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Data Protection Tips For Remote Workers

Data Protection Tips For Remote Workers

Statistics indicate that about 4.3 million Americans work from home. While this can be a great opportunity to enjoy extra time at home, knowing the potential security risks of working outside a traditional office is paramount. Weak data security can lead to identity theft, loss of clients’ personal data, and so on. Admittedly, you might not have the same data protection measures as working in an office. Fortunately, you can still protect your company data with the right tips, including the following.

1. Keep your files organized and indexed

File systems are a great method for storing unstructured data and controlling how it is retrieved. Without a file system, the amount of information stored would be massive. Thus, making it challenging to tell where one message ends and the next begins. Information can be easily isolated and identified by dividing and naming data into parts. This data protection method saves businesses time and reduces the amount of data stored in long-term storage. For file organization, flash drives are recommended, so keep this in mind. You can also consider other beneficial ways to achieve the desired outcome.

2. Avoid using personal devices for work

Remote workers may be more likely to use personal devices for work purposes. This is why the company must educate them on data protection. Companies typically install updates, run antivirus scans, or block websites on verified work devices to protect data. On the other hand, your personal laptops and phones may not have that luxury. Therefore, maintain vigilance by adhering to your company's cybersecurity policies. This includes keeping your work devices separate from your personal life. If you must use a personal device for work, contact your security team to ensure you have as many safeguards as possible.

Keep in mind that application virtualization can offer a superior alternative. By virtualizing applications, companies can ensure data remains within a secure environment, regardless of the device used. Likewise, employees can access applications remotely, keeping work data separate from personal files. Put simply, this can improve security while enabling flexibility. Those interested in learning more about this subject matter can visit www.graphon.com and similar platforms.

3. Make use of two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is an excellent way to increase the security of your online accounts. Before you can log in, you must provide two pieces of information: a password and a code sent via SMS or email. However, SMS and email are frequently not encrypted. Therefore, a better option would be to use an authenticator app. This allows you to open the app to prove your identity. It can also generate different time-limited codes to enter each time you log in, so feel free to consider this.

4. Avoid using public free wi-fi

Although it may be tempting to use free internet services, the risks of a public wi-fi network are significantly higher. A device connected to an insecure network is automatically vulnerable to hackers and criminal shoulder surfing. Therefore, providing strong security or encryption on your laptop is critical. You can use a personal hotspot on your phone or other trusted device instead of connecting to public Wi-Fi. You can also invest in a personal wi-fi, router, or modem, so keep this in mind. 

5. Use a VPN

A VPN (a virtual private network) is an excellent way to keep your data secure when working remotely. It accomplishes this by routing an internet connection through a secure server that conceals your online activity. It establishes a secure connection between your device and the internet. Thus, making it difficult for others to track what you do online.

6. Beware of phishing emails, phone calls, and text messages

With the advancement of technology, scammers have discovered new ways to dupe people into providing them with personal and financial information. Phishing is fraud involving email or text messages to trick you into providing sensitive information. The best defense against this scam is knowledge and awareness of what to look for.

Here are some indicators of a phishing email: threatening or urgent calls to action, spoof email addresses; fake logos or signatures; and suspicious links. If you receive an email with these red flags, do not respond and immediately report it to the authorities.

7. Use a malware blocker

Antivirus software typically includes browsing protection, typically in the form of a browser extension. If you accidentally visit a dangerous website or fall victim to a phishing scam, your browser will redirect to a security warning page. Many flag search results, preventing you from clicking on potentially harmful links. Therefore, have the browser extension installed and running, and check each browser you use to ensure it is secure.

8. Never give away your password

Allowing family members to use your work equipment is not permitted. If you need to go to the kitchen or the bathroom, lock your device so no one else can see what you're working on. Press the Windows logo key + L on Windows devices or Ctrl + Command + Q on Mac to quickly lock the screen. You can quickly log in when you return. After all, everything should be where you left off. Creating distinct and secure passwords for each account is not simple. Therefore, consider using the password manager's built-in random password generator. Several excellent password managers are available for free and can be used immediately. On the other hand, Paid password managers have more features, so feel free to consider these.

9. Be careful about what you share online

Be cautious about sharing personal or business information on social media platforms. The more information is out there, the more likely someone will impersonate you. They can then trick your friends and associates into giving personal information, downloading malware, or gaining access to restricted assets. When sharing your screen during an online meeting, use caution. Avoid leaving windows open that you do not want to share.

10. Update your software regularly

It’s prudent to check that your computer is patched and updated. This is usually the most effective way to ensure adequate data protection. Your security application is only as good as the most recent update. As hackers and ransomware continue to adapt to exploit vulnerabilities in previous software versions, it is best to update these regularly to improve their security. To protect your system, enable automatic updates. You’ll find it helpful to install any updates that your employer's system requires as soon as possible, so keep this in mind.

11. Use a secure email service

Make use of the communication tools provided by your company. Choose a secure messaging app or document-sharing system if you need to share data internally. Consider password-protecting documents and sharing passwords via secure messaging channels if you use potentially insecure email. This is especially important because attackers spoof emails and messages to exploit the global crisis.

12. Keep your internet traffic private

You can avoid shadow-IT by providing your organization with a regulated solution validated for privacy and security features. You should only use the tools your company provides. Ensure they offer controlled and secure access to an organization's internal systems, such as VPNs. You can control internet usage by investing in content filters or proxy servers. Content filters allow you to block specific websites and applications, while proxy servers allow you to monitor all traffic in and out of the web.

In conclusion, remote work can bring enormous benefits to employers and employees, but the risk of data breaches or ransomware is very real. To maintain the integrity of your most important data, following security protocols is important. The first step a company should take for data protection is to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity policy. This makes it easier to detect and fix security breaches. Organizations should document how their employees should handle sensitive data and keep it secure, and employees should be encouraged to do the same. Fortunately, the tips mentioned above can be beneficial, so feel free to leverage them for the best results.

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