Self-employment offers many perks, which includes having the freedom to make your own schedule and working remotely. But as with many things that have to do with cybersecurity, the price of convenience is often paid in opening yourself up to potential risks. In other words, your sensitive data could be intercepted on its way to the office or work server, which is something you want to avoid at all costs. But with so many dangers that are lurking on the web, how can you ensure maximum protection?
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Safety Precautions While Working Remotely
1. Air-tight passwords
Your passwords should be long, contain at least one number and special character, and changed frequently. If you want to take an extra step toward safety, you can also use an online password generator that will create a super-strong password for you (however, these tend to be a bit harder to remember). It’s also recommended that you don’t use the same password on several platforms.
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2. Regular updates
The next time you get a notification that’s prompting you to approve a software update, remember that it serves a much better purpose than annoying you. As vulnerabilities are discovered, developers release patches for them. By installing one of these updates, you make your device much more resilient against a potential cyber attack. To stay safe, make sure to install updates regularly (no longer than a week after they’re released) and stick to trusted sources only.
VPN encrypts the connection between you and the server, so even if a third party were to intercept it, the data would be in an encrypted form (and thus, useless to the perpetrator). Since many people enjoy the comfort of accessing the web on the fly through public Wi-Fi networks, using a VPN (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nordvpn.android) is especially important if you belong to that group. The same can be said for those who connect to a corporate server from a remote location.
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4. Cloud backups
In case your device gets misplaced or stolen, you need to have a backup plan. Otherwise, you’ll not only feel the pain of losing it (especially if it’s new and worth something) but experience the hassle of losing access to your data as well. Just envision the thought of losing your treasured family photos or crucial work data…not a pretty sight by any means. The solution is to make regular backups to the cloud, so you can access it at a moment’s notice, even though you may not have physical access to the device itself.
5. Tracking software
Speaking on the topic of device theft, tracking software is another powerful tool in your arsenal. By installing it, you will be able to see exactly where your device is located at all times, so that you can track it down. Another benefit of using it is that it can take a photo of the perpetrator and send it to you, which is bound to come in handy if you decide to report the incident to the authorities.
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6. Mobile firewall
Your mobile firewall will protect you from people breaking into your device if you’re using an unsecured public Wi-Fi, but not by default – you still need to turn it on. Never connect to one of these if you’re not behind a firewall. Period.
7. Going online on a per-needed basis
If you’re not using the internet actively at the moment, there’s no reason to stay connected. The reason is that by staying online, you expose yourself to worms, viruses, and cyber attacks, especially if you’re on an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
8. Wi-Fi connection monitoring
Are you connected to the right Wi-Fi network? Just because it works, it doesn’t mean it’s also safe. Hackers often create Wi-Fi networks designed to have a similar name to the ones you’re used to, tricking you to connect to a fake one. The latter ones are purposely designed to spread malware or steal data, so they’re quite a threat. Therefore, always double-check you’re connected to the right one.
9. Secure email client
If you’re working remotely, chances are you’re also exchanging emails on a frequent basis. To make sure your data gets treated with the precautions it deserves, stick to using secure email clients that encrypt the traffic between you and the recipient.
Your own mobile hotspot or the one protected by a password is a much more secure way of connecting to the internet compared to a public Wi-Fi. Although these aren’t 100% safe, they’re much more reliable in comparison.
With the help of these 10 tips, you’ll increase the chances that your sensitive data remains safe at all times. Much of these are common sense among the tech-savvy crowd, but if you’re just a casual user like most people, we’re confident that we were able to teach you something new.