Data breaches are consistently affecting companies. Those companies who fail to take precautions will see the effects of cybercrime. Today, 4.3 million Americans work from home part-time or full-time. However, Shred-it says that 86 percent of C-level executives believe that remote working increases their risk for a data breach.
This means that while remote working is at an all-time high, there seems to be more vulnerability to a potential data breach. However, there are ways that every business can equip their remote workers with the proper tools to prevent cybercriminals from infiltrating valuable company information.
Always have your device in your possession
While there are ways you can protect the software on your device, it’s still important to have that device in your physical possession. A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds on average, just in airports alone. Cybercriminals are opportunists and will look to swipe unattended devices. That way if the device itself is with them physically, they will have an easier time hacking into it. For a hacker, it’s easier to guess a password instead of downloading harmful malware onto your computer through phishing tactics.
Just remember to keep your devices on your person if you are out in public. Turning on the “Find my Device” option is always a great idea. Even though you might have an eye on your devices in public at most times, if someone does happen to take your device, you at least have this program as a backup. Having a secure screen lock option is essential. Whether it’s a 4-number pin, facial recognition, or fingerprint recognition, always use a secure option so hackers cannot get into your device.
Use caution when connecting to Wi-Fi
Remote workers are by nature working remotely outside of a company’s office space. Thanks to the boom of the internet, companies are now scouting talent without regard to geographic borders. Unfortunately, this puts them in a vulnerable position. Office spaces are for the most part secure places. IT departments take care of security issues and monitor though software who can come in and out of the network. For remote workers, most of them usually work from a home network, which might not have the best security. Other workers often spend their days in coffee shops, libraries, or shared working spaces.
These remote working environments are where cybercriminals thrive. They know that not everyone connecting to public Wi-Fi has the best security options and can use this to their advantage. If you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, a cybercriminal connected to the network can see when your device is also connected. From there, they will scan every device and infiltrate unsecure devices.
Using cybersecurity software can help prevent this situation from happening. By using virtual private network (VPN) software, you are able to hide your IP address to make your device invisible to hackers. VPNs hide important information, including your browsing history, location, and streaming history. Implementing all-encompassing antivirus software is important, but virtual private networks are a remote worker’s biggest cyber threat defensive tool.
Keep work information off your personal computer
Even though you might be taking care of your personal computer or other devices with the best of care, you should try to keep your company information off of your personal computer. Mixing the two can put both your personal and work data at risk.
If you were to use your personal computer for company work, chances are you may not have followed the same protocol that your IT department did on your work device. An efficient IT team may be installing updates, blocking malware, and running antivirus scans on a more regular basis. Chances are the software they use for company devices is a better and more expensive program.
By putting your work information on a personal computer, you’re taking a risk on behalf of your company’s private data. However, if you absolutely need to use your personal computer, there is a way you can make it more secure. By using work portals designed to prevent employees from downloading or syncing files to the personal device, remote workers can protect themselves. This should really only be used for smaller tasks or specific situations, and the best practice is still to keep the two separate.
All companies that allow for out of office employees should have protocols for their workers to follow. Knowing best practices to follow can be the difference between a big data breach and a tightly secured system. Companies who don’t have remote work as an option, should not consider it a liability, but instead an opportunity with the best methods.