As more and more businesses allow work-from-home alternatives to their employees, the challenges of remote work productivity and security have become evident. Businesses are eager to showcase their flexibility in supporting remote work for their employees, but these changes can’t compromise the integrity of the organization.
Ensuring remote work and security starts at the level of individual employees. If you’re working from home, you need to take the lead in addressing security vulnerabilities you may face.
Here are five steps you can take to strengthen your remote work security.
1. Use Virtual Private Networks
If you’re using public or shared Wi-Fi networks, you need to take extra steps to secure your connection. A virtual private network (VPN) will encrypt all of your data, shielding it from anyone who might be trying to view or hack your information.
VPN networks can be easily set up through an app-based service that can be downloaded to your device.
2. Install Updates for Your OS and Business Apps
One in three security breaches are caused by a failure to update software and install downloadable patches. As security vulnerabilities are discovered and addressed, software developers push out new updates to improve the security of your technology
It can be a pain to take a few extra minutes to install these updates, but this simple act dramatically lowers your risk of getting hacked or suffering another security breach. Encourage your co-workers and employees to install these updates as soon as they’re available.
3. Set Up a Secure Browser Configuration
Most browsers are not set up to offer the best security possible. If you’re using a browser for work, you need to go into settings and adjust a few settings to improve security. This includes blocking pop-ups and plug-ins, disabling third-party cookies, and disabling the “save password” feature now offered in most browsers.
If you’re using Chrome or Firefox as your browser, uninstall any extensions you do not use that have been added to your browser. Certain extensions can create security vulnerabilities and erode the overall performance of your browser, so limit yourself to essential extensions that come from trusted sources.
You can also consider using a specialized browser designed to maximize security, although these browsers may create compatibility issues with certain apps and software.
4. Protect Passwords Through a Password Manager
It’s not safe to save passwords through a typical web browser, but you can save them through a password manager designed to encrypt and protect this data.
With a password manager, you can manage many different passwords through a secure app without having to memorize them. This lets you easily diversify your passwords so that if one password is stolen, it doesn't compromise all of your accounts and access at the same time.
Store passwords in a reputable password manager, and make sure you choose a strong password to protect access to that tool.
5. Lock Your Computer
Computers and devices should always be set to automatically lock down after a period of inactivity. Choose a length of time for desktop computers to be locked after inactivity, such as 10 or 15 minutes—after which time, you will need to enter a password to regain access.
Remember to lock your computer any time you’re stepping away from your device. An unattended, unlocked computer is an easy entry point for unauthorized access.
Most security lapses are the result of a lack of oversight or a laziness in taking simple steps to protect assets and data. When you stay on top of remote work security procedures, you can quickly ensure security and greatly reduce the risk of breach-induced headaches down the road.
To learn more remote security tips and tricks, watch our on-demand webinar: Working Securely and Efficiently - Remotely