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How to Prevent Breaches while Working Remotely

Many of us have switched to remote work due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. While we are getting used to working from home, even though we may not be consistently using company-owned computers, keep in mind that we still need to be aware of online security breaches. While breaches were a risk before the pandemic and are sure to be after, following these tips can help reduce uncertainty and anxiety in times of high stress. Here are some tips to protect you and your work from being breached.

An easy way to stay safe is to keep your computer updated! To do this, you should be doing a full restart of your computer at least once per week. Many of us will leave our computers in sleep or hibernate to avoid losing time on starting up your computer. This being said, hackers have difficulty getting into updated systems and are less apt to get into your information and gain access to your files if your computer is allowed to process full updates that come with fresh startups.

When sharing content with coworkers or even with friends, be sure to use a cloud-based storage tool to securely access, store, and share your information and files. Not only will this make it harder for hackers to access your information, but you can also access it from all of your devices.

We all know that it is a good idea to set passwords that won’t be easily guessed, but it can be hard to keep track of these passwords. One way to combat this is by using password management tools and software. This software acts as a vault so that only you can access where you save passwords and it also generates new strong passwords. If you routinely use more generic and easy-to-guess usernames and passwords, it isn’t too late to update them!

If you take a peek around your email, you might notice a higher volume of email impersonations that seem like they could be from clients, coworkers, vendors, or other important people related to your work. Always remember that if something seems sketchy, it probably is! If something “urgent” is trying to get you to open a strange link, has a strange subject and formatting, or is riddled with typos, it is likely an email impersonation. If the request seems like it is coming out of nowhere or asks for things that you are not comfortable sending, get a second opinion! Ask a coworker, but always trust your instincts.

You’ve likely heard of people, whether it be malicious or a prank, hacking into Zoom calls, or “Zoom bombing” as some people have branded it. This can be avoided by taking care of a few settings when you are setting up your online meetings. Always require a meeting password to enter the call and securely share this as well as the Meeting ID with the attendees beforehand. Another tip is to enable a waiting room so that you, as the host, can accept or decline each person that tries to get into the call. There is also a setting on Zoom to only admit “authenticated users” which won’t allow somebody who is joining anonymously into the call. Zoom also offers features to record the meeting with a password, restrict the chat, and lock the meeting at a certain point to prevent additional participants from joining. It is important to poke around in the call settings to make sure your call is as secure as possible.

Working from home offers unique struggles and responsibilities, but if you take precautions to avoid hackers and security breaches, there isn’t too much to worry about. Stay cautious, stay informed, but most importantly stay motivated!