Over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the work habits of individuals and businesses around the world. Kitchens, guest bedrooms, and living room couches were all converted into office spaces. This unique transition has required flexibility to adapt to a new environment, and with that comes a new set of cyber security risks. The personal devices you use when working from home may not offer the same level of security you get with employer-issued devices. Check out these seven cyber security tips that could help keep your data and devices safe while working remotely.
1. Don’t Delay Software Updates
Installing software, including antivirus software, on your devices can greatly reduce the likelihood of a virus infecting your machines. The best antivirus software also provides regular updates to make sure you are protected against the latest threats. If you are alerted about a software update on any of your devices, install it as soon as possible. Software updates recognize vulnerabilities in your security and help safeguard your data.
2. Keep Work and Personal Devices Separate
Do what you can to keep your devices separate from your work devices. If you do work tasks on your home computer, you might jeopardize sensitive business information if your personal computer lacks the proper security. Although it may seem like a hassle to use a different device to pay bills or send personal emails, make an effort to switch between devices.
3. Use a VPN and Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks
A VPN, or virtual private network, secures the information transmitted between employee and employer through data encryption. If you’re using a VPN on one of your devices, don’t turn it off while you’re working. Otherwise, you’ll lose a tool that could block any attempt to steal proprietary information. If you need a change of scenery and decide to work from a local coffee shop or neighborhood park, be sure to avoid public Wi-Fi networks — unless you’ve signed in to your employer’s VPN.
4. Beware of Phishing Scams and Your Email Security
Emails are essential for communication between colleagues. However, phishing scams use fake emails as a common way to exploit and compromise your data. For example, you receive an email that appears to be from your company which includes an attachment or embedded link that the scammer wants you to click. That click could download malware to your device, providing access to account numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information. Verify that your company’s VPN is up to date and that emails can only be accessed securely through that VPN.
5. Invest in a Sliding Webcam Cover
Zoom calls and video conferencing remain a big part of working remotely and require the use of a webcam. Unfortunately, smart cybercriminals can gain access to your webcam without permission and spy on you as you work. If you have sensitive documents around your physical workspace, they may be able to view them by hijacking your webcam. If your webcam is separate from your device, you should unplug it whenever you’re not using it. If you have a built-in webcam, consider installing a sliding webcam cover. They are easy to find online in all shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your needs.
6. Make Sure Passwords Are Strong and Secure
Your devices, Wi-Fi network, and router should always be password-protected. Routers are often set up with very basic passwords by default, such as “admin” or “12345”. Don’t simply accept the automatic password — make it unique. You should also create strong, lengthy passwords for every online account you log in to on an employer-issued device. Combine uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and special characters, such as “&” or “$,” and update your passwords regularly.
7. Lock Your Devices
If you step away from your desk or leave your device unattended in a public place, be sure to lock it. It’s important to keep sensitive information hidden from prying eyes — children, partners, roommates, visitors, or any other passerby. On most devices, you can usually accomplish this via a quick keyboard shortcut. Locking your devices with passwords, codes, or patterns can reduce the risk that someone can access the personal and work information stored on them.
Boost Your Work-From-Home Cyber Security with Mindcore
While working from home is convenient and has many benefits, it exposes companies to a wide range of cyber security risks. At Mindcore, we offer customized cyber security services in New Jersey and Florida to help protect your computer systems, networks, devices, and data from attacks. Our specialists stay up to date with the latest threats in the industry so you can work confidently, with minimal disruption. Contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule a consultation.