One of the many societal changes that COVID-19 has brought about is working from home professionals. Millions of workers are now dealing with confidential data outside the secure network and premises of their offices, where they had the IT team monitoring the network at all times. Working from home has presented professionals with several challenges and one of these is the security of the home office set up.
While working from home one thing is for sure, that you will be conducting all your duties over the internet and thus expose yourself and the company data to cyber risks. The simplest and most obvious way to contribute towards the security of your network is through a subscription to a well-reputed and reliable internet service provider that makes sure your logs are kept secure and provides an internet security suite to keep hackers at bay.
If you are not aware of such a provider and would like to sign up for one, you can check Spectrum’s availability in your area. The Spectrum bundle deals offer internet, cable television, and home phone in one package, along with a free internet modem and antivirus security suite. However, you can choose standalone or two services of your choice as well.
Now moving on to the topic at hand let us discuss in detail what further actions you can take to create airtight security of your network. From preventing phishing attacks to securing the Wi-Fi network, we are going to share tips and tricks on how to keep your data secure while you work from home. It is not a comprehensive list and there may surely be many other ways of improving the security of a home network, but these will surely provide you the basics and get you started on the work from home security.
Use the work device
Even though it might seem convenient to use the same device for work and your personal use, it is not a good idea when it comes to security. It opens your work-related data to so many vulnerabilities because of the various non-essential applications like torrenting software, games, etc. On top of that, there may be other people in the house using the device as well. Therefore, it is better to limit your work to the work computer. It will already have all the necessary protection, documents, and applications you need.
However, it is important to ensure that nobody else uses your work computer when you bring it home; otherwise, it just kills the purpose of trying to create a secure office environment. We will assume that since it is a company laptop it is secured with a password, however, when unlocked, anyone can use it. So even when working at home continue the practice of locking your screen as soon as you have to get up, just like you used to in the office.
If you deal with very sensitive information, you may have to add physical security. Sitting in a separate room where nobody disturbs you while you work and locking the room or at least the computer once you are done is essential. If unfortunately, you lose your device or it is stolen, inform the office immediately so they can take the necessary measure to ensure the confidentiality of the data on your computer.
Encrypt all data
You may be aware of encrypting your data through a VPN when working over the internet to ensure it is not stolen and misused. It is essential to encrypt your emails, messages, and any other form of communication. However, it is equally important to encrypt your hard drives so that if your work phone or computer is ever stolen at least you can rest assured that the confidential data stays secure. All devices powered by iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS have built-in encryption systems that you have to turn on. However, if you are like most of us and cannot seem to remember passwords it will be a good idea to write down the recovery codes and keep them safe.
Regularly update devices, applications, and programs
Updates are developed in response to newly discovered vulnerabilities and bugs. Therefore, it is imperative to run regular updates to all your devices to ensure maximum protection. If you are running an old version of an operating system or application your device can fall victim to the new bugs that have emerged since the last time you updated.
Use unique and strong passwords
The first line of defense in the war against cybercrimes are the passwords you set up for your accounts. It is recommended that you use a different account for each account that you use for work. A good and strong password is usually 16 characters that include upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters. You can use a password manager to make life easier for you because keeping track of passwords can get tricky.
Activate two-factor authentication
Remember when you sign in to your banking app and punch in your password but you still have to wait for a code to be sent to your email or mobile number? That is what two-factor authentication is all about. It ensures that even if a cybercriminal figures out your password they cannot access your account without the code sent directly to you. It also acts as an alert in case you are not the one trying to log in. Therefore, turn on two-factor authentication everywhere it is necessary and possible.
Ensure secure network access
When working remotely it is essential to use a VPN to access any work-related applications, data, and services. You must ensure that you never transmit any sensitive information over an insecure network or external application and put the integrity of your data in jeopardy.
Last but most important, take care of yourself. When working from home it can become difficult to maintain a routine and to stay focused on work. There are just too many distractions and something more important keeps coming up. Get a good night’s sleep every night, maintain work timings, and talk to colleagues and friends often. Moreover, do not forget to take breaks.