Working remotely is a rapidly growing trend. According to a survey, 43 percent of employees work remotely at least some of the time.
However, with this type of working arrangement, constant internet connections could leave your business data more exposed to cyber criminals. This is especially true if you work from other locations other than your home. This adds an additional risk of lost or stolen mobile devices.
Nevertheless, there are specific security measures you can take in order to keep your business data safe while you work remotely. Here are six tips that can help you.
Install Security Software
Data breaches continue to occur against even the largest companies. The majority of the time, this happens due to human error and poor security protection. This is why the first step in keeping your business data safe should be making sure that all your devices are protected against security breaches.
Every device you use to connect to your business network should have a full range of security software installed, including antivirus, firewall, web filters and anti-malware. You should choose the best antivirus software for your needs and stick with it, as multiple applications could interfere with one another.
Protect Your Devices
If you work from coffee shops or travel often, you need to be extra careful with your devices. Keep your smartphones, tablets, and laptops visible at all times so they don’t get left behind. In case your devices get lost or stolen, your business data could be compromised.
This is why it’s essential to set each device to allow logons only through passwords or biometric access such as fingerprint scanners. Furthermore, your laptop should be set up to automatically logoff the user if the device is unused for a few minutes.
Also, encryption should be installed on each device. This way even if the information is accessible to thieves, it will be unreadable and useless. Remote-wipe applications can allow you to erase data from devices that are reported stolen.
Don’t Ignore Updates
Installing security software is not enough to keep you completely safe from data breaches. To minimize any risks, you need to regularly update your protective software. Regular updates will ensure your antivirus software’s virus data base is up-to-date and that security patches are installed.
All your other software as well as the operating system require regular upgrades to ensure they can deal with the latest threats. It’s best to configure your software to install these updates automatically.
Avoid Unsecured Networks
Working remotely, it’s tempting to take advantage of free Wi-Fi access, but these public networks may be monitored by hackers and pose additional risks. These networks are not encrypted which means that any sensitive business data you access could be intercepted by unauthorized third parties.
This is why you should avoid using public Wi-Fi for accessing sensitive business information. However, if public networks are important to staying in touch, consider setting up a virtual private network (VPN). This is a secure channel using encryption that you can utilize for secure access to your company network.
Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are nearly impossible to guess and will add a reliable layer of protection for your files and devices. To create a strong password, use a combination of random upper and lower-case characters, numbers, and special symbols.
While they may be harder to remember, they’re much more effective than simple or easy-to-guess passwords, such as a birth day. You should be using different passwords for each system that you use, and remember to change them every few months.
Respect Your Workplace Policies
Finally, to keep your data safe, you need to adhere to your workplace policies regarding remote work and data safety. Even if it seems a bit much to ask, IT policies must be respected and enforced to be useful.
You should allow your company to monitor your devices so that it’s easier to identify suspicious activity and prevent future threats.
When your security is breached, it can be a mistake to hide the fact from your employer. Tackle the problem as soon as possible and find a resolution going forward. Failing to own up to security lapses could invite more damage, while trying to conceal problems could erode the confidence of your employer.
In summary, good security practices are essential to every company. This is especially true in the expanding practice of utilizing remote workers. To keep your business data safe you should not only protect your devices, but be educated and held accountable regarding your company’s IT policies.