The world has had a rough time following the spread of Coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19. Following the pandemic’s impact on economical, political, and social aspects, one of the biggest adoptions was working from home, also referred to as remote working. If companies and businesses were to continue operating and cut down losses, remote working was the solution.
However, remote working is completely different compared to working at the office in numerous ways, but one aspect this read will focus on is cybersecurity solutions. Companies, especially in this almost entirely digital age, put a lot of effort and resources into protecting their network, IP, and devices in order to protect sensitive data. Unfortunately, using the home network and devices to access company platforms and data does not usually have the same degree of protection. This leaves companies that allow for remote working susceptible to cyberattacks or data leaks.
In the following section, we are going to provide 8 essential cybersecurity tips and tricks to help keep your information secure as you work from home.
1. Install the Reliable and Updated Antivirus Software
Nowadays, almost every workplace has an array of measures designed to protect its networks and devices from malware. These include rules against installing applications on work gadgets, restricted access, and robust security solutions. At home, however, this can be hard to implement, which leaves the company network and data susceptible to hackers and cybercriminals.
As such, it is imperative to ensure that you install reliable antivirus software on your laptop, PC, and other devices that you use to access private information from work. Ideally, this is a precaution to protect your personal information like banking details from the same culprits. If you do not want to invest in a security solution or your company hasn’t provided one, there are numerous reliable free programs that should reduce the risk of being a victim.
2. Use VPN In Public Networks
A virtual private network or VPN is a highly reliable solution when it comes to protecting data being transferred both from your device and the workplace network. A VPN gives you an additional layer of security that hides your IP address, masks your location, and encrypts data during transfer.
In addition, you can leverage a VPN to protect your devices when using a public network such as the free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or the airport. These networks are rarely encrypted, which allows spies or sniffers to gain access to your data using the same network. With a VPN however, all your data including usernames and passwords will be properly encrypted.
3. Encrypt Your Wi-Fi Router
Even the best security solutions won’t be of any help if cyberattackers can access your router and connect to your Wi-Fi. That’s because gaining access to your network allows them to intercept any data you send online including emails, messages, usernames, passwords, documents, and everything else that passes through your Wi-Fi network. As such, ensure you configure your network to make it encrypted.
If you are working remotely and haven’t changed your login and password information, consider doing so now. The default password for most routers is usually weak and can be easily searched online. So, ensure you use a strong custom password for your home Wi-Fi.
4. Update Operating Systems & Programs
Another important practice to prevent cyberattacks is to install all updates to both your operating system and applications. That’s because these updates usually patch new holes in the program that could be exploited by hackers to infiltrate your device or network.
Cyberattackers rely on people overlooking OS and application updates and so, it is imperative to regularly update everything, preferably make it automatic, especially for devices that you utilize for work purposes. This way, you will be on top of everything and avoid catastrophes that are often brought about due to software susceptibility.
5. Lock Your Device When You’re Done Working
It is advisable to lock your computer, laptop, etc when going for a cup of coffee or bathroom break while at work and the same habit should be implemented when working at home. Although the chances of someone catching a glimpse of your private documents and emails are slim, they are not 0%. In addition, you want to prevent chances of an eager pet like a cat sending an unfinished email to your employer or your curious child from deleting or messing with a day’s worth of work. Whether you are working remotely or not, it is trivial to have your device password protected.
6. Leverage a Reliable and Secure Cloud Network
Another great way to keep your data safe is to ensure it’s not stored locally on your computer or smartphone. When possible, store content on the cloud and ensure you use a service that has been approved by your organization’s IT team. Additionally, ensure that you leverage secure cloud-based applications like MS Office 365 or a corporate email solution to exchange documents and other confidential information.
7. Stay Vigilant and Careful
Even with the above-mentioned tips, nothing beats staying careful and vigilant. A convincing spam email is all it takes to take an entire network down. As such, you will want to take the time to double-check the sender and use the appropriate program to scan an email before opening an email.
Be especially careful with emails that include links. If you have your suspicions, do not open it.