Working from home is slowly but steadily becoming the new norm. The steady change in working conditions may mean inadequate or lack of data security capabilities or preparation that you may have under normal circumstances. Data security experts believe that the lack of preparedness can result in unprecedented security risks for both individuals and businesses.
If you or your employees regularly work from home or have to adjust to it, for example, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains significantly important that you consider protecting your data. This means exploring several security considerations, including secure handling and storage of your personal or business information.
What do you have to do to ensure your data is secure when working from home? Here, we suggest some data security tips you need to undertake when working from home.
How Does Working from Home Affect Enterprise’s Data Security?
Working from home may have its comfort advantages, but it presents several risks to both individual and corporate entities, particularly with regards to data protection and security. For starters, your working-from-home equipment, such as PCS or Wi-Fi routers, might be different from your office equipment. It is likely that these personal devices lack adequate security measures.
For instance, your workplace always has a network firewall on the router, and the work PC has a personal firewall. These security measures block hackers and help prevent unauthorized access to your PC and the information. But your home PC may lack this double firewall security and expose your data. Furthermore, most home devices are shared between family members. You won’t know if the links they click or websites they visit that can expose your data to malware and give a hacker access to your computer.
How to Protect Your Data When Working from Home
You need to take appropriate actions to protect your data when working from home. Here’s how:
Learn About Basic Data Security Knowledge and Techniques
Before anything else, you need to learn and understand the basic data security to avoid being vulnerable to security breaches, such as malware, viruses, and unauthorized access. Beware of the following:
- Router and network hacks
- Phishing links
- Infected email links and attachments
- Public Wi-Fi
- Weak passwords are easy to guess. Your operating system and programs. Make sure they are secure and up-to-date
- Include two-factor authentication to log in
Furthermore, avoid the installation of third-party apps from sites you do not trust. These untrusted third-party apps often come with malware.
Create a Secure Network Connection
Your network and internet connection have to be secure, particularly when you’re working from home.
If you’re not yet using a secure virtual private network, set up one. A VPN adds a security layer, which helps to:
- Mask your location
- Hide your IP address
- Encrypt data and data transfer when on transit
You won’t need to be uneasy about hackers or intruders accessing your data. You need to ensure you get your VPN from trusted VPN service providers.
Update Your Operating System and Programs
Ensure your security software such as the operating systems, firewalls, applications, and antivirus are up-to-date. Outdated apps and OS’s are gateways for cybercriminals. So, when you’re working from home, it’s important to regularly update your operating system and every other app installed on your device.
Configure Wi-Fi Encryption
You also need to protect your Wi-Fi router. Protecting your PC won’t be of any help if an intruder sets up residence in your router or connects to your Wi-Fi. When the hackers access your router or Wi-Fi, they can intercept everything you enter or send online, including passwords. Therefore, you need to configure your network connection and ensure it is encrypted with a secure password to keep your data safe. WPA2 is your best bet for a strong password.
Set secure passwords and logins
First of all, carry out a password audit to ensure none of your passwords are weak, then set secure passwords and logins. Ensure you have high-security password protections on home-work equipment, such as mobile devices, Wi-Fi networks, and PCs. Change your default passwords and user IDs, use strong, long passwords, alphanumeric codes, and even two-factor authentication. Do not use the same password for more than one account and protect your sensitive data files with strong passwords. As an alternative, use password management systems, such as strong password managers, to manage your long passwords.
Use Secure Approved Cloud Services
Avoid storing your data locally. Use cloud-based content storage such as iCloud or Office 365. When using any third-party cloud storage services, ensure they are verified and approved by your security expert.
Use Anti-Malware or Antivirus Solutions to Protect Your Devices
While working at home, you must install a trusted, reliable anti-malware on all your devices that handle work data. A free antivirus can significantly reduce the risk of hacker infiltration or getting infected by malware. Still, since they have to make money, they’ll fill your computer or browser with ads that can expose you to security risks.
Keep Hard Copies or Sensitive Physical Information Safe
Protecting your data does not only mean soft data. You must also consider your physical, sensitive data. Don’t leave them lying around. Store the documents securely.
Having a good data security strategy when you’re working from home gives you the peace of mind that your sensitive data or that of your business is always protected. We believe that this list is more than enough to start you off and support you on your way as you work from home.