In an attempt to arrest the spread of COVID-19, many companies are shutting down their offices and telling employees to work remotely. Remote working is a great solution for business continuity in uncertain times, but how can workers be sure to protect their internet privacy while working remotely, perhaps on their personal devices?
Internet privacy while working from home requires staying alert to what’s going on in your physical workspace as well as with your devices. You need to keep your devices to yourself, keep them secure, and avoid shoulder-lookers or others in your physical workspace.
Use a comprehensive security solution to protect against viruses and malware. Avoid public WiFi, use a VPN, and store company files on your company’s preferred cloud storage platform.
Keep Family Members Off Your Work Devices
You should keep work devices and personal devices separate if at all possible. Your company will probably issue you a laptop, and they might also issue a mobile device or devices. Only you should be using these devices, and only for work-related stuff.
Using them for non-work-related stuff could not only compromise the security and privacy of your company’s data, but it could get you in trouble. Control access to these devices so you can control access to the sensitive data they contain.
Use a Company-Approved VPN
Your company will probably want you to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to perform any remote work, and that’s a smart idea from a security perspective. Many companies have an approved VPN that remote workers can use to log into the company system.
Make sure you know how to access it. Test your VPN login process and credentials before your first day working from home.
Invest in Strong Antivirus Protection
It’s bad enough if hackers can get into your personal devices and steal your personal information. You definitely don’t want them to get at your company’s data if you can help it. Invest in comprehensive internet security software.
A good program will protect all of the devices on your network, both work and personal.
Secure Your Physical Work Area
Don’t forget that physical security is just as important as virtual security when you’re working from home. While you’re not likely to be out in public much as the pandemic situation unfolds, it’s still a good idea to keep physical documents out of sight.
Don’t let your family members or kids look over your shoulder or peruse your company’s sensitive memos. You never know what they might say to friends or post on social media.
Protect Your Devices
You might not need to worry too much about someone in your household stealing your work devices while you’re on COVID-19 lockdown. Then again, it depends on who lives in your household.
If you have a surly, bored, and poorly behaved teenager sulking around the house, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your devices.
Avoid Public WiFi
Again, you’re not going to be out in public during a quarantine situation. But unsecured WiFi networks are available in many homes, as anyone who has Xfinity can attest. These unsecured networks are, well, unsecured. That means they’re not a safe conduit for your company’s sensitive information.
Use your secured home WiFi network instead. Make sure you’ve got your home network locked down with strong login credentials and other security precautions. If someone is able to get onto another device on your network, they can access your work device, too.
Use Company-Sanctioned Cloud Storage
You might prefer to use specific programs and cloud storage platforms, but you should only use the ones your employer directs you to use. They’ve chosen them for a reason, after all, and that reason maybe because they’re monitoring them for signs of suspicious activity that could compromise the data on your company-issued device.
Security is especially critical when it comes to storing and backing up files. Sensitive data should always be stored centrally and in a secure place. You don’t want duplicate copies on your laptop or mobile device, or anywhere outside of the company storage environment, because that compromises security. That’s why it’s important to use your company’s preferred cloud storage solution.
While you’re working from home and waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to blow over, it’s important to maintain your internet security. With the right security practices, you can make remote work easier for everyone involved, and that’ll smooth the eventual transition back to normalcy.
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested in mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.