Employees are working remotely now more than ever before, and that’s certainly a luxury of the modern age. It’s often a win-win situation for employers and employees, as it’s cheaper for the former, and more convenient for the latter. But this practice also comes with some additional hazards that ought to be taken into consideration. CybSafe reported this year that one-third of businesses in the UK have suffered data breaches in the past 12 months due to information transferred to or from remote employees. Here are some essential tips to ensure that working remotely doesn’t lead to lapses in security:
1. Don’t leave your devices unattended in public
Whether you’re working at a coffee shop, a library, or an airport, it can be tempting to leave your laptop for a second to take a drink of water or use the restroom. Our advice is to avoid that misstep and keep your laptop, tablet, and/or phone on you at all times. You should also ensure that you have lock screens enabled on all of these devices, and that your “Find My Device” apps are working so that you’ll be able to locate any stolen property.
2. Abide by your company’s security protocol
Every company should have security protocols in place across the board. If that’s not the case, ask your employer to put one in place so that you’re not liable for any mishaps down the road. The protocol should include documentation of the security policy, training, and regular meetings to discuss updates. You should also be able to sign a formal agreement that shows you know and understand the procedures in place. All important security areas, including email phishing scams and password protection, should be covered in detail.
3. Report any issue to in-house IT staff immediately
A key part of proper procedure is also having contingency plans for when things go awry, because they often do. You should also be able to recognize the signs of a breach so that you report it immediately and avoid as much damage as possible. Keep an eye out for sudden increases in pop up ads, more error messages than usual, differences in your default homepage screen, and rapid decreases in device performance. Also, be wary of who has access to your screen-sharing services.
4. Public Wi-Fi isn’t always your friend
As we went over in a past insight, 5 Mobile Data Privacy Tips, not all public networks should be trusted. Usually, these public Wi-Fi routers aren’t encrypted in the same way that home networks are. That’s why it’s wise to use a VPN service in these situations, which masks your personally identifiable information (PII). For more information about VPNs, click here. And if you’re using a public computer, you should use incognito browsing to make sure your account activity isn’t saved on the device. You can get a breakdown of incognito browsing here as well. Lastly, you should consider getting a private hotspot to avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi altogether.
5. Use common sense
This last tip is just basically to think before you act. Watch your sightlines to make sure that strangers don’t see any personal information over your shoulder. Avoid checking your bank account in public. Don’t insert random USB drives into your computer unless you get them from a trusted source. And if a random person asks you to plug their phone into your computer to charge it, be wary. The purpose of this article isn’t to make you paranoid of every chance encounter. The goal is to make sure you’re informed of potential threats so that you’re security-savvy in an era of increasing data breaches and threats. With these tips under your belt, you’ll be one step ahead of cyber thieves.
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