We are living in a world where large numbers of people work from home. Remote workers have grown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many freelancers and business entrepreneurs continue to prefer a home work environment. Those who are smart understand that there are cybersecurity essentials important to the home office.
Choosing to ignore your online safety in a home work environment can have disastrous consequences. Some individuals have even seen their business destroyed because they failed to safeguard personal data and work files.
Keep Your Devices Updated
The most important device that you use when working from home is probably your computer. You may also rely on laptops and tablets as well as your phone to accomplish work tasks. All of these devices need to have frequent updates to maintain important protection against security threats.
Software updates and patches are issued when developers locate and resolve vulnerabilities within an operating system. In a perfect world no device would be released until it was invulnerable. In the actual world no device can achieve this because new threats are constantly emerging. It is a game of cat and mouse. The developers create a more secure platform, and the hackers immediately go to work trying to breach it.
These updates can be a pain to endure. All of us have become frustrated when an update begins to install as we are working on something. The good news is that you can eliminate that frustration by choosing when to schedule updates. You can even arrange to have them downloaded and installed while you sleep.
The price for skipping updates can be high. Your device may fail, or you could be exposed to security risks. Yes, sometimes an update can cause problems that have to be sorted out with another patch. This is just a part of the process. Learn to embrace updates as a part of your working from home routine.
Password Use and Management
Some of the most effective security measures are also the simplest. A habit of creating strong passwords and changing them on a regular basis is one of the strongest cybersecurity essentials for those who work at home.
Some thing about passwords should be common sense. You should never use personal information as a part of a password. Don’t include birth dates or other numbers people could know. Also, you should avoid using the same password on multiple sites. If one is compromised, you could suffer a breach on many of the sites that use that same password.
A good password is long enough that you don’t have to worry about it being easily guessed. It should also contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. If you are not comfortable creating a strong password of this nature, there are password generators that can do it for you.
How often you change your passwords is a matter of personal preference, although we would suggest at least twice per year. Some people change them every quarter, and others rotate the passwords so that one or two can be changed each month.
A Strong and Reliable VPN
Yes, a VPN is still a cybersecurity essential for the home office. It is also a good idea on general principles for those who want to improve their safety when using the Internet. Today, VPN service is affordable and accessible to almost everyone.
Without getting into the technical aspects, a VPN encrypts your online traffic. This makes it impossible for someone to spy on your activity. They cannot steal any personal data that is unable to be seen. VPNs can also be used to evade geo-blocking of websites.
The key is to choose a VPN that is both strong and reliable. You should avoid free VPNs at all costs. These VPNs simply do not have a good reputation, and many of them subsidize their service by selling your data to third parties. Make sure that the VPN you choose does not keep logs of your Internet activity.
Antivirus Software with Malware Protection
Nothing has changed when it comes to protecting your device with antivirus software. You should also include malware and spyware protection. A good antivirus suite will have all the tools that you need to prevent threats which can infect your device.
The thing with antivirus software is that it also must be updated regularly. New virus definitions are being added all the time. Your software is only as good as its ability to identify and neutralize specific threats, so keep it current.
One thing to be aware of when it comes to antivirus protection is the inclusion of a VPN. Some antivirus suites have started bundling a free VPN with their service. You should treat this free VPN the same way as other no-cost option. Regard it with skepticism. It is likely better to choose an affordable VPN that stands alone from your antivirus program.
Home Cybersecurity Best Practices
Let’s talk for a minute about the best practices you can have when it comes to cybersecurity in the home workplace.
It is always a good idea to keep your work and home life separate. If you are fortunate enough to have an Internet connection and devices that can be dedicated to your work, great. You will minimize cybersecurity threats when you strictly control who is using your network and devices.
Budget your VPN service and other cybersecurity expenses, and keep receipts. You may be able to deduct some of the expenses you have for security.
It should be a no-brainer, but avoid any type of Internet activity that could cause trouble in your home business. Be careful what you share on social media. The social media networks are a favorite of hackers who are looking for easy targets.
Never Let Your Guard Down
Sadly, many people will not think about security threats until they have been the victim of an attack. The best thing you can do is remain vigilant. Don’t think it can’t or won’t happen to you. Eventually, it will.
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