5 Practical Cybersecurity Tips When Working at Home

Staying safe whilst you work from home

COVID-19 has shaken the world in more ways than one, striking fear into the hearts of many, forcing businesses to shut down, and forcing essential employees to work from home

Coming from someone who works at home, it’s not as glamorous as the media portrays it, especially not when you can’t go outside because there’s a global pandemic. One issue that’s experienced somewhat of a resurgence is the issue of cybersecurity.

Many neglect the importance of proper cybersecurity. With this article, I aim to educate you on how to upgrade your cybersecurity and keep you from being scammed, your identity being stolen, and your network from being invaded. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

5 Cybersecurity Tips for People Working at Home

In this section, I’ll be going over 5 cybersecurity tips for people who have been forced to work from home. See, businesses take great care in their network infrastructure, and this infrastructure includes cybersecurity. Most of us…we don’t really think about cybersecurity while at home. Why would we? We’re not usually handling confidential information.

But now the situation’s changed—you need to worry about your cybersecurity. Don’t worry, though; I got your back. I’ll explore the situation and solution for each point, so just sit back, relax, and get ready for a decent read.

1. Encrypt Your Communication

Browsing the Internet relieves us of boredom and keeps us entertained during times we may find ourselves bored and wanting more. One wrong turn, however, and you may find yourself at the wrong end of identity theft.

To alleviate this, you’ll want to encrypt the data you send to-and-from your devices, especially the one you use to handle business information. Now, you may be asking yourself how you can encrypt your data, and fortunately, I know just the answer: a VPN.

What is VPN? A VPN, short for virtual private network, encrypts all of your data, making it invisible to anyone else on the same network as you. This means that cybercriminals can’t intercept your data, your ISP can’t profit off your data, and the government can’t store information on you; you’ll be completely invisible for everyone else besides yourself. What’s not to love?

2. Update Your Software Frequently

Many people don’t update their devices frequently, if at all! I know, I know—updating your device can be annoying, time-consuming, and, depending on the device in question, downright painful. However, it’s a necessary part of cybersecurity since an outdated operating system allows cybercriminals easy access to your information.

Cybercriminals thrive on old, outdated coding and exploits. Newer devices prove difficult to break through, but outdated software? Well, many people use outdated software, meaning there’s a lot of opportunities to steal data and turn a profit.

Fortunately, the solution is as easy as clicking an update button and waiting a few minutes. Those minutes might be the most boring passage of time you’ve ever experienced, but you and your cybersecurity will be all the better for it.

3. Employ Strong Password Management Policies

Speaking of things people disregard on a frequent basis, let’s talk about passwords. I’ve met many people during my time as a cybersecurity writer that used the same passwords for every service they had an account for. The worst part? They never even bothered updating their passwords.

Passwords are the backbone of cybersecurity. Without them, no one would be able to hold an account for longer than a day before someone hacked into it. Using the same one for every account and never changing them…you put yourself at risk. 

To avoid having your accounts hacked into, frequently update your passwords and never—ever—use the same password for multiple accounts. Each account should sport its own unique password. Doing so reduces the chances of your passwords being stolen.

4. Practice Good Cybersecurity Etiquette

Since everyone’s been forced to work from home, scammers and cybercriminals alike have decided to take advantage of the situation, sending out phishing emails and using social engineering calls as a way to scam unsuspecting users into handing out personal and/or confidential information.

Surely, I don’t need to tell you the consequences of handing out such information. Fortunately, protecting yourself against these scams is easy. The key to protecting yourself here? Cybersecurity etiquette.

By etiquette, I’m talking about the way you interact with the Internet. An example would be the way you navigate your email. If you click on everything in your email—including spam emails—you’re just asking for your information to be stolen.

Practice good cybersecurity etiquette, else you may find out the hard way that clicking on random links can get you in a lot of trouble, and that’s the last thing I want for you!

5. Minimize or Completely Eliminate Usage of External Devices

External devices, devices such as USB drives, simplify data transfer, and give us a way to backup data. However, while you’re handling sensitive data, keep your usage of external devices to a minimum.

Using external storage devices increases the risk of someone stealing a said device. If someone were to stage a robbery, and they just happened to grab your USB drive, you’ve put your business’s information at risk—not the ideal situation.

As much as it pains me to say, you must forego using any sort of external storage device, at least for the time being. Once you’re not working from home anymore, feel free to stock up on as many USB drives as possible!

Conclusion

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. For the people working from home, a lifestyle change is needed—a lifestyle change of one focused on cybersecurity.

It might be a bit frustrating at first—terrible, even—but once you succeed in adopting a cybersecurity-centric lifestyle, you probably won’t want to go back. After all, cybersecurity is important 24/7, not just during a pandemic. If you can, take the lessons I’ve given you and adapt to your daily routine immediately.

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