At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2020, more than 70% of Americans were doing all or at least some of their work from home on a regular basis.
It seems as though the pandemic is coming to a close right now. But even still, there are millions of Americans who are continuing to work from home day in and day out.
If you’re one of them, internet safety is something that should be at the forefront of your mind while working remotely. The absolute last thing that you want to do is put your personal data or sensitive company data at risk because of a lack of internet safety at home.
Fortunately, there are some cybersecurity tips for remote workers that you can put to good use to prevent this from happening. We’ve put together a list of WFH safety tips for you to ensure that you’ll be able to go about safely working from home.
Check out our tips on maintaining cybersecurity when working remotely below.
Start by Setting Up a Secure Home Network and Make Sure You Use It at All Times
Even if you’re not someone who works from home on a computer, you should make sure that you set up a secure home network that you and your family can use. Otherwise, you’re going to be inviting others to jump on your home network and access all of your private information.
But it’s especially important for those working remotely to set up secure home networks. You won’t have to worry about anyone working their way onto your home network when you take the right steps to secure it.
The router that you use to access your home network should be password-protected. And the password that you choose for it should be as strong as possible. You should also get into the habit of updating your router early and often to be sure that it’s always up-to-date.
Ask Your Company to Supply You With a Work Laptop to Use at Home
As recently as just a few years ago, most companies chose not to supply all of their employees with their own work laptops. But now that so many people are working remotely in this day and age, it makes sense for these companies to begin dishing out work laptops to as many of their employees as they can.
If you’re not already using a work laptop while working from home, you should check in with your employer to see if you can obtain one. Most employers are more than happy to provide their employees with work laptops nowadays.
A work laptop will come with quite a few security tools that will be designed to keep it safe. It’ll also come with the software that you’ll need to get access to the company information that you use on a daily basis to do your job.
Learn About the Policies Your Company Has in Place on Accessing and Storing Sensitive Information
While most employers are on board with the idea of handing over work laptops to their employees, there is usually a catch that comes along with them doing it. These employers often put policies in place to make sure that their employees are accessing and storing sensitive information in the correct way.
Employers will typically make it clear that employees are to learn about these policies and follow along with them. But you might also want to take it upon yourself to ask lots of questions as far as how you’re expected to access and store sensitive information.
You don’t want there to be any big misconceptions when you get a work laptop and begin using it to access and store information. You should be on the same page as your employer so that you’re able to work to maintain your internet safety.
Steer Clear of Allowing Your Spouse, Kids, Roommates, Etc. to Use Your Work Laptop
If your work laptop is going to be the only computer in your house once you bring it home, there is a chance that your spouse, kids, roommates, etc. might ask you to use it. They’ll see it as an opportunity for them to get some computer time at home.
You might be tempted to let them use your work laptop when they ask. But you should not do this under any circumstances. Your spouse, kids, roommates, etc. could put your company’s sensitive information at risk while they’re on your work laptop.
Jump On Your Personal Laptop to Take Care of Personal Matters
According to one recent report, about 50% of those people who have work laptops use them for personal matters every so often. They check their personal email accounts on their work laptops. They update their fantasy football teams on their work laptops. They even sign in to their online banking accounts on their work laptops.
Doing these kinds of things is always a bad idea! You could end up letting your guard down while you’re tending to personal matters on your work laptop and accidentally downloading a virus or malware to it in the process.
You should stick to using your work laptop for work and jump on a personal device when you want to handle personal matters. It’ll guarantee that you don’t put your company’s sensitive information at risk while taking care of personal matters on a work laptop.
Create Strong Passwords for Each and Every Account That You Access on Your Work Laptop
There are lots of different accounts that you’re going to have to access while on your work laptop. You’ll need to sign in to everything from your company’s content management system to your video conferencing software in order to do your job effectively.
It’s OK to have all of these various accounts. But you should be sure that you password-protect all of them and pick out strong passwords for them. Ideally, you want the passwords for these accounts to contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols so that it’s impossible for people to guess them and break into your accounts.
