The freedom to work remotely is one of the many perks of self-employment. But working on the go makes your data more vulnerable to attack than logging online from home or your office. So, what can you do? Help keep your information safe wherever you connect to the web with these 10 security tips.
1. Install tracking software.
Before you work on the road, install tracking software like Prey. In addition to geo-locating your device if it’s lost or stolen, the service can also provide a picture of the person using it — which can help police locate your stolen device. To help prevent access to your data, Prey lets you remotely lock down your device and delete stored passwords. With Prey’s basic plan you can protect up to three devices at no charge.
2. Create strong passwords.
One of the easiest ways to tighten data security is creating robust passwords and changing them regularly. Use a password generator to create passwords that are hacker-resistant, and avoid using the same password for multiple sites or applications. When possible, set passwords to expire every few months and never allow your device to “remember” them.
3. Use a secure email program.
Securing your email is a critical part of protecting your data when you work remotely, especially if you transmit proprietary or sensitive information. Using an email encryption service like Virtru or Tutanota can be an effective way to protect your communications. Both services offer free basic encryption plans that work with your existing email system.
4. Migrate data to the Cloud.
Cloud-based storage can help keep your data safe in the event your device is stolen or compromised by a hacker or virus. Plus, using the Cloud allows you to access your data from any device, whenever and wherever you want. Cloud storage services such as OneDrive, Dropbox, and MediaFire offer basic plans at no cost.
5. Turn on your mobile firewall.
A firewall can help fend off many of the security risks presented by public Wi-Fi by blocking unauthorized access to your device — but only if it’s turned on. Before you use a public Wi-Fi network, ensure your mobile firewall is on and operating.
6. Install updates.
When you receive software update notifications, don’t dismiss them. Software patches and browser updates are usually free, take only a few minutes to install, and could save you from a cyber attack. For the best protection, install updates immediately or at least within one week of receiving a notification. Be careful that you are only allowing updates and installations from trusted sources.
7. Use a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN is an effective way to help keep your data secure when connecting to the web via public Wi-Fi. VPNs provide a secure tunnel through which information passing in and out of your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device can travel. To maintain data security, it’s especially important to use a VPN if you connect to corporate file servers or applications from a remote location. VPNBook and SpotFlux are two VPN services that offer complimentary basic plans.
8. Get online only when you need to.
It’s convenient stay connected to public Wi-Fi even when you’re not actively using it, but doing so increases your exposure to everything from malware and worms to cyber criminals. When you don’t need Wi-Fi, log off the network.
9. Use a hotspot.
In lieu of public Wi-Fi, consider using a mobile hotspot or your smartphone’s personal hotspot. Although no means of getting online is 100 percent secure, hotspots protected by robust passwords may provide better protection than public wireless Internet.
10. Be sure you’re connected to the right Wi-Fi.
Before logging on to a public network, double check the name of the Wi-Fi connection for accuracy. Hackers will often create similarly named networks to fool users, and then collect passwords and other sensitive data.
Take these precautions to secure your data, and make working remotely as safe as it is rewarding.