Working from home can be an amazing opportunity, but as with everything else, it comes with its own set of risks.The main thing you need to worry about when working from home is having either you or your clients’ personal information snatched up by a hacker. This can not only lead to identity theft, but it can also wreck your reputation amongst your customers.
One of the worst things for anyone working from home (especially if they run their own business) is to receive a bad review online. The good news is that you can easily take some steps to prevent this from happening. Besides delivering high-quality service to your clients and requesting that they leave you positive feedback, you can also secure your computer to keep any hackers out.
To help you out and ensure that your work-at-home career is successful (and stays that way!), here are a few security tips for working from home.
First, you should check all of your passwords. A strong password will contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols (when able to). All of your passwords should also be at least eight characters in length and never used for more than one account.
Speaking of passwords, did you know that you can password protect your files? It might be a wise idea to do so when dealing with any documents that contain personal information. You should also password protect your computer as well.
This is something that not everyone thinks of, but it can make a huge difference in the security of your devices. When you log into your online accounts, sometimes the website does not automatically log you out after you close the page. That means that anyone who uses your computer, smartphone, or tablet after you can easily access your accounts without your knowledge.
Remembering to log out after you’re done on a site is an extremely simple way you can protect yourself.
It’s likely that you already know that you should have an anti-virus program installed on your computer, but did you know that it should also be installed on your smartphone and tablet as well? If you take a quick browse through your app store, you’ll find that there are tons of free apps available that can protect your device from viruses. Most of them are free too.
As for your computer, you might already be paying for your anti-virus program, as computers come with free trials by default that prompt you to purchase their service after a certain amount of time. That’s great news for the company of the software if you actually do purchase it, but it can be costly over time. Instead, consider downloading a free anti-virus program, which can save you some money while still serving its main purpose.
An example of a few free anti-virus programs are: Panda Free AntiVirus, Avast!,Malwarebytes, and AVG. There are also others available if you search around the net for them, but I’ve found these ones to besome of the best.
Virtual Private Networks
Although the anti-virus program will help protect you from viruses, it can’t offer the same level of protection as a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet connection, which will make it nearly impossible for hackers to access your device. It’s especially important for your connection to be encrypted if you happen to use public WiFi, as a hacker could literally be inside the same building as you. They may even be just outside, waiting to steal information from those who leave it open for the taking.
The VPN itself is actually a remote server that you route your internet traffic through. Besides encrypting your connection, it hides your IP address and location, which adds an extra blanket of security for its users. VPNs have become more popular recently because they also unblock geo-restricted websites while you’re traveling.
Overall, if you have both an anti-virus program and a VPN installed on your computer, you shouldn’t have much of an issue with security. You’ll also be able to use public WiFi whenever you want, without any worries. As for recommendations, I would suggestExpressVPN because of their superb customer service and 30-day, money-back guarantee.
Unfortunately, you just won’t find the same quality of service when you go with a free VPN over a paid one. Luckily, the cost isn’t too bad, as ExpressVPN is $12.95 per month at its most expensive, and as low as $8.32 per month if you decide to pay yearly rather than on a monthly basis. Either way, it’s well worth the cost, as it is by far the best software to use to protect your data.
Though security software can do most of the work, you’ll still need to be on the look-out for online scams. After all, if you hand your information over yourself, there’s not much a VPN or anti-virus program can do! Even though most of us think we’re immune to scammers, we really aren’t, as they cleverly disguise themselves in many ways.
One of the more common scams are those that occur in your inbox. You might have received an email before that had a message, possibly a sad one, or an appealing business related offer. It may have mentioned that you would be given a large sum of money if you would only help the sender receive their thousands or millions of dollars that were being held by their government or something similar. Hopefully, if your email provider is doing their job properly, this email was in your spam folder instead of your regular inbox.
However, sometimes it slips through the cracks, and it can sound like a legitimate offer. The main tip you should remember when it comes to scams is that you should never give out your banking information or send money to someone you’ve met online. Another piece of advice: never click on hyperlinks that seem unfamiliar to you, whether they’re sent from someone you know of not. Sometimes your friends or business contacts could have had their email account hacked, which led to their contactsreceiving malicious links from their email address.
Check out this page for more information on how to spot some online scams.
As you’re working from home, you might acquire several files that contain important data. If these ever get wiped off your computer, you’re going to wish that you had backed them up beforehand. If you’re unsure of how to do this, take a look at this how to guidefor a detailed tutorial.
Safety First, Work Second
Safe-guarding any device that connects to the internet should be a top priority, whether you’re working from home or not. Identity theft is more common than many might think, and without your internet connection secure, you’re risking both the identity of yourself and anyone else who has sent you their information. To get the most out of working from home and avoid any possible issues related to your customers’ personal information being compromised, be sure to implement these security tips whenever you’re online.
Isa Cox is a blogger at Secure Thoughts, a go-to site for information about the best VPN for you. She enjoys writing about internet security, data privacy and how to avoid common internet scams.