7 Cybersecurity Tips For Working Remote
In the present day, internet connectivity and computing devices are ubiquitous. Aside from casual daily use, these tools are vital for many governments, corporations, and businesses. However, in effect, criminals gained interest in exploiting users, devices, and anything in this new digital space. Unlike doing crimes in the real world, these individuals can now do illegal actions remotely and anonymously. Accordingly, cybersecurity or protection for programs, technology, and users became a serious thing.
As remote working relies primarily on the Internet and devices, it’s not safe from cybercrimes either. Regardless, if you’re working from home or outside the company and want to stay safe online, this article can help. Below, we’ll discuss seven cybersecurity tips for remote workers; please read on.
1. Switch to cloud applications
Contrary to common beliefs, while cloud applications run over the Internet, in most cases, they’re much safer than native and local ones. Why? Unlike installed programs on a personal computer, a cloud app runs on a remote server. Moreover, remote servers used by cloud apps are more private, use strong encryption, and are harder to infiltrate.
In practice, a remote worker can look for a cloud alternative for a program or use the equivalent online version of an existing product. For instance, Microsoft Office, Slack, and Notion are excellent tools with web versions accessible from most browsers.
On the other hand, there are also cloud-only apps that are superior to local ones like Google Workspace tools, Figma, and many more. In short, switching to cloud-based apps is better for security, data loss protection, and completing tasks faster.
2. Get a VPN
If unfamiliar, a VPN or Virtual Private Network is a secure server where a request from a computer will go first instead of directly to a website server. As a result, the connection is more secure as it masks the user’s IP address or location and encrypts data packets. Aside from accessing region-locked content and avoiding censorship, it’s also beneficial for the corporate side.
In detail, a VPN can secure the communication and data transfer between the worker and the company. Besides masking data packets, it also makes both users anonymous, so a hacker will have a hard time tracking a specific target.
Lastly, for jobs with specific rules for information sensitivity, a VPN can ensure that no one can intercept the connection while uploading and fetching data from a website or application.
3. Use a password manager
Since the early days, email, username, and password have been the primary ways to identify an account. Today, with countless websites, apps, and services, it has gotten quite challenging to remember login credentials. Consequently, reusing passwords became a common practice among individuals.
However, while this provides convenience, if a hacker compromises an account, there’s a high chance the password can also open other websites or apps. While this may not be a big deal for casual users, it is riskier for individuals, like workers, that handle sensitive or valuable information.
Thankfully, a password manager can help one secure multiple logins. With only a single master password, a user can generate strong entropy passwords, store and sync them across devices.
Additionally, these tools use high-level encryption, security methods, and hard to crack account recovery policies. Currently, Bitwarden, 1Password, Dashlane, and Keeper are some of the best and most popular ones available.
4. Try an email search and reverse phone lookup tool
In the business setting, receiving phone calls, emails, and messages from different individuals and companies is common.
However, aside from known contacts, some strangers might ask questions, request assistance, or offer promotions. While most of these messages are legitimate, others try to scam, exploit, or lead people into phishing sites.
Moreover, though it’s easy to ignore strangers, workers typically need to entertain anyone trying to do business with the company regardless of who they are.
Luckily, there are ways to review a caller or sender’s identity and intent before opening a message, transacting, or following any links.
One way to do this is by using Spokeo, an email and phone number search tool. Using Spokeo‘s reverse number lookup tool and email search feature, one could learn a stranger’s name, address, social profiles, and even past criminal records. This way, it’s easier to avoid scams and phishing techniques that hackers use.
5. Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks
While outside, it’s tempting and convenient to use public Wi-Fi from the cafe or store. However, while it seems harmless, there are ways that hackers can exploit devices in an open network.
For instance, a Wi-Fi Pineapple device can easily intercept connections in an open network and plant fake websites or login forms to capture user accounts. Besides that, criminals use countless ways to steal data, inject ransomware, and transmit viruses that can delete files or destroy the OS.
As a safe practice, it’s best only to use the Wi-Fi connection at home, especially when doing work-related tasks. Additionally, using firewall and security tools helps protect the house network from intruders. Lastly, if necessary, using a portable Wi-Fi device or enabling the phone hotspot will do the job when working outside.
6. Employ two-factor authentication (2FA)
2FA or two-factor authentication is the act of sending a code through email, phone number or using an authenticator app to unlock an account after typing the password. With this method, even if a hacker manages to learn the username or password, it’s still hard to proceed as the login form requires a unique code after that.
Currently, work apps and services like Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, Adobe Creative Cloud, and many more offer 2FA features, so it’s best to enable them. However, if a website or program doesn’t automatically generate codes, using an authenticator app like Authy and Google Authenticator are good alternatives.
7. Ensure backups
Lastly, ensuring backups is a practice that can save one from potential data loss after a breach or hack. In the digital world, there is a thing called the “3-2-1 Backup Rule”.
According to the rule, one should have at least three (3) copies of a file, two (2) backup devices (like a computer and a drive), and one (1) remote drive (cloud storage). This way, it’s almost impossible to experience data loss in normal circumstances.
Prioritize Safety When Remote Working
Apart from ensuring the quality of output, work, and service, prioritizing cybersecurity is also essential when working remotely. As almost everyone is using computers and communicating through the Internet, safety is more critical than ever as criminals can now do things anywhere and anonymously.
If you agree and want to protect your accounts, devices, and connections, the above tips will help a lot. Should you need more information, please review the article or research more about each topic; good luck!