How to protect your smart working devices and data
The phenomenon of smart working, which exploded recently due to the pandemic, has now become part of everyday life for many Italian workers.
THE Istat data reveal a rapid and sudden growth in remote work, which went from 5% in 2019 to 14% in 2020 (on average), with peaks also of 57%, for highly specialized professions. Many of the companies involved have also shown their willingness to continue this trend.
The smart working it therefore seems destined to remain. For this reason, it becomes important that employees are prepared to deal with problems cybersecurity that could arise away from the office.
Here are 10 tips to keep your devices and data safe from hacker attacks, scams and other dangerous agents.
Follow your company's safety guidelines
In smart working one of the simplest but, at the same time, most important tips is to follow the guidelines of the company. In fact, most companies already have a cybersecurity, to protect data and employees from cyber threats. Good practices usually include, for example, not opening suspicious e-mails and not visiting unsafe sites (sites that do not have the wording https).
If in doubt, contact your company's IT department and ask them how to proceed. Also take advantage of any tools that the company may make available, such as antivirus software and VPNs.
Keep work devices separate from personal devices
Having two separate computers for work and leisure is a very important measure in terms of cybersecurity. Although it may seem convenient to be able to access work documents from your mobile phone or, vice versa, to be able to control social networks from the company computer, this is strongly discouraged.
Keeping your work and personal accounts separate, in fact, reduces the risk of suffering data breaches. And, in the unfortunate event that it still happens, this trick minimizes the amount of sensitive data that hackers have access to. This is particularly important for companies that need to manage their customers' personal data.
This practice also allows you to keep your work separate from your personal life. This prevents family members who may have access to your personal devices from stumbling upon important work documents, installing malicious apps or, more generally, interfering with your work.
Make sure your wi-fi is protected
Working in smart working you must necessarily have a private wi-fi network. But be careful that anyone who has access to your wi-fi has access to your devices.
So be sure to change the router's default password to a personal one. Do not choose a password that is too easy or one that contains personal data that is easily found (such as names or addresses). For added protection, remember to make periodic updates on your devices.
Finally, avoid using public wi-fi networks. As convenient as it may be to be able to access work documents from the comfort of a café or park, public networks are easily accessible and therefore vulnerable and unsafe.
Beware of phishing
The phishing is one of the most common methods by which scammers compromise security and sensitive information.
The scam is quite simple, but effective: a scammer, pretending to be a trustworthy entity, contacts the victim via email with a request for personal information, such as the access credentials to their bank account.
Be especially wary of suspicious emails, which typically come from bogus addresses, contain (often gross) grammatical errors, and try to instill a false sense of urgency.
This strategy is particularly insidious in a work situation smart working, in which personal interactions are minimized and communications are almost exclusively via email.
Protect all devices
For mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, remember to set automatic lock, so that they turn off automatically after a certain amount of time, and location tracking, so that they can be detected in case of theft or loss.
Secure sensitive data
A security measure to protect the most sensitive data is to assign a password also to the folders or files that contain them.
There are also cloud platforms that allow encrypted file sharing, which often have better security measures than simple e-mail.
Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to keep a copy (backup) of your most important files, perhaps to be kept on an external hard drive.
Create strong passwords for all devices
Set one password one for all devices may not be a sufficient security measure. For added protection make sure to use password different (and as complex as possible) for each work tool.
To add an extra layer of protection you can use thetwo-factor authentication.
In addition to the classic login credentials (username and password) this method requires further proof that you really own that account. This can be done via a specific app, such as Google Authenticator, or via SMS.
One of the most serious dangers you can run into smart working it's about videoconferencing.
The first months of 2020 lockdowns saw an exponential increase in virtual conferences. A phenomenon that was accompanied by the so-called "bombing". In fact, it was relatively easy for a hacker to bypass security measures and join any video call without an invitation.
Fortunately, today platforms like Zoom they have introduced safer and more controlled systems. However, to avoid surprises, we recommend that you prevent unwanted entrances by using the “waiting room” function and a password.
Work with up-to-date operating systems
The last tip for working safely in smart working is to carry out periodic updates of the operating system.
Although the most well-known and used operating systems, such as Windows is macOS, support up to two previous versions, the current operating system is certainly the most secure and updated one.
Finally, the same goes for all the programs installed on your devices, including the web browser.