It’s hard to believe we are quickly approaching the one-year mark of when many of us began working from home. What was once considered a luxury, working from home became a necessity for millions of employees in 2020. Although we’ve got a year under our belts, it’s still important to make sure we revisit the security measures needed to keep sensitive data safe. Whether you’re using a work computer or a personal device, securing your network and devices is crucial in a work-from-home setting. Here are six important things to remember when reviewing your work setup.
- Use a VPN. Virtual Private Networks create a secure connection between your device and the internet, allowing the user to hide their IP address and transfer data through highly secured and encrypted “tunnels”. The VPN also allows users to access workplace files remotely, so a personal laptop can instantly and securely become a work laptop. This is a strong and helpful tool for employees who are not able to stop by the office when they need access to an old file. Make sure to check with your employer’s cyber security policies to ensure you’re using an approved VPN.
- Invest in strong antivirus software. This is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to protect your computer’s data from cybercrime. There are dozens of credible and reliable software providers that will prevent malware, viruses and phishing scams from infiltrating your device and putting you or your company’s data at risk.
- Make sure you are the only one using your work device. This tip may be impossible for some, as it’s typical for families to share devices. However, when possible, designate one device to use exclusively as your work device. Having others using your work computer opens the potential of accidental deleting or disseminating of classified files.
- Understand your company’s storage solutions. Most companies are currently relying on cloud storage for files, allowing employees in any locations to access and edit centralized information. Making sure you understand how to access and contribute to these storage settings is important for those of us working from home. Be sure you aren’t saving files that need to be shared with coworkers locally on your devices where they won’t be accessible to others. Cloud storage has the added advantage of not being tied to any one device, meaning if anything happens to your hardware, the files will still survive.
- Get a sliding webcam cover. We’ve all learned the “new normal” for work meetings, teleconferences. While some may struggle with the mute button from time-to-time, a much more serious issue with the reliance of teleconference software is the exposure to webcam hacking. Even when you aren’t using your webcam, cybercriminals can hack into it to spy on you in your home. Sliding webcam covers are a cheap and easy to find solution that instantly takes away the threat. If you are using an external webcam, make sure to unplug it when you aren’t using it.
- Update your passwords consistently. This is a good piece of advice for all parts of your digital life, not just work. The easiest way to prevent cybercrime is to have strong, unique passwords on all of your devices and apps. It’s equally important to change these passwords frequently (it’s recommended to do this every six months) and to use different passwords for different websites, apps, software, etc. While it may be tough to remember a whole grip of passwords, this is a necessary hassle to go through to protect yourself and your employer.
Now that we’ve all gotten used to working from home, there is a strong possibility that remote working isn’t going away any time soon, even as the world begins to reopen. Keeping these tips in mind and being diligent about your cyber safety will remain important for the foreseeable future. Stay safe out there everyone!