Friday, May 8, 2020

Remote Workers: How to Stay Secure Online While Working from Home

Image from
This is a guest post from

Before the pandemic hit, the remote work industry had been growing at a fast pace. When the pandemic hit, though, a lot of businesses were forced to close down their physical offices.
For some of these people, the work still has to go on.
While those that have been in the freelance/ remote work industry for long now know how to keep themselves safe against threats online, that might not be the same for those that have been forced into the same shoes.
This is why we have come up with a piece to help you secure yourself better while working from home.
Secure your Logins
There are a series of applications that you now have to use on your home network. Most of these are sensitive work apps that you never log into outside work, but that is changing already.
The first thing to do would be beefing up the login process and protocols.
One of the ways to do so is by changing your passwords to be extra secure. For that, we recommend using an online password generator. Besides, you should also get a password manager to store all of your unique passwords. 
Finally, ensure you never use one password for multiple accounts.

Backup Your Files
As you go into work (remotely) every day, ensure you have backed your files and data up to at least the previous week. 
Since you cannot always go back into the office to get some files if you don't see them anymore, it would make sense to have a backup copy of everything that you are doing right now. In the case of a security breach, that will also ensure that you can wipe your device entirely and restore it from backup.  
We are not saying that is the only fix, but we are saying that you will be prepared for the extreme cases too.
Finally, you get the added advantage of having a backup that you can take back to work (to update your work computer with) when the pandemic is over.

Download Security Apps
The chances are that your workplace used to provide all the security apps and protocols on the internal network. Now that you are not working from there, it is up to you to get the same level of security going. 
You can do this by downloading security apps to suit your needs.
For us, we recommend that you download the best VPN and antivirus software that you can find, for starters.
The VPN will help you to encrypt your internet traffic/ data while the antivirus protects you against malware. Depending on your specific needs, you can then go seek out other security software.

Avoid Unencrypted Networks
We would have preferred this heading to be that you avoid public Wi-Fi networks, but they are not the only kinds of unencrypted networks you could come across. Sometimes, even your network might not be as safe as you think. 
The problem with unencrypted networks is how they expose you to the wrong side of the internet.
On the one hand, this could mean that you become a victim of one of those man-in-the-middle attacks. Likewise, a hacker could install different kinds of malware on your network – and this affects all the devices that you have connected to such a network.
Again, you will benefit from the VPN that we recommended up there through its encryption service.

Beware of Phishing Attacks
Since you are now working from home, most of your communication is taken online, which creates a massive opportunity for exploitation through phishing emails.
How do you know if something looks fishy? Always doublecheck any address sending you a mail before you open it at all. In the same vein, never download attachments in emails if they are from unsolicited sources. Even if the email seems to be coming from a trusted source, it doesn’t hurt you anything to scan the attachment with an antivirus software first.
The same goes for links in emails. It would be better to type the link into your browser by yourself rather than follow the email link. For all you know, it could be a spam/ phishing link.

Accessing Company Resources
It is often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In this case, you don't want to be the weak link to your company's assets.
If it ever happens that you need to access anything on the company’s servers from your home, only do so via an encrypted network. We have discussed how you can do this with a VPN above.
Otherwise, you run the risk of opening a backdoor into your company's servers due to your unsecured connection. We don’t need to be the ones to tell you how much of a disaster that could mean.

Dedicate Computers
It would be wise to keep all work files on a work computer – and there alone.
The kind of sync that many of the internet apps and services we use now provide us could be a costly convenience. This is why we never recommend syncing your work email from your work computer to an everyday phone. 
Of course, doing so means that you get to access your mails and other services on-the-go, but you are also leaving one more source of entry into such accounts.
Even if you have secured the work files and accounts on the work computer, the other units that you have synced the same data with might not be as secure. 

Final Words

These might sound like a lot of changes to you, but they are only there to make your life easier and better. By the time you are done applying all these tips, you will be able to sleep better.
If you have not already started securing your remote work processes, now is the time.