As the COVID-19 pandemic marches on, many professionals continue to work remotely and some employers are even considering permanent work from home policies. With no clear end in sight, it’s important to refresh your knowledge of security best practices when you’re working away from the office.
Remember, when you’re within the walls of your office building, there are multiple processes and protections built in to protect you and company information. When you’re working elsewhere, it’s up to you to stay vigilant and follow these best practices.
Secure your home wireless network
One of the simplest steps to make your home office more secure and prevent unauthorized access is to strengthen the security of your home Wi-Fi. You can do this by creating a strong password (Don’t use the generic password you were given at set-up!) and changing the name of your network (the SSID). Avoid names that contain your own name, address and any other information that could be used to identify you.
Whenever you use your work computer, always log into your VPN (virtual private network). This provides additional walls of security and protects the data on your device. Be sure to strengthen the password you use to access your VPN and change it often.
Protect your device when working in public
If you decide to work in a public place, such as a coffee shop or park, understand that you’ll need to take extra precautions to protect your device and its data, such as:
- Avoiding public Wi-Fi since it can be intercepted. Use a personal hotspot instead.
- Strategically choose the area in which you sit to make it harder for others to see your screen.
- When you’re not using your devices, keep them locked and near you. Don’t leave your devices unattended, not even in your own car.
Keep work data on work computers
IT teams go to great lengths to make work devices more secure, including installing regular updates, running antivirus software, blocking malicious emails from entering your inbox, blocking potentially malicious sites, and more. Since your home computer likely does not have these safeguards in place, it is not safe for work use.
In addition to keeping work data off personal computers, use caution when using your home printer and other complementary devices. Some printers retain data, so you should not use your home printer to print documents containing sensitive company or customer information.
Utilize security features in web conferencing tools
Web conferencing tools have become a huge part of maintaining communication with our coworkers, family and friends. Luckily, due to the huge spike in use, web conferencing tools have implemented new security measures to protect against unauthorized users listening in to your calls. Check out this article for tips on using these security features.
Beware of phishing attacks
A phishing attack is a type of social engineering attack that involves a scammer disguised as a trusted entity trying to steal your personal information and access your device. The disguised scammer usually sends a message containing a malicious link and urges you to click on it.
Phishing attacks tend to increase during unusual environments or crises, so as the pandemic and news related to the vaccine continue, stay extra vigilant and be sure to think before you click!