10 VITAL Security Tips for Working From Home (That Actually Work)
Work-from-home security has never been more important.
Not only is cybercrime on the rise now that scammers have more free time (and more people to pick on) but employees who’ve never worked from home before are now working in unfamiliar environments and with unfamiliar technologies.
If working from home is your new normal because of the Coronavirus pandemic, you must take cybersecurity seriously. Even a single slip-up could endanger you, your colleagues, and your entire company.
In this guide, we’ll explain 10 vital security tips for working from home in plain English. Don’t worry, this isn’t nearly as grave or complex as we’re making it seem.
Here’s how to stay safe….
Home Cyber Threats ARE REAL (And You Probably Aren’t Even Aware of Them)
It’s hard to even write this…
But it’s been confirmed that hackers created a phony Coronavirus app pretending to be the WHO.
Criminals are taking every chance to exploit the fear and uncertainty of these times, with even INTERPOL warning of increased frequencies of telephone and phishing schemes related to the virus.
That’s not all….
Google has confirmed that it saw 18 MILLION malware and phishing schemes related to Corona…EVERY DAY.
Security threats are real and everything from your own bank account to your company’s sensitive data is at risk.
Phishing schemes are not the only threat. Working from home (the “new normal”) in and of itself poses risks not associated with the office. For example:
- Your Network: Many home networks are already infected with malware. It makes sense though, right? Home networks don’t have the same security as offices, and children or family might not know what is and isn’t dangerous on the web. If the network is already compromised, connecting a work device to it is a major threat.
- Your Location: You’re no longer working in the office. That means you’ll be in earshot of people outside the company. Everything from employee data to confidential business secrets could be compromised without you knowing.
- Your Work Apps: Zoom lunch anyone? Actually, can we get a rain check until the 3 class-action lawsuits against the company for security risks get settled? The new normal requires employees to use new, strange, and complicated technologies, many of which have their own security risks!
OK, scared yet?
Don’t be. For one, your company SHOULD have security systems in place to prevent a catastrophe.
If a single employee’s misstep could ruin an entire business, then that’s on the business, NOT the employee.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take this seriously.
Here are 10 tips to keep you, your coworkers, and your business safe in the new normal. Here’s to hoping we can all work from home even after the virus is eradicated!
10 Work-From-Home Security Tips
If you’re working from home, these 10 tips will help keep you secure.
The Absolute Basics
Some tips have nothing to do with your network and everything to do with you and your behavior.
#1) Be mindful of your surroundings: No brainer here. Be careful of where you work and who can hear what you’re saying, especially if you’ve got daily meetings. All your family member or friend has to do is mutter something to the wrong ears and you could have an issue. Also, be careful of who can peak in at your device while you’re not around. Which leads us to…
#2) Close your laptop!: If you have to leave home, close your laptop and secure it along with any other devices you use for work!
#3) Close up shop at the end of the day: You’d lock the office up if you were the last to leave, wouldn’t you? Same goes for the new normal. Put your things away in a secure place, especially if you live with roommates.
TIP: Just because you have headphones on doesn’t mean others can’t hear what YOU ARE SAYING. And be sure to use secure software that features 2FA, like Microsoft Teams!
Device and Network Security
#4) Use ONLY work devices: Your work devices should already have security in place. Using your personal devices puts your company at risk, and it makes YOU a target rather than the company. Your computer almost certainly has more malware already, and friends or family could also be a risk. The US Treasury reported that 27.5% of the time, financial crimes were committed by someone the victim knew.
#5) Secure your network: You absolutely MUST enable WPA 2 or WPA 3 on your router. These technologies scramble information so hackers can’t read it. Think of it like the military using the Enigma machine or WindTalkers using Navajo code to transmit sensitive data—only 100x more powerful.
Here’s how to enable it in MOST routers (or just check to make sure):
- Enter your username and password
- Click the WIRELESS SETTINGS button
- Find ADVANCED SECURITY SETTINGS
- Select WPA 2 or 3
That’s it. You’re secure! Mostly…that doesn’t mean stop reading!
