Working Remotely: How to Keep Your Connections Secure and Your Information Safe
It is no wonder why the number of people working remotely increases daily. It provides the opportunity for flexibility, cuts down on transportation costs, and even allows for some lucky individuals to travel the world. While working remotely does appeal to many, it can present problems. Working on personal computers, and using public Wi-Fi, can present many security and safety problems that can be immensely damaging. Whether you have been working remotely, or are thinking about starting, here are a few tips on keeping your connections secure, and information safe, regardless of where you work.
1 Access a VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to safely and securely connect to a remote network on the internet. If you are working remotely for a company, a VPN will allow you to access important files and resources from your company, while minimizing security risks. It does this by encrypting the connection and making it secure from hackers and malware. If working remotely requires you to use public Wi-Fi, a VPN will encrypt your online traffic, making it much more challenging for someone to invade your browsing privacy.
Aside from safety and security, VPNs are also extremely helpful for people who have to deal with regional restrictions, and the blocking of certain websites. Certain VPNs will make it appear as if you are browsing from another location. This can be very helpful if you are in a country like China, and want to access certain social media sites Facebook, Instagram, or Google.
2 Be Cautious of Public Wi-Fi Networks
If working remotely, you may be accessing public Wi-Fi through coffee shops or hotels. While this may be convenient, you do not necessarily know how secure the public Wi-Fi network is, opening yourself up to potential abuse. If you are working with sensitive material, or simply do not want your information compromised, be sure to take precautions. As said previously, using a VPN will encrypt your communications, creating a secure channel that eliminates risks. Avoiding public Wi-Fi networks entirely is also not a bad idea.
3 Keep Security Software Updated
This one is simple, but so often forgotten. When working remotely, it is up to you to ensure that all security software, programs and operating systems are updated. By maintaining antivirus and malware software, and keeping on top of programs updates, you are helping to lower the risk of your computer being infected by a virus. If you are unsure if your computer is up to date, check UMassAmherst’s security checklist for personal computers. It goes through security measures that should be taken regardless of working remotely or not.
4 Take Physical Safety Precautions
While protecting yourself in the virtual world is important, don’t neglect physical security and safety of your work related belongings. Most businesses have security measures set up to help keep computers and sensitive paperwork protected. Be sure to take similar precautions in your remote office. Ensure you are locking doors, and keeping documents in locked cabinets.
Some remote workers have even invested in Laptop Privacy Filters. You can purchase these from almost any office supply website, and they range anywhere from $30 to over $100. These screens will blank out the screen from side views, and make the screen only visible from someone looking straight on. If working remotely forces you to work in a public environment, these privacy filters will keep whatever confidential data (or any embarrassing websites you are visiting) safe from prying eyes.
5 Beware of Websites Not Using SSL
Taking the previous advice mentioned to help keep your information and connections secure should prevent you from encountering most problems. Anti-malware and anti-virus software may warn you if you have encountered an unsafe website, but this is not always the case. Avoid giving websites info that do not have SSL enabled. Sites using SSL will start with https. SSL is used to keep sensitive information encrypted as it is sent across the internet to the intended recipient. Suppose you were on a site without SSL enabled, and decided to make a purchase. Your billing information could possibly be compromised. So whenever you are visiting a new website, be sure to take a second to observe if SSL is enabled before giving away any private information.
Have you used any of these tips to keep your connections and information secure and safe? What other precautions do you take when working remotely?
This guest post was sent to us by Caroline.
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