3 Cybersecurity Tips for Working From Home
Even though remote work is now more prevalent than ever, many employers are still leery about letting employees operate entirely from the comfort of their own home. Productivity aside, a common reason we’ve seen for this anxiety involves cybersecurity. The fear that home offices are inherently less secure than corporate offices.
There’s certainly some merit to that fear. The proliferation of consumer devices means there are countless potential access points for a hacker - countless vulnerabilities they could exploit. Never mind the fact that most employees have a downright abysmal approach to security hygiene in their personal lives.
Assuming your employer isn’t among those that fear remote work, here are a few ways you can ensure their trust in you is well-placed.
Do Away With Default Usernames and Passwords
For each new device you bring online, it’s imperative that you change the default login credentials. This is especially true of webcams, Internet-connected printers, and routers. Any piece of hardware that uses a default username and password is a massive security risk.
With that in mind, you should also make sure you have a strong, unique password for every online service you use over the course of a workday. Since it’s not exactly reasonable to expect any human being to remember distinctive login information for that many different accounts, it’s advisable to keep track of everything via a password manager.
Invest in a Decent Router
Your ISP probably gave you a router when you signed up for the Internet. Return it. Most of the time, ISPs provide their clients with older routers that are, as Wired Magazine notes, an absolute goldmine for hackers.
Set aside a few hundred dollars and get yourself a high-end rig with decent reviews, ideally one that comes with a secure firewall. That might seem a little pricey, but in the long run, it’s worth it. Just make sure you regularly check to ensure your router’s firmware is up to date, or that investment might ultimately be for naught.
Additionally, change your WiFi credentials. Don’t use the default information that ships with the router. As with your other devices and accounts, you’ll want a strong, unique password that isn’t easily guessable.
Secure Your Desktop
Last but certainly not least, make sure the computer you use in your home office is both secure and virus free. Invest in antivirus software and run it on an automated schedule. Train yourself to recognize spam emails and hover over links before clicking them. Keep consistent backups of all important data.
Finally, consider looking into hard drive encryption. Both Windows 10 and OS X include this functionality.
We’ll conclude with a few tips for businesses that want to securely enable telecommuting in their own workplace. First, we’d advise investing in a secure VPN solution - or some form of remote workspace that allows VPN-less access to the corporate intranet. It’s also advisable to incorporate some form of DRM that can be attached to your files, equipping you with the ability to revoke access to a sensitive document as soon as it’s no longer required.
This will reduce the risk of eavesdropping, while also allowing you to prevent sensitive files from being lost or stolen. Finally, promote cybersecurity awareness and mindfulness within your organization. The better employees are trained in recognizing potential security threats, the more cautious they’ll be with their home office.