Few people probably expected that when we were sent to work from home back in March that several months later, we’d still be here. In fact, Google, Sony, Amazon are planning on working from home through 2021. And Facebook is making it permanent.
Companies big and small have made working from home the “new normal.” Love it or hate it, it’s something we all need to prepare ourselves for.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that it doesn’t mean cybersecurity threats have stopped because you left the office. Hackers have only renewed their efforts to attack workers around the world. Since most people have lower security arrangements at home compared to the office, this makes them effectively sitting ducks for cyber-attacks.
Before you become a victim, here are five easy and effective ways to comprehensively improve your digital safety.
1. Use a VPN
VPNs, virtual private networks, both encrypt and anonymize internet connections. They are invaluable cybersecurity tools that have seen increasing usage in the business sphere.
VPNs greatly reduce hackers’ ability to intercept your data and target you in the digital world. They are also super easy to use and the perfect example of a “set it and forget it” tool.
For example, NordVPN could be a good solution if you are looking for that additional layer of internet safety. Don’t forget you can also use it to unlock regional content from around the world. That means they’re helpful when you’re on the clock and off!
2. Up Your Account Security
You recycle your passwords, don’t you? Don’t worry; we promise not to tell. But this is super dangerous. This means if a hacker breaks into one of your accounts, it puts all the others at risk.
You need lengthy, complex, and unique passwords for all your accounts. That’s why you should use a password manager to help you create and store your login credentials. Be sure also to enable two-factor authentication and biometrics to create an additional layer of security.
3. Recognize Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks have grown more sophisticated than the classic “Nigerian Prince” scam. Hackers can pretend they are people you know, create fake versions of real websites, and have other ways to trick you.
However, you can train yourself to recognize these threats. For example, does a web page you often visit suddenly redirect a non-secure version of the site instead of HTTPS (the little lock icon in your URL bar). That’s a sign of a fake trying to steal your login credentials.
Pay attention to your emails, and always be careful with what you click on and download.
4. Encrypt and Backup
One of the biggest threats in the online world right now is ransomware. Ransomware is when hackers lock you out of your file and demand you to pay a ransom to get access to them. Ironically, they are using a form of encryption to kick you out.
Fight fire with fire and protect your important files with encryption so they can’t get their hands on them. Likewise, the vast majority of ransomware attacks can be thwarted if there are secure backups in place.
Backup often and practice the rule of three. That means have data on at least two different types of storage media and one offsite. This not only protects against hackers but sudden hardware or software failure!
5. Separate Your Professional and Personal Lives
Some companies do this for you and issue work machines to their employees. This is awesome, but there is often temptation to still take advantage of these devices for personal use—don’t. Hackers are interested in your business data.
But they’re often hanging on unsecured, personal style websites and online channels. Keeping a wall of separation ensures your business data remains safe.
If you don’t have the luxury of separate devices, consider creating separate user accounts or partitioning your hard drive. The idea is the same. You want to minimize your exposure. It also helps create more balance in your life—something we all could use right now!
Bonus Tip: Device Security
If you’ve been stuck at home, this might seem unnecessary, but you still absolutely need device passwords. Don’t disable them. It only takes somebody a few seconds on unsupervised access to get into your data or cause some sort of damage.
This applies both in the physical and the digital world. Just as you secure your accounts with unique and strong passwords, do the same for your tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
Work from Home Safely
For most of us, working from home has been amazing. There’s no more needless commuting, getting dressed up, and generally wasting time. So, don’t let a cybercriminal throw you off track. Start using these essential digital security tips and tools now!