Working from home has come with plenty of emotional and productivity-related challenges. But what about the struggle of protecting your data? As you spend more of your time online, you’ll likely have more sensitive data available online. This article will help you learn how to keep your data safe while working from home.
Security risks you’ll be exposed to during remote work
Working from home means spending most of your time online. That means that there’s a higher likelihood that your personal details— like passwords and contact details—could be hacked and leaked online. Here are just some of the risks that you’re exposed to during remote work.
- Lack of basic defenses. If you work in a larger company, you’ll find that your company probably has a dedicated IT department. A key part of this department’s job scope is setting up extra layers of protection for company data and devices. Yet, with the sudden shift to remote work, there’s often a limited scope for your IT department to secure your personal devices. For example, your personal devices might lack VPN, antivirus software, firewalls, or any other security systems.
- Use of multiple devices. You’re more likely to use multiple devices while working from home—jumping from your laptop, to a desktop, to your iPad and maybe even your phone. While your IT department may have guided you to secure the laptop that you use for work, you might be engaging with work on any of your other personal devices. These devices are rarely secured and expose you to privacy risks.
- Loss of data through data sharing. Data sharing is a huge part of working from home. After all, how can you work from home without sending and receiving information from your colleagues? To make matters worse, companies often use multiple data-sharing sites at once, from Slack to Zoom. This makes it easy for data leakage to occur, whereby the privacy of your company data gets breached.
- Limited ability to seek help. In the past, you could easily visit your IT department for help during a brutal computer virus attack. With remote work, however, the best you can do is seek help over the phone. For those of us without advanced programming skills, this could become a really daunting (not to mention time-consuming) task.
Remote work tips: cybersecurity edition
Now that you’re familiar with the cybersecurity risks associated with remote work, let’s get you protected! Here are some tips to help you get started.
#1 Use company-issued devices
If you’re in a management position, try encouraging employees to use company-issued devices. If you’re not able to organise this policy, then make change via leading by example. Make a conscious effort to only engage with work activities on work-related devices.
#2 Use VPN to reduce your risks
Consult your company’s IT department on which VPN would work back with your company’s work systems. VPN is a great way to enhance your privacy and secure your data from cyber-attacks.
#3 Educate employees on cybersecurity practices
Implement training sessions to teach employees about the best remote practices. Education is a way to teach everyone the best habits to avoid cyberattacks or privacy breaches.