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Someone in my Twitter timeline wrote a post that resonated with me. Instead of advocating the idea of our firms mandating what we can and cannot do in our homes as working from home (WFH) standards, she said how gracious it was for us to let the firms into our home environments where we had already made investments in how and where we wanted to work in our personal space.

So much of what we do daily in our personal ecosphere requires authentication. The WFH bit is just another component of our personal cyber narrative as to what we consume, participate in and add our contributions towards.

We managed our personal data storage, verify both ourselves and others in our ecosystem and give access and control our mobile usage. We already approve or deny information requests in our mailbox, in our apps and in our lives in real time.

But many in the remote workforce lack discipline in following best cybersecurity practices in their home environment. This includes enforcing strong passwords, recognizing phishing emails, and not changing their WiFi protocols to WPA.

I would like to see firms understand that to be good cyber citizens, we need to accountable and protected users. Hiring someone with that profile aids in enabling a secure corporate environment.

Hiring for good cyber practices

So, how can you show an employer your cyber street smarts as an accountable and protected user? 

For me, this can be shown three ways:

  1. By investing in cybersecurity training and badging yourself accordingly on your credentials. Many folks who are WFH have some time to make personal training investments. And as discussed in this recent Cisco blog, gamification is a proven tool for instant feedback to reinforce learners’ hard work. In addition, gamification can promote behavioral changes through a badge system. So to run your home office as you would your physical one, re-skill to have credentials that a hiring employer recognizes.
  2. By investing in personal identity management and verification tools. Whether these are commercial variations (e.g. ThisIsMe) or nationally accepted tools (e.g. in Belgium, ItsMe), solutions like these allow verification of people when interacting online, thus giving them the control over their identity data.
  3. By managing your home network more professionally. Much like you need to keep your laptop or desktop’s operating system updated, you’ll want to double-check your gear, encryption, firewall, and DNS settings. The good news is you can do this yourself. The bad news is that it takes time to do correctly.

And keep your own profile and details clean and accurate. Verification of personal profiles on social media, bank accounts and governmental filing (IRS, FICA) as well as participation in marketplaces as a buyer or seller – all of these in a world where data rights are yet to be upheld. Your aim should be to bring more control to protecting your identity data.

A user that focuses on their own data narrative, one where they are both accountable and protected, is not only a more informed user but less of a risk for WFH ecosystems, as their personal sensitivity to risk is already better addressed.


Author Profile: Dr. Alea Fairchild, Principal Advisor, Technology Enablement , Ecosystm. Dr. Alea Fairchild (@afairch) is a technology commentator and infrastructure specialist. Alea covers the convergence of technology in the cloud, mobile and social spaces. She has a passion for the design and optimisation of physical spaces, exploring how technology can enhance user experiences. Alea helps global enterprises profit from digital process redesign. Outside of her work with Ecosystm, Alea is a Research Fellow at The Constantia Institute, which is a Brussels-based technology policy think-tank focusing on innovation and technological advances and their impact on industry and society. She also teaches graduate courses in technology marketing at KU Leuven in Belgium. Alea received her Doctorate in Applied Economics from Univ. Hasselt in Belgium based on her research in the area of banking and technology. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.