Working from home has quickly become much more common for employees of all kinds. While you may think this makes homes more secure, it actually creates new security vulnerabilities.
At your work, you coordinate with team members on the same network, often using company devices and the support of an IT team. At home, you don't have the same protections. Hackers know this — which is part of why there's been such an uptick in cyber attacks over the past few months.
If you want to keep your home secure while you work from home, there are some best practices you'll want to follow.
Protecting Your Home Network
Install antivirus software if you don't have one already. Use a VPN to connect to your company's network, especially if you're handling sensitive data or connecting to a Wi-Fi network that doesn't belong to you. If you have control over your system, make sure you've changed your router password from the default. Otherwise, it may be easier for hackers to access your device, letting them intercept your data.
If possible, use corporate tools for communicating with co-workers and clients, rather than personal ones. You may have an IT team that is responsible for securing your company's network, but personal tools — like a Google Drive — don't necessarily have the same security. If your business has provided you with a secure option for connecting to your team and the company network — like a VPN or secure communication platform — use it whenever you're handling sensitive, work-related data.
Continue to perform good security hygiene. Use strong passwords, avoid clicking suspicious links and lock your device if you walk away. If you can, keep separate gadgets for work and personal use.
Making regular backups of data is also a good idea. Cyber attackers can destroy or corrupt information when they breach a network. Having a backup in place ensures that you can keep working, even if you lose local copies of important files.
Upgrade your internet speed and gear if you need to. Grab a new router to boost your wi-fi and expand your coverage to a larger area. You'll want to make sure that you're always up and running in any situation.
Keeping Your Home Secure
You also should consider the physical security of your home. While crimes are down in most places due to COVID-19, in some areas — like New York — there have been spikes in major crime rates. If you have a home security system, keep it active, even if you're inside for most of the day. You should also check that all entrances to your property are secure, including your garage door, which is often less protected than other home entrances.
Identifying Common Scams
During any crisis, hackers are quick to invent new schemes that take advantage of the chaos. You may know how to recognize a phish, but hackers prey on confusion and are continually updating their approach. As you work from home, keep on top of the news and see how hackers are creating new versions of old scams — like phishing attacks — to take advantage of the chaos.
Staying Secure While Working From Home
Whether you've just started working from home or are a remote veteran, there are steps you can take to make your property more secure. Following security best practices — keeping strong passwords, updating your antivirus software and using a VPN — can help significantly. You'll also want to stay on top of security news and keep up to date on new kinds of cyber-attacks and scams.
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