You’ll be asking for trouble if you make the passwords for your various accounts something like “password” or “1234.” You should go with something a lot more complicated than that to protect your accounts from the prying eyes of others.
Consider Taking Advantage of Multi-Factor Authentication on Your Work Laptop
If you want to make sure that others can’t get into the different accounts that you’ll access on your work laptop, you might want to think about putting multi-factor authentication to the test.
Multi-factor authentication is something that will require you to provide two pieces of evidence that prove that you are who you say you are when signing into your account. First, you’ll be asked to put in the name and password for an account. And then, you’ll be asked to check your email or your text messages for a special code that you’ll have to put in to get into an account.
This extra step will make all of your various accounts even more secure than they would be otherwise. Multi-factor authentication has turned into a very effective tool for those working remotely and trying to maintain their internet security.
Be Careful When Clicking on Links or Opening Email Attachments on Your Work Laptop
It’s important for you to be careful about which links you click on and which email attachments you open when you’re on any computer, regardless of whether it’s for personal or work use. But it’s doubly important to be careful when doing it on a work laptop.
If you click on a link that you’re not supposed to click on or open up the wrong kind of email attachment, you might download a virus or malware to your work laptop. This is going to cause major issues for you and your employer as it could open your work laptop up to an attack from the outside. Sensitive company information could be compromised when this occurs.
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid clicking on any links that you’re not familiar with. You should also give someone a call when they send an email attachment in your direction to be sure that it’s legit. Doing these things will go a long way towards allowing you to maintain your internet safety.
Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN) If You Ever Have to Use a Public Network for Any Reason
There might be some instances in which you’ll need to sign in to a public network on your work laptop. For example, you might be traveling for work and need to use a public network at a coffee shop so that you can finish a report and send it to your boss.
You’re welcome to do this. But when you do, you’ll want to take the right steps to ensure that you don’t put your work laptop at risk on a public network.
The best way to do this is by signing in to a virtual private network, also known as a VPN, before your use a public network. A VPN will make it impossible for others to track your internet activity on a public network. It’ll also stop them from being able to access the data on your work laptop while you’re using it on a public network.
This helpful guide will break down what a VPN is and how it works for you. It would be well worth your time if you suspect that you might need to use your work laptop on public networks every now and then.
Bring Your Work Laptop Back Into Your Company for Any Repairs, Maintenance, Etc.
If your employer provides you with a brand-new work laptop, you probably won’t have to be too concerned about doing repairs, maintenance, etc. anytime soon. Most laptops last for about 5 years these days, so a new work laptop isn’t going to need to have anything done to it for at least a few years in most cases.
But if your employer provides you with a used work laptop, there might be times when it’ll need to have repairs, maintenance, etc. done. When these times come, you should always bring your work laptop back in to your company and let them handle fixing it.
You don’t ever want to bring your work laptop to a third-party company to have anything done to it unless your employer specifically tells you to. A third-party company might not work hard enough to keep your work laptop and everything that is on it safe. This could lead to your company’s sensitive information getting out there into the world.
Your employer likely has an IT team that they trust to take care of the work laptops that they give out to their employees. You should take full advantage of this and count on them to repair or maintain your work laptop when there is an issue with it.
These Tips Should Make It Possible for You to Maintain WFH Internet Safety
When you’re working from home, internet safety might be the last thing on your mind. You’re going to be so worried about maintaining connections with your coworkers and doing your job that you might not give internet safety a second thought.
But you should do everything in your power to keep your work laptop and your home network secure. It’ll prevent your sensitive company information from landing in the wrong hands at any point.
Use the WFH internet safety tips found here to emphasize the importance of cybersecurity when working remotely. They’ll work wonders for your internet safety from the second you start utilizing them Anagram Generator.
Find more valuable WFH tips and tricks by reading through the other articles posted on our blog.