*The following is a sponsored post.
Working from home comes with a bevy of perks, the least of which is getting to avoid a lengthy, daily, and pricey commute. From getting to spend all day in your pajamas — should you so choose — to being able to enjoy some flexibility throughout the workday, working from home really can feel like a dream come true.
However, working from home is not all soda pop and smiles; there are real challenges that come along with it, too. One of the biggest is keeping your computer, work, and data safe when you rely on an Internet connection to go about your business.
You’ve got to do more than just hope you and your data are safe. You have to make sure of it.
Here are five tips you should employ to ensure your Internet security is up to snuff.
1. Beef up Your Security Software
Whether you routinely work on a desktop PC, a Mac Powerbook, or you bounce back and forth between a tablet, a smartphone, and a laptop, it is time to beef up your security software. Even if you have installed security software on your devices in the past, it may not be robust enough, and, because security threats are always evolving, the latest and best Internet security software is all you should rely on. Make sure the software you choose provides multiple types of defense that can block dangerous websites and viruses, guard against identity theft by detecting spam and phishing scams, protect your privacy on social media, and keep your kids safe when they are online.
2. Get Serious About Passwords
Most people struggle to create and use the kinds of passwords that good Internet security demands, opting instead for something easily remembered that can be used across the board for everything from work email and FTP programs to PayPal and eBay. Yes, it can be annoying to keep track of hard-to-crack passwords — especially if you have a different one for every online activity you engage in — but that annoyance will certainly be less than the grievances you will endure if you get hacked because of a lousy password.
To make a strong password, do the following:
- Do not use a password you’ve used before.
- Include nothing personal in it.
- Use at least eight characters.
- Include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
3. Use Sandboxing
One of the largest threats in Internet security is the way in which skilled hackers and complicated viruses are able to infiltrate lesser programs and systems in order to gain access to data and programs of greater importance.
Sandboxing is a way to protect against that type of threat. What sandboxing does is separate programs from one another in a virtual environment so if, while you are working on one, errors occur or security is breached, the problems are isolated to just that one program, stopping a hack or a virus in its tracks. Basically, sandboxing limits the damage when security fails.
4. Encrypt Your Wi-Fi
An unencrypted Wi-Fi signal is a security breach waiting to happen, so you should always password protect it. Follow the protocol of the improved passwords listed above, and don’t pass your password out willy-nilly, either.
While it is a common and money-saving practice for people in the same apartment building to share a Wi-Fi signal to cut down on monthly expenses, if you don’t know the guy in apartment 2B, do not share a network with him. Your Internet security is too important to risk for a savings of $50 a month.
5. Change Your Router’s Default Settings
Your router is the gateway of what comes in and what goes out over your Internet signal, and it comes with a lot of default settings that make setting it up a little easier on you. Unfortunately, those default settings make hacking your router easier, too. Thankfully, you only need to worry about changing two default settings to effectively improve your security situation: the default IP address and the default password you use to login.
Here’s what you do: Go to the Local Area Network (LAN) interface and set the IP address to anything other than what was assigned you. Just make sure the dots and decimals notation are numbers that range from 1 to 254. Next, change the router’s password in the Tools or Admin section of the Web interface. Pick a password that’s hard to guess and that is different from the password you used to encrypt your Wi-Fi network. Voila! Your router is now safer.
Keeping your Internet connection secure is the only way to keep everything that passes back and forth over it safe. When you’re drawing your salary as a work-from-home employee or freelancer, you can’t afford to take any chances with your online safety. Follow these five tips, and your Internet security will hold even when you are under attack.
What steps do you take to ensure you’re as safe as you can be online? Let us know in the comments.
Latest posts by Kady Harper (see all)
- 7 Times Being a Woman Entrepreneur Absolutely Rules - February 25, 2016
- Work From Home? 5 Tips to Ensure Your Internet Security Will Hold - February 15, 2016