The idea of working remotely is catching on fast globally. Home-based employees enjoy flexible working hours, which translates to a better work-life balance. Organizations, too, are also realizing the benefits of a remote workforce in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Working from home certainly has its perks. However, the technology that makes all this possible is susceptible to security breaches. Whether you are a remote employee or run your own business from home, one thing that remains constant is the need to keep private data secure.
How Can You Keep Your Data Secure?
In the traditional corporate setup, employees rely on the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and other security measures put in place by the company. As a telecommuter, the responsibility of ensuring data is secure solely falls on you.
Secure Your Computer
The first step in preventing data breaches is installing an antivirus to protect your computer from unknown threats. Such threats may enter your device from external drives, DVDs/CDs, and the internet.
Use antivirus software to detect and protect your system from:
- Phishing attacks
Every year there are tens of millions of new malware generated. Each poses a different type of threat to your computer. Therefore, investing in a good antivirus is a necessity you cannot afford to overlook.
Set Up A Firewall
When it comes to cybersecurity, one of the biggest areas of exposure for your system is your internet connection. If your network is susceptible to attacks, hackers can exploit it to access, edit, or steal information.
This is why it is vital to set up a firewall to shield your network and computer from external access. You can also set up your firewall to block data from specific network addresses and applications without limiting access to necessary data.
You should also set up a layered security system to bolster your protection. With a layered system, data will be safer as anytime one layer is breached, additional ones are protecting the information.
Ensure Your Office Is Secure
Physical safety is just as important as digital security when it comes to data protection. If your computer or hard disk is stolen or damaged, your information could be exposed or lost. Therefore, it is essential to have a secure home office.
The first thing you need to do is to separate your work and personal life. This means limiting your family’s access to your home office. Children, especially, can damage or erase sensitive material unintentionally.
Your house should also have a fully functioning security system that can scare intruders away. This should be topped up with a highly secure office door that should always be locked when you are not working.
Even if you do not live in an area prone to natural disasters, take precautions for the same. Have heavy-duty storm shutters, and other safeguards installed. You can also add a fireproof lockbox to store portable devices and confidential documents.
Backup Your Data
In today’s global economic landscape, data is arguably the most valuable resource. Institutions rely on data to understand markets, improve efficiency, and even customize ads and products to suit individual preferences.
Loss of sensitive data not only exposes the organization to liability but also affects service delivery and efficiency. Other than the threat of hackers stealing information, power surges, or damage to hardware can make data inaccessible.
This is why it is important to save data in other locations. There are several methods of backing up your data. They include:
- Portable hard disks and USBs
- Network-attached storage
- Cloud storage
If you choose to back your data in an external hard drive, it is advisable to store it in a safe place away from your home. This will ensure your data is safe even in the worst-case scenario.
Backing up data is and will continue being the most reliable method of protecting yourself from data loss. Backup data is like a spare tire; it’s not about if you’ll need it but rather when you will need it. Hard drives and servers are all susceptible to damage. The more back up options you have, the more secure your data will be.
Keep Up With Updates
At times it may seem like software companies release new updates too frequently. However, this is not the case. One of the main reasons they do this is to stay ahead of hackers and boost your security.
This is because every time new software is released, cybercriminals work tirelessly to identify any weaknesses that they can exploit. When you use updated to newer versions of software, you limit your exposure to cyberattacks.
Data Protection Is All About Being Proactive
Protecting your data is not a one-time event but more of a continuous process. The key to ensuring private information is not exposed is checking and improving your security measures consistently.