As remote work becomes more common, employees must know how to keep their work secure while working from home. Cybersecurity threats are rising, and your home network may not be as secure as your workplace’s.
In this article, we’ll provide tips for employees to work from home securely and protect their data and information. From setting up a secure WiFi connection to using strong passwords and avoiding phishing scams, these tips will help you stay safe while working remotely. So whether you’re new to remote work or have been doing it for a while, read on to learn how to keep your work secure from home.
Tips for Employees to Work from Home Securely
As employees adapt to working from home, it is important to ensure they do so securely. Here are some tips for employees to safely work from home and avoid cyber threats.
Secure Your Home Router
Securing your router is among the most crucial steps in establishing your home network. The router connects all devices in your house to the internet and acts as a gateway between your devices and the outside world. To secure your router, change its default login credentials immediately after purchasing it. Feature strong passwords of unfamiliar or unpredictable characters for use in securing an account, for example, uppercase, lowercase letters, and numbers.
Encrypt Your Devices
Encrypting your devices is one way to help keep sensitive information safe and secure while working from home. Encryption involves converting data into a code that only someone with access to a key or password can read. This means that even if your device falls into the wrong hands, it will be difficult for them to access confidential information without the password.
Keep Your Operating System Up-To-Date
Keeping your operating system up-to-date is a crucial step in securing your work-from-home environment. Regular updates contain security patches that help protect against vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Your computer’s operating system should be set to update automatically, or you should regularly check for updates manually.
Another important aspect of keeping your operating system up-to-date is installing software updates for other programs you use frequently. Popular applications such as web browsers and productivity suites often release updates that fix security issues and improve performance. Ensuring these software programs are updated regularly can significantly reduce the risk of a cyber attack on your device and its sensitive data.
Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
As an employee working from home, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your data safe and that of your company.
One of the most crucial steps you can take is keeping all your software up-to-date. This includes your computer’s operating system and any programs or applications you use for work. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software versions to access sensitive information. By regularly updating your software, you’re decreasing the likelihood of these attacks.
Another benefit of updating your software is that it often includes patches for known security issues. Hackers are constantly searching for ways into systems through loopholes or weak spots.
Enable Automatic Locking
One of the most important steps that can be taken to improve security is to enable automatic locking on all devices used for work. Automatic locking ensures that a device is locked after a certain period of inactivity, which helps prevent unauthorized access.
Employees should navigate their device’s settings and locate the security or lock screen options to enable automatic locking. From there, they can set an appropriate time limit for automatic locking based on personal preference and company policy. It’s also important for employees to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication in combination with automatic locking for an added layer of protection.
By enabling automatic locking on all work devices, employees can help protect sensitive information from prying eyes and minimize the risk of data breaches.
Unencrypted File Sharing
Employees can protect company data while working remotely by using secure file-sharing tools. These tools encrypt files before they are shared, making it much harder for anyone without authorization to access them. Encrypted files can only be opened with a unique decryption key, which ensures that sensitive information remains confidential.
Use a Secure Browser and Search Engine
One of the most important things you can do is use a secure browser. A secure browser provides an extra layer of protection against cyberattacks by encrypting your browsing activity and blocking malicious websites. Some popular, secure browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Using one instead of a less secure option like Internet Explorer or Safari can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to phishing scams or malware attacks.
Another important step when working from home is using a secure search engine.
Using Personal Devices for Work
The security risks associated with personal devices that work for businesses pose a significant challenge. For example, if an employee uses an unsecured WiFi network or downloads malicious software on their device, sensitive company information could be compromised. Additionally, using personal devices for work may violate company policies or industry regulations if proper security measures aren’t implemented.
Businesses must implement strict security protocols to address these concerns and ensure secure remote access to company data and systems via personal devices.
Backup Your Data
One crucial aspect of secure remote work is data backup. Employees who work remotely usually face more severe data loss in the event of hardware failure or cyberattacks. To prevent this from happening, workers should regularly back up their files and documents on secure cloud-based platforms or external hard drives. This way, even if their device gets compromised or malfunctions, they can easily recover all their important data.
Turn Off Network Name Broadcasting
As more and more companies adopt remote work policies, it is becoming increasingly important for employees to ensure the security of their home networks. One simple but effective step that employees can take is to turn off network name broadcasting. This means that their WiFi network’s name (also known as the SSID) will not be visible to anyone outside of the home, making it harder for potential hackers or unauthorized users to access the network.
When a WiFi network broadcasts its name, it essentially “advertises” its presence and invites devices within range to connect. While this can be convenient for legitimate users who need to connect quickly and easily, it also makes it easier for cybercriminals or malicious actors to identify vulnerable networks and potentially gain access without permission.
Enable Access Control
One way to enhance security in a remote work environment is by enabling access control measures. Access control refers to systems or policies that limit who can access certain resources within an organization based on factors such as job role or location. By implementing access controls for remote workers, businesses can ensure that only authorized personnel can view or edit sensitive information. This helps prevent accidental data leaks and makes it easier for IT teams to monitor network activity for signs of suspicious behavior.
Watch Out for Phishing Sites
One of the most crucial tips for employees working from home is to watch out for phishing sites. Cybercriminals often create fake websites that look legitimate to steal login credentials and other sensitive information. Employees should always double-check the website’s URL before entering any login details or clicking on links sent via email or messaging.
In addition to being vigilant about phishing sites, employees should ensure they have updated anti-virus software installed on their devices. This helps protect against malware attacks and viruses that could compromise confidential business data.
Use a Virtual Private network.
One effective way to work from home securely is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN allows you to connect to the internet through an encrypted and secure connection, making your online activities private and protecting your personal information. Using a VPN, you can also access company resources securely as if you were physically in the office.
Secure Your WiFi Network
As more and more companies adjust to the new normal of remote work, there is a growing concern over the security of employees’ home networks. With sensitive company information transmitted through personal internet connections, workers need to secure their WiFi networks.
One way to ensure a secure network is to change the default password that comes with your router. Hackers often use pre-set passwords found online or on the device to enter wireless networks. Creating a unique and strong password can deter unauthorized access.
In addition, enabling WPA2 encryption on your router adds another layer of protection. This encrypts data sent between devices on your network, making it much harder for hackers to intercept and read sensitive information. It’s also important to keep your router’s firmware up-to-date, as updates often address security vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit.
Working from home can be a great opportunity for employees to enjoy flexibility and avoid the daily commute. However, it’s important to prioritize cybersecurity in your remote work setup to keep sensitive information safe and secure. You can create a safer and more productive work environment at home by following the tips outlined in this article, such as utilizing strong passwords, staying vigilant against phishing attacks, and using secure connections. Remember that staying safe online is an ongoing process that requires diligence and awareness. With these best practices in mind, you can continue thriving as a remote worker while protecting your data. Stay safe and stay productive!