When you start working remotely, security is perhaps one of the last things that you will be thinking about. However, it is well worth remembering to take a few appropriate security steps if you want to reduce the risk of something going wrong so you can get the most from your remote work.
Here are a few areas to think about when you first start to work remotely, whether you work from your home or from across the ocean.
The internet is essential for most remote workers, no matter when they work from. You likely check your emails, make calls over VoIP and collaborate on documents via cloud-based apps every day. It is no surprise that internet security is therefore one of your biggest concerns.
There are many simple steps that you can take to protect your internet security. These include using strong – and unique – passwords for every single website that requires one. Simple passwords are simple to crack, allowing hackers can get access to your sensitive information and take advantage of it.
Also, be careful which websites you visit and which links you click on, and be alert to scams like phishing emails. Most importantly, make sure you have good anti-virus software in place.
If you are not worried about your own security, remember that you also have a duty to protect your clients’ privacy. This can become even more important if you have signed a non-disclosure agreement. If a hacker gets access to your clients’ confidential information because you failed to take security precautions, you could be held liable.
Because your work is so important to you, you will need to back it up on a regular basis. You could do this on an external hard drive or on a cloud-based service like Dropbox. Even better, back up to both.
That way, if your computer is stolen or packs in, you can still access your work and continue to earn your living, and the only expense will be a new computer. If you fail to back up your work properly and your computer is stolen, it could be a huge setback, especially when you’re working from the other side of the world, so it’s not worth taking the risk.
Even if you back up your work, it is still a good idea to keep your devices as secure as possible. If you are constantly on the go, you will need to be careful. Laptops, tablets and smartphones are desirable objects for thieves.
Be especially careful when you arrive in a new destination. You will often be tired and disorientated, so keep an eye on your belongings. And also remember to lock up your devices when you stay somewhere, whether in a hostel, hotel or your own rented apartment.
And if You’re the Boss…
If you employ remote workers, you should also be aware of the possible risks that this can present, and you should have a policy in place to govern them.
This could include:
- insisting that their devices are password protected and that they lock access to their devices whenever they are not using them.
- asking your employees to keep their work devices out of reach of family members and locked away when not in use.
- only allowing them to use their own smartphones if they have the ability to be remotely wiped in case they are stolen.
- provide them with guidelines about which websites they cannot visit, and which types of files they must not download.
Stay Secure when Working Remotely
Working remotely is not inherently risky, but there are certain risks that you should be aware of and plan for. As long as you plan for them properly and take the basic security precautions, you should have very little to worry about.