How secure is your data when working from home? It might be a lot better now; however, during the enforced lockdown, many workers telecommuting did so without secure access so the risks to business data were higher.
An unsecured internet connection can lead to a devastating data breach, costing thousands or millions of dollars.
Risks When Working Remotely
When remote working access to the company’s systems and the network is via personal devices and personal computers or laptops.
In the absence of general oversight by the company’s security experts, security is not uppermost in workers’ minds when telecommuting.
For example, office networks have dedicated firewalls, VPNs, and antivirus software for each computer, and this prevents unauthorized access and thus keeps data safe.
While in the home, personal devices are often shared with family members or housemates. The more users using the same systems, the greater the risk of downloading malware, and compromising business data.
The onus is on the user to ensure they have a password policy that includes:
- Strong passwords – minimum length 10 and a mix of symbols, numbers, upper and lower case letters
- MFA – use multi-factor authentication to access just about everything from networks, google accounts, sites and so on
- Change passwords every three months – use a password manager that reminds you to update your password
- Apply all software and app updates on all devices
Let’s look in more detail at how your remote working set-up can keep your data safe while working from home.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Most users are unaware of the risks of using unprotected Wi-Fi spots that are easily intercepted. Starting with your home Internet access, here is what you can do to tighten up your Wi-Fi and prevent unauthorized access.
Change your SSID (Service Set Identifier)
The SSID is the name of your network. It has a default name, usually the name of the company that produced your wireless router. Make sure to change it to something else, and don’t make it personal in any way. Additionally, do not forget to update the default router passwords.
Don’t Use Network Name Broadcasting
Go to network settings and disable the network name broadcasting option. It will make your network invisible to other users, and hackers won’t find it that easily.
Install a Quality Firewall
Firewalls protect your connection from unauthorized intrusions. In most cases, wireless routers have a firewall switched off by default. Turn it on and read more about it. In other cases, you can set up firewalls manually and have them protect you from malicious and intrusive attacks.
Use Network Encryption
Most new wireless routers have an encryption feature available. It’s also switched off by default. Turn it on and look for the WPA2 type encryption as it’s the most reliable.
The firmware of the router can have inherited flaws. This is why manufacturers offer updates to patch these security holes. Check if there are any and install them.
Use a Secure Connection at All Times
Ensuring that your network is secure is a must. You can’t allow someone to monitor your activities or intercept any data going back and forth from your devices.
Many people turn to various VPN for protection and peace of mind. Such tools perform encapsulation and encryption to protect all your online affairs. Since they encrypt web traffic, it becomes impossible for someone to misuse it against you.
Even if hackers gain access to your Wi-Fi connection, they will only get the encrypted versions of your data. Usually, the decryption of such information is far too time-consuming for hackers. Additionally, con artists can intercept your connection to gather information for personalized phishing scams. A VPN will also protect you from such malicious tactics.
Set A Work Policy
When working from home, you should treat your security like you do while at the office. Simply put, follow all the processes you’ve established at work and recommended practices. Still, some things should be different.
First of all, always lock your device when leaving it. If possible, don’t allow anyone to use that device except you. If others are using that computer, make sure that you log out from your account and email so they can’t see any business data or access business accounts.
Regularly Update All of Your Software
First, make sure to install antivirus software even if you use a firewall. While they are cybersecurity tools, they both can grant you more immunity when it comes to attacks.
The TechRadar evaluation of available antivirus software is a great way to find the best-suited option. The antivirus programs protect you from malicious software like Trojans, worms, or malware while a firewall stops unauthorized access. After installing them, make sure to update your programs regularly.
Most of the updates have security patches that reinforce data security. Hence, if your operating system frequently offers an update, do not hesitate to take it. If you continue to use an outdated operating system, hackers might exploit flaws to hack you.
Remote working offers workers and the business more flexibility, and post-pandemic, it will continue, but the risks are higher.
Companies must ensure their workers have the right measures to protect data, including ensuring their business IT security is up to the task to keep customer and company data safe. It only takes one worker to have an unsecured connection, and the company suffers a data breach or hack.