4 Quick Security Tips for Working at Home

4 Quick Security Tips for Working at Home

Security is one area of working at home that is often overlooked. Your team is scattered across countless different devices and networks, which can open your company up to a number of security threats that may compromise your data and information. Luckily, there are some simple ways for individuals to improve their at home security and protect valuable information that may find its way into the wrong hands.

Below are a few easy tips that are worth adding to your work at home policy moving forward.

1. Strong Passwords

One of the simplest security precautions to implement is to ask your team to strengthen their passwords. This includes computer, email, database, or any password protected program and device they have access to. That means getting rid of the ‘12345’ password they use for everything… A strong password will protect from the simplest form of hacking — guessing a user’s password.

As a good practice to take this security measure further; use multiple passwords. Rather than using the same one across 10 different accounts and devices, assign a unique code to each. If this gets too difficult to remember, there are plenty of password manager apps, such as Dashlane, to store the passwords, keep them secure, and ensure they are never forgotten.

General guidelines for a strong password:

  • At least 8 characters in length
  • Alphanumeric (both letters and numbers)
  • Mix of capital and lowercase letters
  • Use special characters (eg. ! ? # $ %)

2. Be Cautious of Phishing Emails

Fraudulent emails, otherwise known as phishing emails, have increased as they try to steal personal information and take advantage of people and during the current world crisis. Estimates show a 667% increase from February to March with no sign of slowing down. It is important to keep your team knowledgeable in spotting these suspicious emails to protect both their own personal information, as well as the company’s data

A few examples of emails floating around include: expediting/increasing your government benefit payout, hackers posing as employees in your company asking for passwords or sending policy updates, health advice, and hackers posing as government health officials requesting personal information.

Here are a few things to look for when identifying a fake email:

  • Email sent from a public domain (gmail.com, outlook.com etc…) — legitimate companies will have their own company domain
  • Typos in the email domain — eg. @gnail.com instead of @gmail.com
  • Poor grammar or typos in the email body
  • Unsolicited attachments — it is rare a legitimate organization will send an attachment in the first correspondence, make sure not to open them
  • Email asks for sensitive personal information (credit card number, date of birth, social security number)
  • Email that rushes you to take action — eg. “Please contact us at this link in the next hour to qualify”

3. Secure Home Wi-Fi

Another simple step towards a more secure work at home policy is to have your team deploy higher security for their at home Wi-Fi. There are a few ways to accomplish this:

  1. Wi-Fi passwords should be strong alphanumeric codes that are difficult to guess (see tip #1 in this blog). Most Wi-Fi comes with a complex password by default (often printed on the router), but it is good practice to update it as soon as possible.
  2. The username used to access your Wi-Fi settings is usually a well known default name such as “admin.” Updating this to something unique will add one more layer of security for accessing the Wi-Fi settings.
  3. Upgrading the encryption of your Wi-Fi to WPA2 offers a higher level of data protection and, although it sounds complicated, it is often very easy to change.

All of these tips can be configured by accessing your Wi-Fi settings. To do this, you can type your IP address into any web browser and then log into your settings. The IP address is often printed on the router. Here is a great article on how to access your Wi-Fi settings.

4. Cloud File Storage

Using a cloud storage system is a great option to secure your files. A quality cloud storage program is typically more secure than storing files locally across all of your various team member’s computers. The encryption built into these programs is meant to be highly secure and protect all of your important company information.

As an additional bonus, it offers a safety net for saving files. If files are stored locally on your team’s computers, a simple malware or hard drive failure could cause all files to be erased. If they are stored on the cloud, they remain permanent and accessible by anyone in the company.

As I wrote about in my last blog, 7 Essential Tech Tools for Working at Home, here are a few great cloud storage options:

Conclusion

Security is an important part to every company’s work at home strategy in order to protect both personal and company information. This blog has given you 4 easy solutions that anyone can implement to greatly improve their company security.

 

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