Remote Work and Cybersecurity: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

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The workforce is changing. The classic office spaces are no longer the standard setup. In 2018, Switzerland-based IWG found out that around 70% of people work remotely at least one day of the week. And things keep progressing. According to a study by GlobalWorklaceAnalytics, the remote workforce has grown by 173% since 2005.

This shift makes sense too. Who wouldn’t choose freedom and flexibility over the monotony of a shared office? But most offices do have conventional threat prevention methods and secure systems in place. Thus, remote work increases the risks from hackers and online delinquents.

Many companies don’t have this all figured out yet. That’s why it is up to each remote worker (and freelancer as well) to protect their own devices. It’s not only for the benefit of the companies they work for either. Thanks to the many different platforms and devices a remote worker uses daily, their personal data is at risk too.

So what can remote workers do to keep themselves safe? Take a look at these five tips that remote workers and freelancers can use to up their cybersecurity game.

Keep Work and Personal Devices Separate

Many companies have security protocols in place for work computers and devices. But most can’t say the same for personal devices.

It might be tempting to check an email or finish up a project in bed with a smartphone or personal computer. But chances are these devices don’t have the same security precautions, such as encrypted drives and endpoint protection. So, try to keep work and personal devices separate as much as possible.

Secure the Connection Over Public Networks

Whenever someone connects to a public WiFi network in places such as coffee shops, they risk having their data intercepted. Hackers caught on to people’s fondness of working in public spaces. And they have taken steps to steal their data over public networks.

Keep in mind that there are other people on that same network too. With a little know-how, they can get into your device. And with no firewall between them and the device, it isn’t all that hard.
On top of that, some people can monitor the open network and collect data that you send over it. For those reasons, remote workers must protect their devices and connections from potential disaster.

VPN services provide an excellent solution to this problem. They encrypt any data travelling to and from a device. Even if someone stole that data, it would be unreadable because of encryption. So they would gain nothing from it.

NordVPN is the right option when it comes to choosing a VPN. Many tech review sites recommend their service. This VPN has a no-logs policy, many servers in different locations, and a few different pricing options.

Protect Screens From Prying Eyes

Eavesdropping rarely crosses remote worker’s minds as something they should be wary of. But it is, in fact, a problem in public spaces. Criminals can gather a lot of information that way — including sensitive emails or even login details.

The best way to avoid this issue is to make sure the computer or device is angled away from any other people. But that’s not always possible. In that case, tools like privacy screen filters can help. There are different options available. Some laptop manufacturers like Dell provide privacy screens for most of their models.

Beware of USBs

USBs are a traditional means of spreading malware. Even though most people are aware of the risks, it’s still effective. Employees could share infected USBs and criminals can plant them to spread their viruses and malware.

Also, be careful when leaving devices unattended — especially in public spaces. Criminals can insert a USB and run pre-programmed scripts to crack passwords.

Keep Data Safe By Storing Files on Cloud Servers

Storing data on a device alone is one way to have it stolen or held ransom. Cloud servers, on the other hand, are secure and better protected — a much more difficult task for hackers. Another benefit is the fact that the data will stay safe even if the laptop or mobile device goes missing.

Summary
Remote work may provide some unique cybersecurity problems to both companies and workers. But as long as people take steps to protect their devices and connections, they should be just fine.

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