home:
- Set up your working space to be comfortable. You might not have a perfect ergonomic setup, but you can experiment with the height of your screen, whether you sit or stand, and what type of lighting you use.
- Keep healthy snacks around. At the office, we tend to visit the vending machine when cravings hit. Try to make sure your home pantry is full of healthy choices!
- Take regular breaks. Set a reminder alert in your calendar to get up and move around, even if it’s just to take a walk to refill your water bottle. You can also take your calls during a walk using a mobile device. Challenge yourself to do squats or push-ups while you listen to a recorded meeting!
- Don’t worry if you get interrupted by a barking dog, a crying baby, or a neighbor’s leaf blower. Know where the mute button is located, and consider using a headset.
- Schedule downtime in your day. It’s easy for working hours to extend all day long if you are telecommuting. Make sure to block time on your calendar for important things like workouts, family dinners, and relaxation.
- Check in regularly with your manager and your teammates, either on the phone, on a video call, or through instant messages. When we work from home, we often miss the casual conversations about topics unrelated to our jobs. Make a point to reach out and say hello and ask how someone is doing — and then listen!
- Make time for self-care. This doesn’t have to be a spa day or a glass of wine. At Cisco, we have a Webex collaboration space dedicated to sharing pictures of our pet coworkers at home. We even hosted an All-Paws meeting over Webex! It’s mostly dogs and cats, but there are some birds, rabbits, ferrets, and reptiles, too. Sharing pet photos helps us feel connected to our colleagues, and just a few minutes of scrolling through cute animals can reduce your stress level instantly.
Remote Security: From the Office to Your Kitchen Table
Of course, there’s one more big challenge to deal with when working from home — keeping our corporate devices and data safe from cybercriminals. Cyber threats are nothing new, but conventional security defenses weren’t designed to enable remote security for users working from home. Security appliances were designed to secure devices that are being used within the office walls. That means those defenses weren’t built for today’s expanded network perimeter — which extends all the way from the data center to your kitchen table. Remote security requires a different approach to protect company devices and data from malicious attacks.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to stay protected against threats, instead of making it another full time job. By deploying DNS-layer security, IT teams can keep users working from home safe from opportunistic cyber threats, quickly and easily, on all of their devices — even when they aren’t connected to the VPN. You can learn more about how DNS-layer security works in our previous blog post.
Most people set up their home networks for the first time and leave their DNS resolution up to their ISP. But this leads to a major security blind spot. Cybercriminals are eager to take advantage of vulnerable devices by executing malware attacks, and 91% of malware uses DNS to gain command and control, exfiltrate data, or redirect web traffic.
Remote Protection From Cyber Threats
Cisco Umbrella delivers security for remote workers as part of its recursive DNS service, which checks for and blocks malicious or inappropriate domains and IPs. By enforcing security at the DNS and IP layers, Umbrella blocks requests to malware, ransomware, phishing, and botnets before a connection is even established. This means stopping attacks before they start. And since it doesn’t add any latency, Umbrella helps you stay productive on the job without compromising your protection when you’re working from home.
The last thing you need when trying to manage a challenging work from home situation is a slow internet connection or a malware attack. With Cisco Umbrella, you can connect to the internet with confidence on any device, from anywhere, with easy protection from cyber threats. We’re committed to delivering the best, most reliable, and fastest internet experience to every single one of our users. The Umbrella global network processes 200 billion internet requests from over 100 million users across 190 countries worldwide. To make sense of all that data, we’ve developed highly specialized models that block 7 million malicious destinations at any given time — and detect them before any other security provider on the planet.
Your to-do list might feel endless, but staying safe from cyber threats doesn’t have to be frustrating. Sign up for a free trial of Cisco Umbrella and leave the security to us.
Tune in next Tuesday for the next article in our #CyberSelfCare series.