Working from home was a growing trend prior to COVID-19, but as a result of social distancing measures and a world-wide initiative to flatten the curve or slow the spread of the virus’ transmission, even large companies have been forced to adopt a working from home infrastructure on a scale never seen before. 

Roles once viewed as being office-centric have been outsourced to couches, kitchen tables, and home offices across the country and beyond, successfully. In fact, many more Americans than ever before have changed their minds about remote work, possibly for good, and companies are taking note

While there are many benefits to working from home (commute times, more time with family, fewer expenditures on clothing, fuel, transportation, traffic congestion, the environment, less eating out, etc) security and data integrity is a bigger concern when one is tapping into their company’s database and programs remotely, and this will need to be continually addressed and monitored. 

So how can you empower your teams to work more safely from home? No one wants a data breach where company and client information is threatened, but this new landscape makes it easier for predators, and harder for network security professionals. 

Here are some tips to keep your team, company, and customers or clients safer.

Use a virtual private network (VPN) or other types of secure access when logging onto your company network.

Many companies have a corporate VPN, which creates a secure connection to the corporate network almost as if you were at your desk in the office. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel inside of your public network in which your data passes through, keeping those with bad intentions from accessing the information on your company’s smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Make sure your WiFi network is secure.

Now’s the time to make sure that your home WiFi is protected, and can handle sensitive traffic, even if you are using your company’s VPN. Now is the time to update your WiFi password, consider using a passphrase instead that is more complex and unique. This is one of the easiest things you can do to confound anyone with a list of default passwords or who might be guessing.  This is a quick defense against bad guys who can guess a simple password.

Avoid oversharing your screen

On that next Zoom meeting, be cautious when sharing your screen. If possible, don’t leave any windows open that you don’t want anyone else to see. Accidents do happen. While it can be awkward, it’s also a privacy issue. You might accidentally share content that is not meant to be viewed by others.

Lock your device before walking away

It’s important to lock whatever device you are using, whenever you get up or leave the room. Even if it is just for a moment to tame unruly children, or water your plants. Keeping your corporate information safe is totally worth the hassle. You also run the risk of your cat pouncing on your keyboard and sending that email which you never intended to see the light of day. 

Check on your internet speed and WiFi strength

If you find that your home internet is inconsistent when compared to your network at the office, try moving your wireless router to the room where you will be primarily working from home (kitchen, bedroom, den, etc). There’s also Wi-Fi extenders and Internet optimization services that can boost your signal and maintain a solid connection for all your real time needs. Now would be a good time to reach out to Mobility Help Desk, to learn about LTE & 5G internet options, powered by AT&T’s LTE 5G Evolution Network!

Keep your computer and work devices updated

Updates can be annoying and disruptive, but now is the time to make sure that your computer has the latest security updates, and that your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are up to date too.

Follow your office’s security practices and protocols

Encourage your employees to treat their home office, as their work office, and follow your company protocols. Require a Work from Home agreement that clearly outlines process, procedure and security requirements just to name a few.  

Be more aware of scams

Criminals know how to take advantage of people in times of crisis, always be alert to the latest attempts of bad actors trying to access your personal and/or corporate information.

With a few enhancements and by being more aware, you can safeguard the integrity of your company, your team, and the clients or customers you serve by adopting these work from home safety practices!