Technology has helped us to become more flexible workers in recent years. Now, with a global pandemic leading to many office changes and shutdowns, more people than ever are spending time working remotely. This setup can make it easier to balance work and life and improve productivity, but there are some potential drawbacks, too.
For example, when we work in offices with on-site or on-call IT teams, it’s easier to rely on them to choose, implement, and update security tools and processes. Working remotely, though, you don’t have this same fall-back option. With hackers more pervasive than ever, it’s imperative to how to keep our computers safe at all times.
Separate Work and Personal Devices and Data
It’s helpful to keep all your work gear separate from the rest of your family, especially your children. You don’t want them to accidentally delete or change files or do something that will make a cybercriminal more likely to break into your systems, such as clicking on dodgy links or opening attachments or emails they shouldn’t. When you use a dedicated device just for your work, you’ll be sure there’s no crossover that could lead to catastrophe.
Use Security Software and Cleanup Tools
Hackers are out in droves, but you can keep them at bay by installing security software. Utilize a comprehensive system that protects against a myriad of threats, including malware, ransomware, spyware, spam, viruses, and the like. The product should protect your privacy when you’re browsing and buying online and send you real-time alerts if there’s a threat of an attack.
Use the firewall that is likely already installed on your computer, too. Most devices come with them pre-installed these days, though they may need activating. Check the settings and see if you need to switch your computer’s firewall on. This extra line of defense will help stop cybercriminals from getting into your accounts via an internet connection.
Plus, you want to keep your computer running as optimally as possible. This ensures you don’t get bogged down with slow processing times or continually frozen windows, but there’s another reason to be vigilant. The more old files and applications you have on your device, the more likely it is that a hacker finds a way to use these as a security gap to sneak through. Minimize this risk by using a quality cleanup optimization tool. It will get rid of all system junk and defrag your machine.
Keep Software Updated
Don’t forget to keep all software updated. We use a vast array of programs on our computers, including operating systems, browsers, search engines, games, apps, plugins, security software, firewalls, etc. These all need to be secure to keep your computer and its data safe from prying eyes.
To increase security, always run the latest editions. These will be the ones developers have searched for vulnerabilities and plugged gaps within. Set up your systems to automatically update as soon as new versions of programs get released. This way, you know you’ll switch to the latest options right away and won’t have to remember to make the changes manually.
Create Strong Passwords and Use Password Managers
Maintaining privacy and keeping hackers out of your systems relies on having secure passwords, too. Always have a strong code set up on your computer itself (and related smartphones and tablets) so people can’t use the device(s) without knowing your login.
From there, password protect every account you log in to. The best codes are a minimum of eight characters long, although ever more is better. Your password should contain a mixture of upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers. Plus, it shouldn’t relate to any public information you’ve shared online, such as child or pet names, birth dates, etc.
You might like to utilize a password manager to protect yourself and your work information. These are digital vaults where you store all your login details. You create one master code to access the system, and the manager does the work from there. It can even suggest quality passwords for you whenever you sign up to new websites or purchase new programs that require a login.
Make Smart Wi-Fi Choices
Keeping your computer and its data out of the clutches of cybercriminals requires making smart Wi-Fi choices. Protect your home modem with a hard-to-crack password so no one can break into your internet connection and get onto your computer from there.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi wherever possible. In particular, don’t log in to work and other accounts on unsecured internet connections, as you never know who may be lurking and recording your keystrokes or other information.
Working remotely has many benefits that millions of people are enjoying nowadays. However, one of the main downsides of this flexible arrangement is that the onus is on you to protect company and customer data and networks. Follow the steps above to rest easy, knowing you’re as covered as possible.