It’s 7 am.
Time to fill up the travel mug with extra strong coffee and brace yourself for the long, aggravating, and irritating morning commute…. to the kitchen table.
One big advantage of being a digital nomad? No traffic nightmares.
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The downside? No IT experts working down the hall who will come and fix a wide range of tech problems or provide ‘customer support’.
Millions of people are now on the job search, desperately scouring job boards for remote work.
Whether the goal is full-time employment or part-time freelance, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest cybersecurity tips, along with learning how to build a tech strategy.
Work from home: 5 security tips
1. Use ‘digital duct tape’ to separate work and personal life
Life is often messy; so ensure business related materials don’t get mixed in with it.
A key way to avoid this is to have one email address for work and one for personal use. This will avoid the chance that confidential information accidentally gets sent to cousin Bob. Just about everyone has fallen victim to ‘auto-fill’ at least once, and accidentally emailed the wrong person. This could have serious implications if the information, for example, contains details of an upcoming product launch or work on a registered trademark.
If possible, remote workers should also designate a computer as ‘only for business’. This would reduce the risk of a cyber virus infection.
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2. Counting is for kids…. Say No to ‘123456’
We get it; it’s hard to remember the dozens of passwords for every device, website, and food delivery app. Unfortunately, hackers also know it.
Using ‘iloveyou’ or a simple number as a password isn’t cute, and definitely not unique.
Remember a ‘work at home job’ is the real deal and comes with a real paycheck.
Another good idea; when heading out on a coffee run, lock all doors and windows at home, and never ever leave a laptop in your car. It takes mere seconds for a thief to smash the window or push a button and open the trunk.
3. Guard and protect your Wi-Fi
Remote jobs can offer people the freedom to work on their own schedule, increase productivity, and eliminate much of the stress associated with office life.
At the same time, there is also increased importance on maintaining a fast, reliable, and secure internet connection. It is really your portal to the outside world; so it needs to be protected at all times.
If a hacker or someone with bad intent has access to your Wi-Fi, they have the means to infiltrate your life, including seeing confidential banking information or even stealing your identity. Also, equally frightening, a Wi-Fi invader could watch you on your own webcam.
As with passwords for apps, computers, and other devices… the Wi-Fi password should also be difficult to crack.
Also think about ‘who’ and how many people have the password.
Eliminate the risk altogether by setting up a ‘guest network’ (which is free) in your house that friends and family can use; it is separate from your network used for business and private matters (different passwords!). It may seem like a daunting task, but there are ‘how to’ videos for everything on YouTube these days.
4. A virtual private network will boost your at-home security
On the classic 1960s comedy show ‘Get Smart’ (also a movie in 2008), the cone of silence was used for top-secret conversations. Of course, the perpetual joke through the series was that people inside it couldn’t hear each other, but those outside could hear everything!
Now think of your home working environment as the ‘cone’, where devices/ computers can be accessed (heard) by hackers.
Many employers provide access to their VPN server, which obviously must be used over an unsecured WiFi network. The VPN essentially masks your identity, allowing safe internet activity with encrypted data that can’t be stolen by online thieves.
But there are many jobs listed these days that are for smaller companies or startups that don’t provide a VPN; so the onus falls on you.
This is something to consider when scanning job postings for so-called ‘anywhere jobs.’
A personal VPN is affordable, in fact, some are less than a monthly Netflix subscription. And while free options are tempting, many experts say – don’t do it – for a number of reasons.
- You get what you pay for (or don’t). Free VPNs are less safe, which is strange considering the entire purpose of getting one is to increase internet security.
- If you hate TV commercials, you will probably hate all the ads popping up.
- It could really slow down the internet. Remember buffering?
5. Know who – or what – could be snooping on you
The potential threat could be next door or anywhere in the world.
Scroll down through your social media feed, and you are likely to find some kind of new computer security warning.
Shock is one word to describe the reaction when it was uncovered that various apps, including well-respected ones, were “...reading clipboard data” on IOS devices.
Have you ever heard of a zombie cookie? This one isn’t sweet. Most people don’t mind internet cookies for convenience, including online shopping. But cookies do store information on website visits, which could be yet another way for hackers to invade.
Malware threats are also constantly changing, so monitoring the news for WFH security tips is crucial.