4 Tips for Improving Telecommuting Workers’ Data Security

1. Passwords:

Passwords should be changed regularly and consist of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Passwords such as “Password” or “12345678,” which are easy to remember but hard for computers to crack, should never be used. Managers should also require employees to use passwords with at least eight characters and one number and symbol. Passwords should always be stored in a secure location – preferably even write them down and lock them up when not in use. It is recommended that managers periodically check to make sure employees haven’t written their passwords down. If they have, the password needs to be revoked immediately.

2. Storage:

To prevent cyber theft, telecommuters to be sure to turn off their computers when they are finished working. A device doesn’t need to be running in order for it to transmit sensitive data, so turning the computer completely off is recommended.

If employees use removable USB storage devices or external hard drives, they should password protect any files stored on them. If not, thieves can download company data onto another drive and take it with them when they leave (and there’s no guarantee that the data will return when that thief goes).

3. Device Security:

It is important that telecommuters understand how to ensure the security of their devices, including laptops and mobile phones. They should make sure their operating systems are updated regularly with patches and updates (a feature called automatic updates) in order to keep their devices as up-to-date as possible. In addition, they should turn the device completely off when not in use and never leave it unattended, especially if a laptop is being used at a public place or on a public network (such as those found at coffee shops).

4. Email:

It is important that telecommuters understand how to properly manage email. They should only give the email address of the company to trusted individuals and avoid clicking links or opening attachments in emails from unknown sources. Emails claiming someone has sent them money or requesting their banking information are scams known as phishing attacks;

 

It is important for telecommuters to practice data security on a daily basis, even if it means having to change their routine slightly. At first this may seem like an inconvenience – after all, taking extra time out of one’s day isn’t usually welcome – but in the long run, keeping sensitive information safe will be invaluable and make doing business both easier and more secure.

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