When you’re at the office, there’s probably an IT guy taking care of things you don’t think about, like data security and password vulnerability. You’re probably given a randomly generated password to use as your login, and your office computer might even have encryption on it if the IT guy’s good at what he does.
But that responsibility falls on your shoulders when you’re working from home. You have to ensure that you won’t be the starting point for a massive data breach, which can be a significant burden to bear if you’re not used to it.
Thankfully, it’s easy to ensure you’re doing your absolute best to keep your data safe, and it’ll be easier still if you follow the essential cybersecurity tips for remote workers we’ve outlined below!
Essential Cybersecurity Tips for When You’re Working from Home
1. Change Your Router’s Default Password
A lot of people think their biggest vulnerability would have a subpar antivirus program, and while that’s not exactly wrong, it’s not dead right either. When you’re working from home using your Wi-Fi (or even at a coffee place using their’s), that’s your most significant vulnerability: the Wi-Fi network!
The good news is that there’s a lot you can do when it comes to staying safe on public wifi networks. Make sure your antivirus is scanning all downloaded files, for one, and changing the default password for your home Wi-Fi. A default password is what your router defaults to when reset, and since these often come preset from the factory, hackers often know these, so they’ll have an easier time getting into your network.
So change that password, and preferably use a Google-generated password to ensure it can’t be brute-forced!
2. Back-Up Your Digital Documents
Seriously. You might trust Google Drive (or Azure or even AWS if you’re a professional) to keep your documents safe, but uploading them to your Drive folder shouldn’t be all you’re doing.
Any business professional’s probably going to have hundreds of documents on their device, and to make sure all of them stay safe from the hands of malicious third parties, don’t keep any paper records or even files on your device.
Instead, upload everything to a private, securely encrypted server, and stay reassured that your data is being protected with the best encryption in the industry.
3. Keep Your Software Updated
This one’s a no-brainer. Whether it’s your Windows version or a software update for your antivirus program, keeping your software up-to-date is the only way to ensure everything’s working as intended. This is especially important for software like Wi-Fi firmware and even your printer software (because everything’s a vulnerability right now!).
4. Use 2FA With Your Passwords
It’s hardly the cutting edge of cybersecurity, but you’d be surprised to know just how far 2fA protects your privacy. A strong password is always good (preferably with as many special characters as the random password generator can throw in there), but with 2FA, you add an extra layer of security that makes it impossible for the large majority of malicious third parties to get to your data.
Usually, 2FA works by sending a code to your phone’s authenticator app, which means when you’ve enabled it, a hacker will need to get access to your phone, too, if they want to compromise your documents.
5. Don’t Overshare Your Screen
If you have to frequently attend work meetings while working remotely, you might’ve had to share your screen. There’s no natural way to get past that, but a great tip is to only share what you need to. Don’t have windows or programs open in your taskbar that you don’t need, and close tabs in your browser that you won’t need for the meeting.
This doesn’t just keep you safe but also goes a step further in that it protects your privacy, and at the end of the day, that’s what cybersecurity is all about.
6. Get a Decent Antivirus Program
A strong password and 2FA aren’t the only ways to protect your data from breaches. Crooks usually try to get into your system through a drive-by download or something inconspicuous. An innocent little file that downloads itself automatically; you won’t even see it, but it’ll give them 24-hour access to your system!
The only way to protect yourself against this particularly insidious threat is with a decent antivirus system (and not one of the free picks either). We’ll leave which one up to your preference, but the bottom line is that a strong antivirus program is the foundation of your cybersecurity plan!
7. Start Using a VPN
Standing for “Virtual Private Network,” a VPN is a handy tool that lets you change where your data originates from. You could be working from home in the US, but your IP address may appear to show that you’re in Bolivia (that’s just an example, by the way: most VPNs let you choose locations too).
Even better is that VPNs use strong encryption for the data they process, for the same reason that you, as a remote worker, want to beef up your cybersecurity: they can’t let their client data sit out in the open.
If you’re working with sensitive files or even regular customer data, this can be an invaluable trick to keep your data safe.
8. Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are data breaches that focus on stealing your details when they’re sent to your email but can also be tailored to steal things like your work login details when they’re sent to your work email. This is the most obvious tip we’ve given you, but if you see a suspicious email with a discount code or something, don’t open it. Don’t even click on it, and preferably delete it!
Some email systems also have options to report users, so if that’s an option available to you, report the user for sending phishing emails. Email providers rarely look favorably at malicious third parties like that, and they’ve got all the evidence in front of them.
When you’re working remotely, it’s on you to keep your company details safe, but that doesn’t mean you have to get stressed out. Instead, take it from us: if you do your research and take the time to figure out the best ways to keep your data safe, it’s not that hard to make your home office just as secure as your office environment!
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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