Let’s face it – remote work is the new normal. Since 2020, it’s more and more common to learn of companies who allow hybrid or fully remote work schedules for employees – and why shouldn’t they? With so many talented individuals across the country and even across the world, wouldn’t your business want to capitalize on hiring them even if they don’t live near the office? Of course, being in a home office vs. a regular office can’t stop remote employees from being vulnerable to security threats. In fact, from unsecure networks to video call crashers, there are plenty of security risks that are unique to those working-from-home. So as we dive into home office security, FFB Bank has put together a list of measures you can take to make sure that your remote work stays safe and secure.
Hackers Shall Not Pass
Your password is your first line of defense against hackers – and to truly guard your data from criminals, you’ll want to use strong, unique passwords for all your systems and devices. This can be done by using at least 8 characters, per expert recommendations, including a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Essentially, you want to create a password that is difficult enough for someone to guess but not so difficult that you lock yourself out as well. Try to memorize your passwords or store them somewhere securely such as in a password manager. But remember, it’s important not to use one password for too long. In fact, it’s good to change your passwords regularly to keep hackers on their toes.
Don’t Get Reeled in By Phishing
Phishing is a common form of scamming where criminals try to trick you into providing sensitive information by posing as someone that you’re already familiar with. Always beware of emails that tell you to take urgent action, send you unsolicited documents or links, and contain spelling or grammatical errors. Remember this golden rule: think before you click. If you receive an unexpected link or attachment, be sure to verify that it’s actually coming from the person you think you’re talking to. If not, clicking on it could lead hackers to install malware on your device and infiltrate your data. If you don’t trust an email, it’s best not to open it, to delete it, or to report it to your company’s IT team as a phish attempt.
Guard Your Data with a VPN
Whether you’re working from a coffee shop or working from home, be wary of connecting your device to an unsecured network. Public hotspots may be convenient, but they aren’t guaranteed to protect your passwords, emails, and other data from potential criminals. Instead of relying on public wi-fi, try using a virtual public network, or VPN. A VPN is designed to secure you laptop’s connection and encrypt your data as if you were connected to your company’s network. In other words, having a VPN is like giving your laptop its own personal bodyguard to help keep anyone you don’t want to from viewing your internet activity.
Keep Software Up to Date
Making sure that you have the latest and greatest software is another way to help keep your home office safe and secure. After all, software updates often contain new and enhanced features, stability improvements, and additional security measures. But software updates aren’t just limited to your laptop. You should also make sure that your router is running the latest software and is secured with a strong, unique password. Additionally, you can look at the systems you use for work, such as Google Suite or Microsoft Office 365, to ensure that they are up to date as well.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Look, we know it can be annoying having to get another code through text, email, or phone call in order to log in to your accounts. The thing is, enabling MFAs is actually one of the best ways to protect your data from criminals waiting to pounce. It provides that added level of security to keep hackers out – so even if they guess your passcode, they’re still going to need your phone number to steal your data. Not to mention, you’ll be able to catch on to criminal activity quicker if you get a code prompt when you’re not trying to log in to an account.
Careful With Your Video Camera
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of Microsoft Teams ringing – or maybe it’s Zoom? No matter what platform your company uses, we can guarantee that you can’t have remote work without video calls. Of course, those meetings with staff in Michigan, Texas, or any other part of the world can pose security risks as well. When setting up a video call, you’ll want to create a unique meeting ID and passcode or set up a waiting room to avoid unwanted individuals from crashing your call. You can even lock a meeting once it begins to keep those zoom bombers out for good. Once a call has started, you should also ensure that you aren’t oversharing your screen. Double-check that no browser windows with sensitive information are open if your screen is visible to others. The last thing you want is for the person on the other end of the call to see something they’re not meant to see.
The workplace landscape is changing and there’s no hiding from it. As companies expand and hire team members from all over, many more people will be taking work home with them. Work-from-home is an exciting change but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be cautious about. Namely, those working from a home office will need to be wary of security threats both new and old. However, by following some of the tricks we’ve laid out and being aware of common security risks, you’ll end up on the right path to safe remote work.