Robust information security management has been vital in companies for years. But today, millions more Americans work from home than just two years ago, and data security has taken on new importance.
The tips below will ensure your data stays secure no matter where you are when you work.
The FTC stresses that anyone working from home should begin with basic cybersecurity principles.
First, make sure all of the software on your work computer and devices are up to date. Next, use complicated passwords on every app and device, and change them every three months.
The best passwords have a minimum of 12 characters and have letters, numbers, and symbols. Any word in the dictionary is less secure, so come up with something that isn’t.
Never Use Public WiFi
Using public WiFi is a high-risk behavior that can compromise critical data. If you must use public WiFi, try to use a personal hotspot from your cell phone. Web traffic will not be encrypted from your phone to the destination, but the hotspot ensures you won’t get hacked when using that public WiFi.
Don’t Move Work Data From Work PC
You’re lying in bed with your personal laptop, and you’re tempted to reply to a few work emails before bedtime. But your work computer probably has encrypted WiFi, VPN, and other safeguards, so you shouldn’t use your personal laptop for work because it probably isn’t as secure.
If your company has a good IT team, your work computer probably has regular software updates and scans for hacking. But, unfortunately, you probably aren’t doing the same on your personal computer.
Also, large companies often have the money for more robust data security, so your personal laptop isn’t safe for work emails or anything else work-related.
Keep Home Network Secure
Keep your network secure by looking at your router. You should be using encryption, which is usually WPA2 or 3. When data is encrypted, it’s scrambled when it goes over your network and outside your home, so hackers cannot read it.
WPA2 and 3 are the best encryption standards that safeguard information sent on wireless networks.
If your router doesn’t have these encryption options, you should probably buy a new router.
Whatever type of router you have, come up with a unique password; it should be almost impossible for someone to guess. Also, consider changing the name of the network, and never use your physical address to identify your network
Working from home may mean you connect to your company’s VPN or Virtual Private Network. But this can open ‘back doors’ that hackers can get through.
You should know how to make your VPN as secure as you can. One way is to use the best way to authenticate users. For example, your system may use a regular username and password, but consider using a smart card.
You also can boost encryption strength by using L2TP, which is Layer Two Tunneling Protocol.
It won’t matter how great your VPN is if other workers use weak passwords. So, everyone who uses the VPN system remotely should have complex passwords updated every month or so.
Also, experts note that the VPN only should be used when needed, and it should be shut down if workers aren’t using it.
The above security awareness tips are what can keep your data and information secure when you’re working off-site. It can take practice and effort, but once you have internalized these safety tips, your information will be safer when you work from home.
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