Adopt These 7 Habits for a Secure Remote Work Environment

Remote work is definitely here to stay. It’s a benefit to both employees and employers. The flexibility and convenience, as well as the cost savings of having a remote environment allows your business to thrive from anywhere. However, when employees are working remotely they are removed from the IT protection of company devices, and data security can become a much bigger factor. When you have a team of remote employees, it’s important that they are all properly trained in remote work best practices. By adopting these seven simple habits, your remote employees can help keep company data secure.Female remote working typing on a laptop in her home office.

Be Wary of Working in Public

There are two risks to working in public settings. Personal, identifiable information that can be physically seen from your laptop screen can compromise you and your network. It is important to be situationally aware when you are working away from your home or office to make sure that no one near you is able to see sensitive information. In addition to being aware of those around you, public WiFi networks are not secure. Even if you are required to sign into the local network, most public WiFi networks are not safe for dealing with any data that needs to be kept secure. When you use public WiFi, anyone else using that network can easily gain access to the information you are working with. When you have to work in a public space, using your phone’s hotspot or a VPN to encrypt data can help protect your sensitive data while you work.

Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network

Public WiFi is always a risk, but even employees that are using their home network can present a risk if their networks are not effectively secured. All home networks should be password protected with a strong password that is given only to trusted devices. Computers hold sensitive information, and when employees are working in a house where they are sharing WiFi with roommates or family members, everyone on the network will need to make sure they are using best practices to avoid giving cyber criminals access to the network.

Use Secure Passwords

Creating passwords can be challenging. While setting strong and unique passwords seems like an easy protection, the fact is that many employees can get lazy with passwords when they have multiple accounts. Many employees will use the same password for all their accounts or will use very similar passwords that can be easily guessed once one password is cracked. Using a password manager can help employees balance the need to remember multiple unique and secure passwords with the ease of only needing to remember one. Employees will be much more likely to create a strong and unique password when they only need to be concerned with remembering it for their password manager.

Keep Up with Updates

Software and hardware updates are not only necessary for accessing new features or performance enhancements. In many cases, the updates provide the latest security fixes and protections. Anything that can be connected to a network should always be up to date. All remote employees should always make sure they are updating any device used to access company information, including their router. A router can be a gateway to cybercriminals, and having the latest and safest software and patches installed will keep anything connected to the router safe.

Practice Safe Browsing Habits

Falling for a phishing attack is one of the most common ways to give cyber criminals access to your data. Scammers will try many methods to attempt to get your personal information. This can include impersonating a coworker, a trusted site, or a link that you would typically interact with safely. As soon as you click on a link sent by a scammer, you put your system at risk for malware that can quickly spread. These attacks are getting more and more sophisticated and people who consider themselves very aware can still find themselves falling victim. It’s important to understand that a phishing attack can look perfectly safe, so it’s important to look closely and verify any link or email before clicking.

Use Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is a great choice to shield against any cyber attacks or malware. When the software is strong and consistently updated, it will protect all sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Any business that allows remote work should make sure that all employees have antivirus software running on any device used for work.

Back Up Your Data Securely

In a ransomware attack, the thief will attempt to hold your data hostage until a ransom is paid. The hacker may threaten to publish or delete your data. If you have been regularly and securely backing up your data, you will still be able to recover your data, even if you are the victim of a ransomware threat. Many cloud storage options are very secure, although many remote workers choose to back up their data on a physical device like an external hard drive.

Remote work has many advantages and many remote workers are happier and more productive than those who are in the office every day. However, when data security is important to your business, it is imperative that all remote employees are dedicated to making sure their work environment is secure and that all sensitive business information is protected. To learn more about how to keep your company data secure, contact AccuShred for details about our data destruction services.