Nowadays, working from home is in vogue, and the benefit galore it offers has been turning it into a norm in the job market. In fact, 90% of employees agree that the flexible work arrangements that come with working from home can boost their morale. While employees can enjoy flexible working hours and a better work-life balance, employers can reduce operation costs and improve the overall productivity of their workforce.
From a cybersecurity standpoint, however, working from home is rife with security risks. The conventional way of confining workforces in brick-and-mortar offices makes it easy to control all aspects of a business’s security posture. Employers can easily control aspects like data access, network security, app sanctioning, and data encryption. The moment an employee walk out of the office, their locus of control becomes even smaller. Luckily, you can do a lot, when working from home, to ensure the security of your corporate data.
Here is how to embrace high data security standards when working from home:
Set Up the Necessary Home Office Safety Precautions
Before setting up all the virtual cybersecurity precautions, you need to ensure that your data is secure from physical theft. Sure, it might be tough for family members to try and access your corporate data while you are working at home, but you should eliminate this risk. Besides, it can be possible for your home to be invaded.
Start by purchasing locks that will make it easy to separate your home office from your home life. You can lock up files in a file cabinet, and also set up rules that dictate who is allowed into your home office. It might also pay to protect any device you use for work with passwords.
While you may place all the physical controls to protect your data, it can be possible for hackers to access your data through your network. If you will be using your home’s Wi-Fi while working, ensure that it uses WPA 2 security for strong protection. You should also set up a strong password for your Wi-Fi.
It might also pay to ask your IT team to protect your personal home devices with a firewall, as this will block any unauthorized and malicious intents to access your data. For situations where you need to access public Wi-Fi, it is best to do so with the help of a VPN since it could be easy for cybercriminals to snoop into your data through unprotected public Wi-Fi networks. VPNs encrypt data passing through them, making it tough for the data to be manipulated.
Embrace Cloud Storage
The introduction of the cloud has proved to be a revolutionary concept in the cybersecurity space. First, the cloud ensures that any data you are working on will be stored in a central server. In case you lose your device, you won’t have to worry about recovering the data.
Second, you can easily encrypt any data you store in the cloud. For anyone to access to the data, they will need to have the encryption key, regardless of whether they can access your device or not. Lastly, once you update data on the server, anyone who has access to it, including your whole team, will identify that the data has been updated. This is way better than having separate versions of the same data on different devices, as this makes it tough to identify the most recent version. Simply choose a cloud provider with a formidable security posture, great customer support, and amazing service benefits to you and your corporation.
Backup Data Regularly
A lot can happen to the data you store in your home devices, from the devices being stolen to breaking down. What if the data you had stored in them was essential to landing a lucrative contract with an elusive client? This is why data backup matters. Instead of backing up your data only in a flash drive, you should back it up in different locations.
Ideally, it might be wise to follow the 3-2-1 rule of data backup– have three copies of the data in question, store two copies on off-site media, and store the last copy onsite. This ensures that you have more than one location to look for data whenever you need to restore it. Ensure that the backups are regular to avoid any issues down the line.
Stick To Sanctioned Application
Your company’s policy will outline the applications that are allowed for use by employees. While there are many more apps that might make working from home easier, it would be better to stick to application sanctioned by your IT department. Some of these other apps might come filled with security loopholes and malware that make it easy for cybercriminals to access your data.
This idea of looking to use apps that aren’t sanctioned by your IT team is dubbed shadow IT, and it can be a slippery slope. If you have a better alternative to the apps sanctioned by the department, feel free to approach the IT team. This ensures that they can assess the security of the application and determine whether it will be putting your corporate data security in jeopardy.
Despite the benefit galore that working from home promises, it requires you to be vigilant security-wise. You should look to eliminate any aspect that can complicate your data security. Focus on the tips above to eliminate common data security bottlenecks and enjoy the perks of working from home.