Recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic have transformed the way many people think about work. We’ve seen a big shift towards remote work, with more and more businesses establishing remote teams, allowing their existing staff members to operate out-of-home offices, and investing in software and solutions to cater to the needs of remote workers.
There are many advantages you can experience when working remotely, such as more flexible hours, reduced travel costs, and more comfortable, familiar surroundings. However, there are also plenty of challenges, and one of the biggest issues to contend with is cybersecurity, as remote workers have recently been targeted by hackers and dangerous forms of malware.
At offices and other working locations, businesses have a strong level of control over their networks, allowing them to put a range of cyber-defenses in place and even have dedicated IT security teams ensuring that devices and networks are protected. But when you’re working remotely from your own home or another location, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that you’re staying safe online.
You can still rely on your employer for some cybersecurity assistance like support from in-house specialists and access to company security software, but you also need to take some extra steps to safeguard your data and connections from your own home office. So let’s look at some top tips every remote worker needs to know in regard to cybersecurity.
Use Your Company’s Existing Tools
You might need to set up some new security software on your devices as a remote worker, but there’s not necessarily a need to handle everything on your own. Your company might already have access to high-grade business cybersecurity solutions like anti-malware programs and VPNs.
Contact your company and find out what tools are available that you could download and start using on your own devices. In many cases, companies will clearly explain and offer different security solutions to remote workers.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Basics
When it comes to cybersecurity, there are certain key essentials every device needs to have. Namely, you need to make sure that you’ve got a firewall and some sort of antivirus/anti-malware program to defend your devices.
A firewall is often the first line of defense for a connected device, helping to block intruders and protect access to your network. Anti-malware programs, meanwhile, work to detect and remove viruses and malware from your computer, phone, etc.
Keep Everything Updated
There’s no use in having strong security solutions if you don’t keep them updated. Why? Well, the world of cybersecurity is always evolving, with hackers and malware groups constantly coming up with new ways to target their victims.
In response, cybersecurity and anti-malware companies are always having to update their services and databases to be able to respond to the latest threats. So, even if it might seem a little inconvenient, you need to always click “Yes” if your security software is asking you to install a new update.
Consider a VPN
Another line of defense you might like to consider to protect yourself while working remotely is a VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, and VPNs are being used both by individuals and businesses to safeguard their online connections.
A VPN works by encrypting your connections and rerouting your network requests via secure servers, located all over the world. This hides your IP address when accessing websites and online services, making it harder for anyone to track your activities or spy on your connections.
Another good tip for remote workers who want to avoid falling victim to viruses, malware, or phishing attacks is to learn more about cybersecurity. After all, the more you know about a subject, the better prepared you’ll be to deal with it.
There are lots of resources online you can make use of to help you learn all about cyber-defenses and ways to avoid common cyber-attacks, ranging from beginner guides to spot phishing emails to more advanced methods and techniques to protect your network and devices.
Make Use of Multi-Factor Authentication
Another tip you commonly hear when looking for advice on cybersecurity is to use strong passwords. This is a good tip to follow, but an even better option is to make use of strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
Multi-factor authentication is when a site or platform uses two or more verification methods before granting access. For example, the site will ask for your password and then also text a code to your phone that you’ll need to enter. This is a great way to ensure that nobody else can access your data.
These are just some of the many ways you can stay safer online as a remote worker. Speak with your company and IT specialists if you have any worries and always ensure that you have firewalls and anti-malware systems in place before accessing the internet.
Photo credits: eOffice