Once regarded as an employee’s pipedream, working from home or working remotely has quickly become an essential practice for many businesses. And although remote work has proven to be beneficial both for employers and employees, there comes with it a few risks that can endanger any business. Fortunately, these problems have simple, sustainable, and easy-to-do solutions that you can employ to greatly improve your remote work security and productivity.
If you’re working remotely, continue reading to find out what risks you need to avoid and the solutions you can do to answer those risks.
One of the perks of remote work is that since you don’t need to report to an office, you’re free to do your work wherever you want. Whether it’s in your own room, in a public library, or your favorite cafe, you can find the place that lets you be at your most productive- which benefits both you and your company.
However, one of the inherent (and often overlooked) risks of working outside your office is that you’re probably going online on unsecure networks. Public WiFi connections and even your own home WiFi often lack the necessary security protocols to make sure that your online data and activity aren’t being logged, stolen, or sold by 3rd party intruders.
Fortunately, an easy and readily available way to make sure that your networks are more secure wherever you work is by using a Virtual Private Network, more commonly known as a VPN. VPNs work by hiding your IP address and encrypting all of your online activity, which means that no one else can access any of the data you send and receive on the Internet. By taking the extra step of using a VPN, you can keep enjoying the convenience of working wherever you want and on any public connection while keeping you and your work protected.
Phishing attacks (online scams often in the form of deceptive and sophisticated emails or websites disguised as official communication from a trusted source) were already a major security threat before businesses moved to remote work operations; now that so many important activities and files occur online, the dangers and frequency of phishing attacks have only increased.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy solution that will permanently protect you from phishing scams. Since there isn’t a set kind of phishing attack, the best you can do is to be vigilant and constantly scrutinize any odd or unexpected emails and messages that you receive.
The good thing about there not being an easy solution to phishing attacks is that, in order to be safe from it, you’re forced to develop good habits when it comes to online security. Receive an email from a supposed client? Practice your own two-factor authentication and contact your client on a different platform to confirm that it was them who sent it. Not sure if a website or file is safe to open? Get comfortable with communicating with your I.T. team for even the slightest of security concerns.
Sometimes the biggest security risk doesn’t come from hackers or vulnerable networks, but from momentary laziness. With all the work emails, online logbooks, and cloud services that most remote work employees have to juggle, it’s easy to see why just using a one-size-fits-all pet password that you’re guaranteed to never forget is tempting. But it’s those momentary lapses of judgment that hackers and bad actors are counting on to get access to your log-in credentials and personal data.
So, can you conveniently protect the integrity of all your accounts without having to memorize multiple passwords, each over a dozen characters long? With a password manager, you can. As the name suggests, a password manager is a service that stores, creates, and handles all your passwords and log in events. Password managers are safer than relying on a couple of your easy-to-remember passwords because they automate a high quality (meaning made out of a random string of characters, numbers, and symbols) password unique to each of your accounts. It removes laziness or bad memory out of the equation by then automatically filling in the correct log-in information with the accounts that you saved to it.
And if you’re concerned about the password manager itself being compromised, the simple safety measure would be to use a master password that’s totally unique, high quality, and memorable that you’ll only use for the password manager. It’s much easier to memorize one master password than five different ones, and it’s much safer to have that one master password than to have none at all.