6 Ways to Keep Your Work Computer Secure

 6 Ways to Keep Your Work Computer Secure

Knowing how to stay safe online is more important than ever. Being free to do business online is a gift of the modern age. With cybercrime at an all-time high, digital work can also seem like a curse. Keeping your work computer secure is more simple than most people think. Here are six easy ways to keep the devices you use for business safe from hackers and scammers. 

1. Monitor Your Data

Data is the gold that cybercriminals want to mine. Keeping it safe requires a proactive approach. Managed detection & response (MDR) is a service many tech companies provide to business owners. It can also be performed in-house by qualified IT experts. MDR services monitor a company’s network and analyze any attacks. Detecting incoming threats and responding after the fact are critical components of a robust security plan. Many individual operators can’t afford these advanced defenses, so the next best thing is to learn how the most common attacks work.

2. Store Vital Information Offline

The safest measure you can take to protect data is removing it from the internet entirely. Many companies and workers store data in the cloud. Cloud storage is typically secure enough, but keeping some data off the web is a good plan. Flash drives are inexpensive and come with an increasing variety of encryption options. Many USB drives even have biometric security features. Don’t underestimate the value of keeping hard copies of the most important documents. A locked filing cabinet is effectively hacker-proof.

3. Install the Right Defenses 

Not all security software is created equal. Installing the freeware version of antivirus software is often fine for personal computers. For work computers, a few upgrades might be in order. Consider upgrading to the business package if possible. Note that some free antivirus software is designed with business needs in mind. Also, consider installing a firewall system. These filter email traffic, which helps thwart malware attacks (see below). The more layers of security, the better. 

4. Create Stronger Passwords

A recent study found that around 30% of data breaches resulted from weak or compromised passwords. The best passwords are at least 12 characters in length and consist of a mix of symbols, letters, and numbers. Many users also use the same password on multiple websites. Doing this is a mistake because if one site gets hacked, all your accounts could be at risk. If you write a password down, keep it with you at all times. Treat your password as a precious commodity because to cybercriminals, it already is. 

5. Beware of Phishing and Ransomware

Phishing attacks are one of the most common scams out there. Phishing is when someone impersonates a legitimate company over the phone or through email to get their target to give out sensitive information. Phishing is also a vector for a specific type of attack called ransomware. Ransomware is a malicious program that can take control of your computer. Ransomware is often delivered through links in an email or text message. Never click on an unfamiliar link. Also, learn to recognize the difference between a legitimate website and a carefully-crafted fraud. When it comes to internet security, the details always matter. 

6. Connect Securely

Connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots is a bad idea. Make sure that any Wi-Fi networks you join are locked and password-protected. If you must use an unsecured network, avoid logging into your accounts or typing any financial information. In addition, use a virtual private network (VPN) when you connect to the internet, whether at home or on a public network. A VPN encrypts your connection and masks your computer’s address. That equates to an extra layer of privacy.

The first line of defense against cybercrime is you. Learning the nature of the threats you face is the first step to staying safe. Keep these tips in mind when making your cybersecurity plan.