Working from home or places other than the typical office setting is becoming much more common. Many companies are adopting a remote-work first culture. The rise of the gig economy and self-employment is fueled in part by the ability to work from anywhere.
However, being successful at working from home isn’t just about productivity, and being able to do your job the same as if you were in an office. Being successful at working outside of the usual office is also about being able to overcome the work from home cyber security issues. Ensuring you are continuing to protect your work and your business.
When working for a company in a traditional office, we can take for granted the cybersecurity comforts of this environment and the fact that it protects us long before we ever start working.
The physical security of the office protects our laptops and documents from espionage and theft. The established company network has enterprise-grade security tools installed and people monitoring it for threats. Your computer web browsing activity is filtered and protected.
However, once we leave the office, we leave all of this behind. Once we’re in the gig economy, or self-employed, all of this becomes our responsibility. Our laptops and documents are as safe from espionage and theft as we make them. There is nobody else looking out for us or our networks. There is nobody to call and no web filtering to step in to stop you if you accidentally click on a malicious link.
How to be cyber secure working from home
However, this doesn’t mean we’re stuck. There is a lot we can do to protect ourselves, our computers and our information. Whether you’re self-employed or even work from home occasionally for a large corporation, a lot of the tips in this article can still apply.
Keep reading for some tips on how to be cyber secure working from home!
Practice good Cybersecurity Hygiene
There is no way to overstate the importance of good cybersecurity hygiene once working from home. Cyber Hygiene is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting yourself.
Good Cybersecurity Hygiene includes
- Using strong passwords or passphrases and a password manager
- Setting up Two-Factor Authentication (Also called Multifactor authentication)
- Learning how to detect phishing emails and be aware of scams and malicious links
- Installing updates for your computer and software regularly
- Install a good antivirus
If you’d like further details sone of these topics, we have a free email course just for you! Click Here to signup!
Use safe networks
Typically, in an office, the network provided by the company has security built into it. Outside of that office, though, is a different story.
Using networks that you know are safe (Not the public WiFi at the local coffee shop) will go along way to protecting your computer and data.
If you must use unsafe networks, use a VPN. A VPN won’t wholly secure you, but it will help protect you from the hazardous network you’re on by tunneling your traffic to a server outside of that network.
At home, ensure you’ve securely set up your router, and have a strong passphrase for your WiFi. If your router has a firewall, then make sure that it is enabled as well!
Be conscious of your workspace choice
It can be exciting to explore your new freedom being able to work from anywhere and start working from many new places. However, not all the areas that you think you can work from are good workspace choices.
Even if you’re not going to use the WiFi, you still need to be cautious of where you work. Someone can steal information from you by reading your screen over your shoulder, watching you type, or overhearing your conference call.
When you choose a place to work, look around, and ask yourself a few questions:
- Can anyone read my screen? Not just in the building, but is there a window behind me that gives a view of my screen?
- Could someone read or snap a picture of the papers or notes I have on my table without me noticing?
- Is there anyone in earshot? Is this an appropriate location to discuss the topics I have to talk about today?
- Is the ambient noise at a higher level? Am I going to need to raise my voice on the phone? If so, will that cause anyone around me to be able to listen to the conversation?
- Is there the possibility of someone interrupting me and being able to read or hear things they shouldn’t?
Lock everything up after work
In the office, we can take for granted the security that protects the documents and computers we have.
Outside of the though, that protection is up to us. After you’ve completed your work, documents and laptops should be secured and protected.
If you’re working at a co-working space today, and plan to meet up with friends at the bar afterward, consider how you’re going to secure your laptop and documents after work.
Leaving them unattended at the co-working space, or unattended at the bar exposes them to potential espionage and theft.
When from home, we can tend to leave everything out, the same as if we were in the office.
However, if you were to leave documents lying out on a desk or allow someone else to use your computer during non-work hours, they could have access to materials and information that they otherwise shouldn’t be able to whether with or without your knowledge.
If you need to leave it, lock it up
Of course, we can’t sit and do 8 hours straight of work without having to get up to go to the bathroom or fill the coffee cup.
Since you probably don’t want to take your laptop and documents with you each time you go to the bathroom, ensure they’re secured before you go.
Use a laptop lock to lock your laptop to the desk, so it’s still there when you come back, and it doesn’t become stolen.
Set up the lock screen on your laptop. Each time you leave, lock the screen so that someone can’t simply lift the lid and start browsing through your files while you’re gone.
Working from home can be a lot of fun, and provide a different perspective on the workday. However, while being productive is important, its also essential to consider your cybersecurity.
We can take for granted the cybersecurity comforts of being in the office.
Have you been working in locations other than the usual office? Let me know in the comments how you’ve been ensuring you’re cyber secure!