#6) Software and passwords: Make sure all of your devices and programs (including email) are password protected. And use strong, varied, and unique passwords for EACH ONE. For software, always make sure you have the most up-to-date software available. Cybercrime often outpaces cybersecurity. Criminals are on the cutting edge, so you must be too.
#7) Now check your other devices: Home assistant? Smart fridge? Kid’s iPhone? If they’re all connected to the same network, then they’re all entry points into the same system. Think of it like you would your home security. It doesn’t matter if your front door is The Wall from Game of Thrones. if your back door is unlocked, Wildlings can get in. Make sure all devices are secured with strong passwords and the latest security software.
Data Security Tips
#8) Keep your browser ON LOCK: You know those helpful extensions that help you find deals or store your Bitcoin? Yeah, some of them may be compromised. It’s not a big deal if you aren’t dealing with sensitive information, but times have changed. If you’re going to work on a laptop, disable all but necessary extensions BEFORE working. And only use ones you can TRUST.
#9) Secure documents: One of the main reasons Soda PDF is so valuable for remote companies is its security features. Securing documents with passwords and permissions ensures that only approved eyes can see documents. When working with sensitive information, the only way to be sure nothing gets out is with strict password enforcement. We highly recommend only sharing documents with permissions and passwords.
#10) Use a password manager (with 2FA!): You know those passwords we were just talking about? Use a strong password manager to store them all in one place. Now, instead of having to remember every password or risk having them saved on an unsecured network, they’ll be under lock and key in one impenetrable location. How do you make it impenetrable? Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires a one-time password for access. So anytime you try to use your PW manager, you’ll need to enter a code sent to your phone or email to even get in. Lockdown!
The best offense is a good defense when it comes to cybersecurity. Use common sense and you’ll be OK. Never trust links from people you don’t know, and always beware of anyone who threatens you or creates a severe sense of urgency.
Government agencies will never threaten you or force you to pay anything via a link. And the WHO certainly wouldn’t promote its app via a link on Facebook Messenger.
BONUS TIP: Be sure to save your files as secure PDFs. Learn how to increase your document security by adding password protection to your PDFs.
Stay safe and stay socially distant!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you keep secure when employees work from home?
A: Keeping things secure when employees work from home is difficult but not impossible. First, you must mandate that all employees use work devices and enable encryption on their home networks. Next, you must make employees use strong passwords on all devices and work form secure areas.
Q: How does a VPN keep you secure when working at home?
A: A VPN keeps you secure when working from home by creating a private tunnel through a public network that directly connects the employee’s device to your network. That means your employee can send information directly via a private tunnel that no one else can see, keeping it safe from other user’s eyes.
Q: Is a VPN illegal?
A: No, VPNs themselves ARE NOT illegal. However, any activity done via a VPN that is otherwise illegal is STILL illegal. For example, internet gambling in a state where it’s not legal is still illegal when using a VPN.
Q: How do you write a work from home policy?
A: writing a work from home policy is simple. First, establish a clear purpose and define clear parameters. Next, explain the importance of keeping secure while working from home, and define clear policies for maintaining cybersecurity while working remotely. Most work from home security policies are just normal cybersecurity policies with a few key differences.
Q: How do I make my remote desktop connection more secure?
A: You can make your remote desktop connection more secure by using stronger passwords, setting up a VPN, never using extensions that you don’t trust, enabling encryption, and restricting access via a firewall.
The Most Secure Way to Modify PDFs
You’ve got PDFs that need editing, but you don’t know how to get around this seemingly un-editable file format.
Enter Soda PDF: the easy-to-use software solution packed with all the PDF tools you need to modify your documents to your needs.
With Soda PDF, you can edit, create, convert, merge, split and even secure your PDFs with advanced security options that allow you to add password protection or set permissions for accessing your document.
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