Did you know that if you lost your laptop and someone found it, they could easily take out the hard drive, plug it in to another computer, and get to all of your locally saved files? Encrypting your hard drive prevents this from happening. Hard-drive encryption uses a sophisticated mathematical function to encrypt the data stored on your hard drive so it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have access to the appropriate encryption key. Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise (BitLocker) and MAC OS (FileVault) come with ways to encrypt your hard drive. Even if a laptop is password protected, files are not necessarily safe from unauthorized access.
Remember that some applications offer a web version for remote access. For example, you don’t need to have Outlook installed in your computer to check your emails. If your organization uses MS Office 365, you can visit portal.office.com and access Excel, Microsoft, Outlook, OneDrive, etc. To access G Suite, go to www.gmail.com and access mail and G-Drive, Google Meet, etc. It could also be a good time to consider migrating some of your on-prem applications to a Software-as-a-Service model (SaaS) like HubSpot for your CRM, QuickBooks online, and other software tools.
Security vulnerabilities are found frequently in operating systems. Making sure that all of your devices are up to date helps decrease vulnerabilities. Don’t just think about your work computer—when updating operating systems, you should also consider your mobile devices and any other device that has access to critical data.
It is always a good idea to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection when using public or untrusted networks such as those at coffee shops, restaurants and hotels. A VPN secures your connection and creates a tunnel between your device and a secure network. Using a VPN prevents hackers from snooping your traffic, so if you tend to use public networks a lot to browse the internet, do online banking, or access company data, consider a VPN. Some VPN examples are NordVPN.com and ExpressVPN.com.
Two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, 2-step verification—whatever the vendor wants to call this feature, it accomplishes the same thing. It allows you to verify your identity by entering a one-time code, which can be either sent to you as a text message on your phone or in an authentication app. Having two-factor authentication enabled drastically reduces the chances of fraud, data loss, or identity theft, and most app providers should now be offering this feature for free. If your organization uses Office 365 or G Suite, this feature can be enabled and implemented quickly.
No matter where you are connecting from, you should be mindful of your internet connection. There are two factors that can affect how reliable your connection is. The first one is your ISP. Make sure you have enough bandwidth to support your workload. You can run a speed test to find out how much bandwidth you have at sites such as www.speedtest.net. The second factor is your WiFi connection. Most residential WiFi routers are not strong enough to cover a whole house, especially big houses or homes with more than one floor. When it comes to reliability, it is always a good idea to connect your devices directly to your modem or to move your workspace closer to your modem.
Use strong passwords on all of your devices. Make sure your mobile devices have long security PINs of at least 6 characters or more. Make sure all of your accounts have strong, complex passwords of at least 8 characters, using a mix of upper case, lower case, symbols, etc. Make sure you are changing your passwords constantly.
Embrace online meetings. Make sure you are using technology to allow your team to join meetings from wherever they are working. There are online meeting services already included with most email subscriptions like Office 365 (MS Teams) and G Suite (Google Meet).