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Staying secure at home

If you’re currently working from home, it is likely that you’re responsible for securing your work devices - and this means more than just locking your front door. Here are a number of things you need to think about to stay secure at home.

Keeping your data (and client data) safe

If you’re travelling between different locations, such as a home office and on-site locations, it might be that you’re taking your laptop with you. Travelling with your devices increases the threat of damage, loss or theft, and so it’s important to think about how to keep the data stored on them safe. The easiest way to do this is with a strong password, and ideally with two-factor authentication. That way if your laptop is stolen, the data stored on your device will be much harder to access.

It isn’t just when you’re travelling that you need to think about keeping customer data safe. Locking your laptop when you’re on a break, and signing out of applications that contain sensitive information is important too. 

And if you’re making video calls and using the screen share feature, then you might be putting client data at risk by doing so. Think about exactly what is open on your laptop before you share your screen; close down any unnecessary applications or documents that might have private personal information on.

The risks of removable media

If you use removable media, such as USB sticks or hard drives, these might also need to be secured. If you’re travelling with removable media, just like with your laptop, it increases the threat of loss, damage and theft. As such, you may want to encrypt these devices so that in the event that they are lost or stolen, the thief is unable to access the personal data on the device.

You might also want to think about any personal USB sticks or hard drives that you plug into your work laptop, particularly if you aren’t sure what is on them. If you find a USB stick or hard drive, or even a disk that you aren’t familiar with, you should never plug it into a device to check what is on it. This is a common hacking technique known as a USB drop attack, where a hacker leaves a USB stick loaded with malicious code to be ‘found’ by a victim. 

Why your Wi-Fi needs attention

One of the ways that hackers can access your devices is through your router. Routers often come with default passwords which users often neglect to change. These passwords can be easily found online, and opportunistic hackers can then access your router and subsequently access every device connected to that router. Not only does this leave your devices vulnerable, it also is a huge security risk if you’re storing client data and personally identifiable information.

Luckily, this one is a really easy fix. You should be able to change the password on your router by going to your internet service provider. We’d recommend a complex passphrase or password, so that it isn’t possible to guess it. Make sure it’s unique too!

Updates, updates, updates

If you previously worked in an office, updates may have been rolled out to the whole company at one (sometimes in non-working hours). If this is something that your company is no longer able to do, you might be required to update your computer yourself. And it might be tempting to skip an update that is going to render your device unusable for the next twenty minutes.

However, when you’re working from home it’s really important that you stay on top of updates. These provide security updates and bug fixes, and keep your device safe from phishing attacks and hackers. If Microsoft identifies a vulnerability in one of their operating systems and you skip an update, you could also skip the security patch for that vulnerability. This could leave your device open to all sorts of attacks. 

Be aware of sneaky scams

If you’re not in the office, it’s likely that a lot of your correspondence with your team is coming through email. It’s therefore even more important that you familiarise yourself with phishing scams. Be wary of clicking links and attachments in emails that you aren’t expecting, and if in doubt give the recipient a quick call to confirm that an email really comes from them. We’d particularly recommend this where emails are requesting money be transferred from one account to another.

By making sure that your antivirus software is up to date, and regularly running scans, you’re keeping your devices as safe as they possibly can be from viruses and malware. And this keeps your customers’ data safe too.

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