How to Keep Data Safe While Working Remotely
The number of people working remotely or from home is rising every year. A Gallup study found that in 2016, 43 percent of American workers spent at least some of their workweek in a remote location. That number has actually grown to 48% in 2018. While remote work has its benefits, there are also risks associated with it. With the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) being enforced in May of 2018, businesses need to take a closer look at remote working vulnerabilities where sensitive data could be lost or stolen.
Things to Consider When Working Remotely
Here are some tips for keeping business data safe while working away from the office.
- Public Wi-Fi – We have all used public Wi-Fi at one time or another. These networks are incredibly convenient and can be a great option for you to connect to the internet when you are on the go. However, they are also vulnerable to malicious attacks. It only takes a few seconds for cyber criminals to steal your login credentials, personal information, and other data. Ask yourself if you really need to connect to the internet or can it wait until I am able to connect to an encrypted network.
- Password Protection – Having a strong password on your device is a must. Passwords are still one of the most obvious ways to protect your business and employees from hackers. Having a Two-Factor Authentication and a pass phrase instead or password is even better.
- Device Protection – Employees working remotely should have anti-virus, firewalls, email filtering, web filtering, and device encryption installed and up to date on their mobile devices and laptops to ensure they are as safe.
- Security Awareness Plan – All employees should be familiar with the company security awareness plan. Having a security plan in place ensures that the company is doing everything they can to secure sensitive company information as well as personal information. Most plans identify confidential information, and what what the company is doing to ensure it is secure. Regularly identify a subject that is meaningful to the company and needs to be addressed to reduce your security risks. Create an awareness training for employees that is engaging and educational. Communicate expectations with employees. Gather feedback from training and ensure that everyone has participated. Identify ways you can check to see if your employees are learning and implementing best practices in their work.
- External Hard Drives – Removable devices can be a source of malware and should be checked before putting them into your laptop. These devices can get lost easily giving the finder access to sensitive data. Don’t install anything on your computer that you don’t know where the source came from. When in doubt, don’t risk exposing your device to potentially harmful viruses.
- Find My Device – Make sure you have “Find My Device” enabled on your mobile devices. In the event that someone in your company accidentally leaves a device behind or it is stolen, having this feature can help you get your equipment back.
Protek works tirelessly to make sure our clients have a strong security awareness plan in place and that their employees are educated and informed about the potential for vulnerable attacks. These tips will help those working remotely make sure they understand the risks associated with being away from the office. If you want more information on how you can keep your business secure, sign up for our Free IT Security Assessment.
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Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.