In this pandemic age and post-lockdown era, the phrase “remote worker” has become a household term. Today, as many as 55% of businesses offer some capacity for remote work, while 18% of the workforce telecommutes full-time now.
What many people don’t think about with these changes are the impacts they may have on everyday security protocols. That is, until something bad happens. In a world of remote everything, cybersecurity risks are nearly constant. Devices are being stolen, hackers are creeping in through webcams and Zoom meetings, and passwords are being lifted by the millisecond.
As such, you’ll need to take steps to protect both your own personal data and the data of your employer. If you are a remote worker, you’ll want to begin implementing cybersecurity measures in your home office today.
Why You Need More Cybersecurity
Most, though not all, people have firewalls and antivirus protection installed on their devices. However, even though 72% of IT service providers offered disaster recovery services in 2018, that won’t be enough to prevent cybersecurity threats in 2021.
It is estimated that one car theft is reported every 41 seconds in the United States. Thieves are everywhere — and they’re not only thinking about stealing your car. Your data, your screens, your devices, and your privacy are all up for grabs once you start working from home. If you don’t have the disaster recovery protection provided to you by your worksite, things become even riskier. You might even be more likely to have your data stolen than your car or other physical valuables.
Here are some simple tips to get you feeling more secure today.
Use a VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which is a privacy tool that cloaks your IP address. A good one will cost about the cost of one lunch every month and is considered a business expense. These will not only mask your online activities, but they will also decrease data throttling from your ISP that slows down speed.
VPNs will improve your productivity while adding a layer of security through encrypted tunnels around your data. Nobody will know what you are doing or where you are going online, so you can’t be hacked. Find one with obfuscation protocols that hide that you are using a VPN. Keep yours on for everything, from banking to company emails.
Mix Up Passwords
A good password protocol is needed for today’s remote workforce. Password hackers can often hack even the best passwords in less than a few minutes. Mix yours up; never use the same password for everything. Add numbers, but put them at the beginning of the password, or in the middle, as opposed to the more commonly used endings of passwords. The FTC recommends a password with a minimum of 12 characters that is a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters. And, of course, you should never share your passwords with anyone. You should also change them frequently. You might even use a password locker program to keep everything organized and to ensure your choices are highly secure.
Multi-factor authentication is that annoying program that texts you and then secret code prompts you just to get into your email 10 minutes later. It might be frustrating, but you should definitely use it. Many banking applications offer them, too. Two-step-factor authentication can make it much harder for someone to access your accounts. Use your alternate contact as the device that never leaves you – your phone.
Your email just got more hack-proof, because the only one that will have access to your two-step verification code is you. It’s worth the extra second now. Put two-step on every online application that offers it.
Keep Your Devices Close (And Your Cybersecurity Closer)
Never leave your devices unattended. It sounds too logical, but today, people are looking for someone to leave their device unattended. You’re just getting caught up on an email or two at the coffee shop, but want one last donut before you pick up the kids. Take the laptop with you. Keep your phone on you. Your company or your client will appreciate this extra measure. They don’t want John Doe at the coffee shop looking over your shoulder as you punch in your phone passcode while standing in line. These are things that sound a bit paranoid. But it’s better to be paranoid with a strong cybersecurity protocol than hacked.
Secure Your Remote Workspace Today
Today, the workforce is largely staying home. Although 60% of jobs are being found through personal marketing and professional networking, it remains that one in two companies is keeping workers at home during the pandemic. This is going to be the new normal for a while. Implement these simple cybersecurity measures in the remote workforce today and experience more productivity and peace of mind.