We’ve put together some essential security tips for working remotely – since security is often overlooked. Many of us have started working from home, our workflows and processes have changed. Security is paramount to having a successful business, but sometimes it seems like it gets in the way of getting work done. But it doesn’t have to be a herculean task.
Here are some tips on how to add security to your remote work.
1. Use Antivirus Software
All computers are susceptible to viruses. Windows computers tend to be more susceptible than Mac or Linux computers, but regardless; all computers can get viruses. Protect your computer with antivirus software and add a level of security.
2. Update your Software and OS to the latest versions
Software vendors don’t want to have a reputation for producing software that is a security risk, so many developers release updates to their software regularly. Make sure your OS software and your installed programs are running the latest, most secure, stable versions available.
3. Protect Your WiFi from hackers
Many people don’t have ethernet available in their homes, which means their only access to the network is over a wireless connection. However, some people haven’t secured their wireless connection to prevent unauthorized access. Make sure your WiFi security is turned on, and a unique, strong password is used to connect to it.
4. Change the Name of your WiFi
If your wireless network is named “Netgear WNR2020” a hacker could easily assume that you’re using a Netgear model WNR2020 WiFi access point. That may not be much information, but it’s more than you want someone with nefarious intentions to know. Change the name of your WiFi network to something less revealing.
5. Change the default router security password
Routers have an internal configuration application that you can log into in order to configure its settings. Many times, people don’t change their administrative passwords to these applications. Remember that Netgear WNR2020 I spoke of above? Yeah… the default username to that router is admin and the default password is password.
If my WiFi were unsecured, the default name of the network was not changed, and the admin username and password were not changed, I could easily access this network and start doing some very nasty things.
6. Use a VPN for optimal security
If you need to connect to an office network, it’s best to do so over a virtual private network, or VPN. VPN’s encrypt all data between two direct point-to-point connections, making it almost impossible for a hacker to snoop on your network traffic.
7. Use Strong, Distinct Security Passwords
In 2018, a survey of 10,000 internet users showed that 34% of them used a single password for all of their logins. Another 48% used less than five distinct passwords across all of their applications. Make sure you’re using strong, distinct passwords for different applications.
Pop Quiz: Which is the stronger password?
Believe it or not, the second password is stronger even though it contains only letters.
Consider this: If there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, 10 numbers, and, let’s say another 32 special characters, (like ! and @) that could be used, then a hacker has 68 combinations of each character to check.
my!P@$$w0rd has 11 characters or 68 to the power of 11 combinations. Expressed as a number, that’s 143.7 quintillion combinations. A quintillion is a 1 with thirteen zeroes behind it.
thisIsMyPasswordAndItIsReallySecure has 35 characters, which translates to almost 14 duodecillion combinations when you limit it to just the 26 characters in the English alphabet! Yes, I had to look up duodecillion. Apparently it’s a 1 with thirty-nine zeroes behind it.
8. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) when possible
By now, most people have experienced some form of two-factor authentication. This is the system that sends you a one-time code, usually via text message to a mobile device, to make sure the login request is coming from the correct, authorized user. If any systems you are utilizing to perform your remote work offer 2FA as a security mechanism, enable it, and use it.