Thursday, November 7, 2013
When you are working from a remote location, typically through a laptop or tablet PC, there are several things you must ask yourself about security. The first, and most important, question is what would happen if your laptop is misplaced? What if someone gets their hands on it? What is the worst that will happen in such a situation? The answer to that will reflect just how secure your data is.
If you lose or misplace your laptop that you were using to work remotely, the only loss should be of the hardware. Your only concern should be to replace that laptop. You should not be worried about any data loss, or the possibility of anyone getting their hands on your data/work/information. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure you are being secure while working remotely:
1. Protect Sensitive Information
If you have sensitive information on your laptop/tablet, it is important that you protect this information. Sensitive information refers to proprietary company/client info, customer information, your personal data (SSN, credit/debit cards, driver's license, tax info), and names/phone numbers of people that you are in business with.
When you have sensitive data of this nature, you might want to store it in a secure manner. Saving the data on the cloud is an excellent choice, and that would also allow you to retain the data if you lose your primary work device.
Secondly, you may want to access the internet through a secure VPN, to ensure that no one can hack into your connection and see what you are doing.
2. Protect passwords/login IDs
The most common mistake we make is to save our password and/or login IDs when we are visiting websites. Whether this is for your email, business email, or any other website, you do not want to have your logins or passwords automatically saved. This will make it a lot easier for anyone to access your data, if they happen to get their hands on your device. Make sure you regularly clear your browser's cache, browsing history, and any saved form data.
Always create passwords that are difficult/impossible to guess. Take a combination of letters and numbers, and use this for your password. Update your passwords every couple of months, just to be on the safe side. Similarly, you do not want an identical password for all your logins. Perhaps have one for your work, and another for your personal use. In addition, you may want to only access websites when you are securely connected through a VPN. This will ensure no real time hacking is taking place.
3. Secure Internet Connection
There are many ways to get a secure internet connection. The first, which has been mentioned before, is through a VPN. You can subscribe to VPN networks, and they typically cost from $5 to $10 a month. Through a VPN, your IP address and any other online data is hidden. This ensures that no one can see your location, or hack into your computer.
Other security methods include WPA2, which is for wireless networks. Make sure you only use secured hotspot networks, otherwise you could be susceptible to live hacks.
4. Secure Your Mobile Office's Devices
Aside from securing the internet and software side of things, you should also ensure that your devices are not easy to steal. Make sure that you have a lock for your laptop, and that you do not let it out of your site. Do not leave it unattended when you go to the bathroom, or on a public bus/subway. If you have to step away, get someone to watch it for you.
When you are traveling, keep your laptop inside your bag as much as possible. The last thing you want is to advertise to everyone that you have a laptop there to be stolen.
If you follow the following steps, there is no reason why you should have any trouble with work security. Just ensure that you have backups of all your work data, and that it is as secure as possible. If you do that, coupled with being cautious with your devices, your mobile office should be safe and sound.
Article written by George Hayes, a security consultant and manager of IT support business Your IT Department in the UK.