In light of the worsening threat presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have come to embrace telecommuting. By allowing workers to do their jobs from the comfort and safety of home, these companies are doing their part to limit the spread of this highly-contagious and hard-hitting virus. However, working from home doesn’t mean you should eschew the cybersecurity practices you adhere to at the office. Cybersecurity measures are in place for a reason, and failing to take them seriously can result in large problems for both you and your employer. To help ensure that important data and equipment remain safe throughout the current crisis, put the following pointers into practice.
Utilize Advanced Threat Protection Software
In the quest to keep valuable work data out of the wrong hands, advanced threat protection software can be an invaluable tool. In addition to keeping your work equipment safe from viruses and malware, the right security software can thwart the efforts of hackers, data thieves, and other cybercriminals. When searching for dependable software, keep an eye out for programs that provide readily-available tech support and consistent updates.
In order to get the most out of your new security software, take care to install updates as they become available instead of allowing them to sit on the backburner. These updates are designed to offer protection against newly-emerged threats, and the sooner you install them, the safer you’ll be. If you can’t be bothered to manually install every update, set the software to download and install them automatically. Most updates should be able to comfortably install themselves in the background without interfering with any work you’re doing.
Keep Your Operating System Up to Date
As is the case with security software, your operating system will need to be updated on a consistent basis to be fully effective against cyber threats. That being the case, make sure to install system updates posthaste instead of letting them pile up. While it’s true that some updates require computers to be restarted and take a fair amount of time to install, this is done in service of bolstering your digital defenses, not creating an inconvenience. Again, if the manual installation is too much of a chore, simply set your operating system to update automatically. The longer you sit on system updates, the more vulnerable your equipment and data are likely to be.
Password-Protect Your Network and Devices
Password protection can go a long way towards securing your home network and work equipment. When it comes to home network security, enabling password protection is the absolute least you can do. Failing to password-protect your network makes it vulnerable to the machinations of any cybercriminal who stumbles upon it. In fact, unprotected networks are such easy pickings that some criminals target them exclusively. Furthermore, make a point of password-protecting any devices that are used for work. In the event of theft or hacking, a good password can stop criminals in their tracks. When crafting passwords, avoid common phrases and number combinations, and don’t use the same password for multiple networks or devices. For maximum effectiveness, change your passwords on a semi-regular basis and be extremely mindful about who you share them with.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Depending on where you live, your home may be in the vicinity of a public Wi-Fi hotspot. While taking advantage of public Wi-Fi may help you save money, it’s hardly conducive to cybersecurity. Since anyone can access them, public networks are often playgrounds for cybercriminals. Using public networks for personal browsing is ill-advised, but using them for work-related matters is downright foolish. If you absolutely insist on using a public network, do so with the aid of a virtual private network, or “VPN,” as this will send your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, thereby making it very hard to intercept or decipher.
No one under the age of 100 has lived to see another pandemic on par with COVID-19. Given how easily-transferable and deadly the novel coronavirus can be, there’s little wonder as to why so businesses have become amenable to telecommuting. However, just because you’re no longer in the office doesn’t mean that cybersecurity should be placed on the backburner. At-home workers looking to keep valuable data and equipment secure will be well-served by the previously discussed measures.