The new post-pandemic reality is that people are equipped to work remotely at any time. Have you got your coffee or tea? Check. The dog walked? Check. Your young kids understand that mom/dad is busy and can’t be disturbed? Check (but it still won’t work).
You just logged into your personal laptop, your calendar, your company’s intranet, your project platform, and maybe a social media account or two. Unfortunately, today, you have a new work partner logged into your home Wi-Fi, watching you tap in passwords, waiting for something juicy and profitable.
Your IT expert at work is worried because they know your connection is likely not secure. They also know that the addition of each remote worker incrementally degrades security further.
Start by asking these six security questions.
Securing A Remote Workspace
Security should start at home because it can bleed into work. When the company network fails, IT professionals react, fix it, then investigate the origins. If they discover the origin was you, working remotely may not be an option available to you anymore.
Educating yourself on how the security environment works is the first step in saving yourself this embarrassment.
1. Am I Protecting Sensitive Information?
The company portal has security that you don’t have at home. Transferring sensitive data to your machine through your Wi-Fi connection renders you and the company vulnerable.
Only store data to the cloud that you frequently access and avoid storing documents with sensitive personal information particularly passwords, credit card numbers, and intellectual property on free cloud services. Adequate security costs money.
Encryption is the key to protecting sensitive info transfer.
2. Is My Data Encrypted?
Using a third-party encryption application always helps, but when working remotely, Liquid Web automatically offers local encryption of your files when uploaded to the cloud.
Using strong encryption, SSL Certificates keep sites and sensitive data secure. Two excellent options are the universally trusted SSL certificate from GlobalSign, or full hosting management with Liquid Web utilizing servers such as Fully Managed Dedicated Hosting offers Let’s Encrypt as a free, auto-renewing SSL solution.
3. How Do I Manage Passwords and MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)?
The moment you start working from home, any IT professional will urge you to shift how you manage your passwords. Protect yourself and your organization by using complex personal passwords. You can create your own password algorithm, but changing them regularly can be a challenge.
The best way to secure yourself is to use a password service that secures, changes, and manages your passwords for you. It costs money, but consider it insurance for your reputation and personal data.
If it hasn’t already been implemented, your organization should consider multi-factor authentication (MFA) when transitioning to a full or partial remote work model. For example, confirming log-in credentials through an email or phone prompt. It only takes seconds, but it adds a layer that significantly improves security.
4. Am I Securely Backing Up My Data?
Backing up your system and data to a hard drive is always a good idea. That equipment should never leave your house. For redundancy purposes, backing up to the cloud is essential as long as the information is encrypted automatically by your cloud service.
Redundancy is an essential ingredient in a high availability environment. Liquid Web offers Acronis Cyber Backups for Dedicated Servers which provides incremental, differential, and full encrypted cloud backups, making it easy to customize a recovery plan. Backups are stored in a different data center from the server and offer a secure offsite backup solution. Distributing data across two or more drives in a RAID array allows for better performance, reliability, and more extensive data sets.
5. Do I Have Adequate VPN and Firewalls in Place?
Firewalls on most home computers are nice to have. However, if the user is prone to risky online behavior such as downloading random apps or opening email attachments from unknown sources, then those firewalls are, in the words of Sir Elton John, “like a candle in the wind.”
A layered approach, with Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and firewalls, protects your company’s data. By utilizing their own OS, Liquid Web’s hardware firewalls protect systems from incoming attacks, operating independently of the server(s), automatically blocking malware, such as Trojan horses, worms, and spyware.
A VPN offers an extra level of protection that potential attackers need to pass through. It extends geographic connectivity along a secure plane of communication, improving remote worker productivity and opening global networking opportunities.
6. Am I Working in a High Availability Environment?
The high availability environment involves a series of systems, many of which are mentioned here, to keep data safe and constantly available. Without high availability, your work can be interrupted at the most inopportune times, generally during periods with increased volume when high availability is most needed. All of the security measures, including yours, help retain this.
High availability protects servers, ensures uptime, and makes sure that workflow is retained across the organization.
Is My Remote Connection Secure?
Probably not, but as you can see, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself and your employer from exposure.
Safely storing and backing up data, smarter password management, encryption, and the use of a VPN, along with being very careful with what you open or download, is going to make your IT Manager at work sleep better at night.
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Nick is the Senior Director of Security & Compliance at Liquid Web. He has over 20 years of experience in Technology and brings a wealth of knowledge and a strong understanding of data security to help safeguard our customers' environments.
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