Remote working is here to stay, bringing with it a range of benefits and risks for both employees and businesses. With the right strategy, however, you can manage these risks effectively and keep productivity levels up while keeping your data and network secure. Here are some tips from our managed IT services team.

#1 – Keep Software Up-to-Date

Software updates are a constant hassle, causing disruption and frustration across the board. However, most of these updates are not about bug fixes or adding functionality – they’re about security. Every time hackers get more sophisticated in their attacks or vulnerabilities are detected in an application, an update is rolled out. With data security being one of the most important concerns for businesses large and small, the frustration of dealing with updates needs to be put aside. Go make yourself a coffee, walk around the garden or schedule your updates for the hours when you aren’t working.

#2 – Uninstall Your Clutter

Every device gathers clutter the same way our home’s do – except this clutter can carry the type of significant risk that your piles of outdated magazines, half-finished projects and spare cables don’t. Old software and software you no longer use will still need updating to prevent them from becoming a gateway to your data and network, and usually, these applications haven’t been updated since you last used them. Take stock of your applications and delete anything you aren’t actively using. It will save you space, speed up your computer, and save you time on updates.

#3 – Use a VPN

A VPN is a virtual private connection that provides full encryption, so your computer is essentially invisible when it accesses the internet. It prevents anyone else from intercepting your data, spying on your network or selling your data onto other organisations. It means you can share files or host meetings with other people on your team without this data being stolen or exposed, whether you are on your home Wi-Fi, at a coffee shop or halfway around the world. It can also help you access more bandwidth on your network because many ISPs have policies in place to prioritise certain activity over others – when they cannot see what your activity is, you tend to get the faster speed. Good VPN options for businesses include Perimeter, NordVPN Teams, and ExpressVPN.

#4 – Secure Your Home Wi-Fi

Your home Wi-Fi network is another important vulnerability for remote working teams, providing a point of access for hackers with malicious intent as well as outside users who may have compromised security themselves. First of all, it’s a good idea to have two separate networks – one for family and visitors, the other for work. Both should be secured with a unique name, strong password, network encryption, and new IP address. Remote access should be disabled and router software should be kept up-to-date.

#5 – Use Multi-Factor Identification (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication is one of the most practical and effective security measures you can implement at home and in the office. It simply means that in addition to using a password to access a device, application or security level, you have to also use a second, separate device to confirm your action. You’ve probably already used MFA before – for example, getting a one-time password sent to your smartphone before you can make a payment online on your computer, or a confirmation email when you log in to an online account.

#6 – Implement a Password Manager

We all know that passwords need to be strong, long and unique – but with every account and online application requiring a password, it’s easy to see why people reuse passwords or use passwords they can easily remember. Unfortunately, this makes you very vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals. For example, using the same password for your online banking as you do for an online shop might make things simpler in the short-term, but if that online shop gets hacked, your bank accounts are vulnerable. The same applies to work applications. The solution is to implement a password manager like Keeper, LastPass or BitWarden. Of course, these password managers must also be protected with a very strong password and/or biometrics, but at least it only means remembering one password rather than dozens!

Data Security Made Simple for Remote Workers and Small Businesses
To protect your business from cyberattacks, it is important to find the right managed IT services provider. They will be able to design, implement and manage an IT solution within your budget, so you don’t have to expend essential capital on non-core business resources.

At Otto, our focus is on providing cost-effective, state-of-the-art IT services and training specifically for small businesses, from IT support and cloud solutions to network security and disaster recovery. Contact us and find out how we can help prevent your business from becoming a statistic.

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