How to Increase Home Office Cybersecurity

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From data breaches, identity theft, internet fraud, and ATM fraud all the way to forgery, hacking, spam, and wire fraud, businesses of all sizes run the risk of falling victim to cybercrimes. This is why it is imperative to increase cybersecurity, no matter what industry you work in—and whether you’re working from an office or at home.

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, millions of people have resorted to working from home or remote work in order to adjust to the global health crisis. In such a situation, it is important to be aware of the risks that come along with a remote work setting. A large percentage of the world’s population uses electronic devices for school, recreational purposes, or work. While most companies invest in cybersecurity measures, most home offices do not have the same protection. This makes them a top target for cybercrime, putting them in all sorts of digital danger.

If you’re worried about your work and personal data, then you’ll be happy to know that there are many ways in which you can level up your cybersecurity.

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1. Use Updated Safeguarding Applications

One of the most basic yet essential precautions you can take to protect your data is by installing the latest security technology, which includes anti-malware, antivirus software, and firewalls. This is step 1 in the cybersecurity process that could really save you from the risks of cyber attacks or data breaches. 

2. Update Your Password

Another step you can take in safeguarding your data in your home office is to change your passwords from time to time. However, keep in mind that you should not fall into a particular pattern when updating all your passwords. To guarantee your online security, do not change your passwords at a regular frequency (every 2 months, etc.). Additionally, refrain from recycling old passwords and adding minute changes to them. It is much safer and more advisable to use new passwords that are harder for hackers to guess. 

3. Heed the Security Updates

It is so easy and tempting to ignore the security updates that pop up on your computer and smartphones because they’re quite time-consuming. However, Configuring your settings to automatically update your software and operating systems when necessary will save you a lot of time and keep your data safe and secure.  

4. Use a Password Manager

Take your password protection to the next level with password manager tools, such as Sticky Password or Lastpass. These brilliantly designed password storage applications are perfect for keeping track of all your important login credentials. One of their most important features is that they give you the convenience of using unique and secure passwords for every website that you log into. This way, you can enjoy the security benefits of changing your passwords, minus the worries of forgetting them over time. 

Finally, another one of its great benefits is that you can safely share passwords to anyone else in your work circle who needs them. Enjoy easy and convenient access for yourself and your colleagues, no matter where you are in the world. 

5. Enable Two Factor Authentication

If you don’t already have this important feature activated for all your accounts, you better get on it immediately. Two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security to your login credentials. Basically, this can be installed by simply registering a phone number or downloading an application that caters to two-factor authentication. With this feature, online attackers will not have the luxury of invading your digital privacy so easily. 

A plant, laptop, tumbler, notebook, and pen on a table in front of a window

6. Learn How to Identify Phishing Scams

Nowadays, phishing scams are almost literally everywhere on the internet, some more discreet than others. They can pop up in your email inbox or on websites that you visit. If you come across a link in an email or website, it would be best to pause for a moment and analyze if there isn’t anything suspicious about it. Check for any misspelled words or other irregularities that could be a red flag. If you find that you are feeling skeptical towards an email you received, you could always verify these messages by calling people or asking them in person for a confirmation. 

7. Be Wary On Social Media

Home offices are frequently used for storing personal information and recreational purposes. Whether your computer holds vital business information or just your own personal data, it is still important to protect your privacy from hackers who are after identity theft or bank details. 

While you may think that your home office is properly protected with firewalls, anti-virus software, and two-factor authentication, there is still one essential factor that could put everything at risk with one mistake, and that factor is you. During your downtime, you probably love using social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, and all those other social networking sites are public. Even if you opt to set your accounts on private, you are still uploading information, videos, and photos to the internet; and the internet is publicly accessible. 

In line with this, steer clear of oversharing on social media. Keep in mind that there are things that can be posted online, and there are things that need to be kept private for security reasons. Remember that hackers can use personal details that people share online to commit identity theft and other forms of fraud. Stay safe; say no to oversharing online! 

8. Back Up, Back Up, and Back Up!

Backing up your files is necessary if you want to upgrade your data protection. Why? Well, because aside from the possibility of you accidentally deleting your computer files, there is a lot of ransomware lurking out there in the digital world. Ransomware is a type of malware stemming from cryptovirology, wherein attackers threaten to publicly publish the victim’s data or just block their access entirely. 

As you have most likely already assumed, access is only returned when a ransom is paid; hence, ransomware. As previously mentioned, this is why you need to back up important data on a regular basis. In the event that ransomware occurs, you can rest assured that you have a copy of your files and don’t have to be forced to pay a large sum of money to get your data back. 

9. Delete Any Inactive Accounts

Another way to give online attackers easy access to your network is by leaving inactive accounts open. If you manage a team and have gone through several employees or have transitioned to another platform, you could end up having a bunch of old accounts that are just sitting there without anyone using them. These inactive accounts can attract hackers like bears to honey, putting your data in jeopardy. Protect your network by doing some digital spring cleaning and deleting old accounts that still have important data stored. 

10. Ensure That Your Internet Connection is Secure

This one is a given, yet it is easy to overlook it at times: Make sure that your Wi-Fi connection is secure. Usually, most Wi-Fi connections are properly protected and secured with passwords, however, there is a chance that older installations may not be. If this is the case, it means that your internet connection could be accessed by people in your vicinity. In turn, they could be snooping in your traffic and network. So, make sure that your internet security is up and running before you delve into your work or online social activities. 

11. Steer Clear of Risky Apps

Minimize the risks of cyber attacks by avoiding any downloadable applications that show any signs of being mistrustful. Additionally, if there are any apps on your computer that aren’t in use or have services that you don’t really need, then it is recommended that you uninstall them. Stay vigilant when installing apps on your electronic devices. 

12. Printer Security

Printers of the 21st Century are becoming more and more cutting edge, which means that most of them can connect to the internet in order to provide remote access for everyone in the company. This means that these devices are also at risk when it comes to cyberattacks, and protecting them and your data goes beyond a simple password. 

If you share your printer through a digital network or cloud storage, then it is imperative to protect it from hackers as well. You can do this by making sure you know exactly which devices are connected to your network and who is using them. Additionally, monitor how often they are used and if there is anything you can upgrade in order to level up the amount of security surrounding your home office printers.   

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