Working from home can be preferable to working from the office for many reasons: no commute, more time in the day, better ability to focus on your tasks, et cetera. However, working from home also poses unique challenges that you may not have considered when working from the office. As more and more companies are switching to remote operations, employees must begin to understand the importance of working securely. This means protecting your and your company’s private data as best you can, thwarting hackers, and preventing data loss by following cybersecurity best practices. It may sound like a difficult task, but in reality, it requires only five simple steps to majorly improve the data security of your remote work.
- Be Vigilant
The first and biggest obstacle in the way of hackers should be you, the employee. Technology alone cannot protect you, so you are the best defense. Hackers have learned that one of the easiest ways to access information is by targeting individuals rather than technology. Instead of taking control of your computer to obtain information, they’ll try to trick you into handing it to them. One of the most common tactics is to send an email that looks like it came from a trusted source but actually dupes you into clicking on a malicious link. In order to protect yourself from these tricks, always closely analyze and verify the email address of the sender. If it does not come from a URL that you are familiar with and trust, don’t click on any links in the email. If the sender claims to be a friend, colleague, or family member, verify this with them over the phone. This is especially true if the tone of the email sounds suspicious or if there seems to be a sense of urgency created which encourages you to bypass data security procedures.
- Secure Your Home Network
That vast majority of homes will have Wi-Fi networks which allow devices to connect to the Internet. Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to hacking, so make sure that you take extra precautions to strengthen the data security of your home network. The most important thing to do is to make sure that your network requires a password in order to connect. This password should never be the default manufacturer password, and should instead be a strong passphrase of 10+ letters, numbers, and special characters. Creating a strong password ensures that only people you trust can join your home’s wireless network. It only takes a few seconds, and it can protect you, your family, and your company from a costly data breach.
- Use Strong Passwords
In addition to using strong passwords to protect your network, you should continue using varied and strong passwords across all of your devices and online accounts. If possible, use a unique password for each different device or account. If this is too difficult to remember, use an encrypted password manager app to help you keep track. Always enable two-factor authentication wherever it is offered, as well. This is one of the most important and effective steps you can take to protect your online accounts.
- Always Update Software
Another simple way to secure your devices and work safely from home is to constantly update your software when possible. Cyber attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in the software that your devices use. When they discover these vulnerabilities, they use special programs to exploit them and hack into the devices. Meanwhile, the companies that created the software for these devices are hard at work fixing the vulnerabilities by releasing updates. By installing these updates on your devices right away, you make it much harder for someone to hack you. This rule applies to almost any technology connected to a network, including your work devices, internet-connected TVs, baby monitors, security cameras, home routers, or even your car. Following these cybersecurity best practices will help you remain safe and secured in many more aspects of your life than just work.
- Be Careful of Kids & Guests
Something that you most likely don’t have to worry about at work is kids or guests using your devices. When working from home, make sure that family and friends know that they aren’t allowed to use your work devices for their leisure. They may accidentally delete information, modify something, or even infect your computer. This could all compromise your personal safety and get you in trouble with your employer.
If you follow these five simple tips, you should be able to work securely from home worry-free. C3 Tech also offers managed IT services for small businesses, so we can monitor your company’s network and data security 24/7 and alert you of any data breaches as soon as they happen. We also provide cybersecurity training for employees, so they can learn best practices to implement both at home and in the workplace. To find out more about our services, give us a call at (714) 689-1700 today.