Expert OpinionTech

Tips and Tricks: Protecting Your Personal and Professional Data in Remote-Work Setup

Written by Antoine Harb, Team Leader Middle East and North Africa at Kingston Technology

Our personal and professional data is one of our most important assets, and yet not everyone is giving data security and protection as much attention as it needs and deserves. For businesses, information security is an important facet of their overall cybersecurity strategies designed to prevent costly yet avoidable virus attacks, fraud, identity theft, and breaches arising from negligence and bad habits, to name a few. The same vigilance should be practiced at home.

Implementing effective data security practices and habits is the best defense against cyberattacks. These days, as businesses implement compulsory working-from-home (WFH) systems due to the pandemic-related preventive measures, protecting our pertinent personal and business details has reached a new level.

As cybercriminals are working non-stop to find and exploit network vulnerabilities, companies are also forced to work double as hard to make sure that they are always one step ahead of them. Having the upper hand can be achieved by knowing data security risks and deploying strict and proactive protocols minimizing those risks under the new normal.

To reduce, if not eliminate, the possibility of a single point of failure in the entire system, it is critical to know some of the new security risks present in a remote-work setting and what steps can be taken to address existing weaknesses.

Exposure of Confidential Documents
As homes are not designed for data protection, it is safe to assume that there exists a risk of confidential documents being haphazardly stored. Lack of secure paper storage or paper shredding at home is a concern not previously anticipated by any company. The pandemic has made it imperative for corporations to look into this risk and add it to their cybersecurity approach.

This security gap can be bridged by providing employees with a locked briefcase in which they can securely store office documents, especially those containing sensitive data. Similarly, a company can provide a paper shredder that complies with DIN 32757-1 paper shredder security standards.

Lack of Privacy During Video Conference Calls
Video conference calls are at the core of WFH, and most people are unaware that this can pose a risk to data security.  Risk of being overheard while discussing business or personal concerns may arise. For instance, we may overhear someone in the same household on another conference call. Both calls could be recorded by either party on their web conference software.

Further, smart speakers equipped with intelligent assistants processing voices are popular in households and may be placed within earshot of our home offices. This can be mitigated by wearing headphones, using noise-canceling software, and turning off smart speakers during working hours.

Risk of Exposing Personal or Corporate Data
Sharing your screen during conference calls may also lead to inadvertently giving unauthorized people a glimpse of your personal and business information in the form of file names, personal pictures, and tabs. This simple act may result in accidentally leaking confidential information about employees and companies to competitors. Additionally, if files are being shared, copied, or moved, an employee may back up the documents in the wrong cloud by accident.

For prevention, it is advisable to utilize a virtual, cloud desktop coupled with an encrypted USB that requires a password for access. This powerful hardware-based encryption delivers airtight data security and privacy, as well as offers an extra layer of protection.

Equipped with features designed to protect classified data, the flexible and cost-efficient tool helps to guarantee a higher level of support, enables businesses to comply with different global industry standards, directives, and security regulations.

Risk of Visual Background Causing Damage to Company Image and Reputation
During video conference calls, employees are also giving others a peek of their homes. Unconventional posters may lead to partnerships being aborted, while others may use what they see in ways that can pose harm to the employee and, consequently, to the company. It is highly recommended that employees use a conference software background or electronic greenscreens during virtual meetings.

In a digital world, data is our most precious asset. A simple misstep neglecting data protection and security may have damaging consequences. It is, thus, fundamental to leave no stone unturned to safeguard your personal and business data at all costs.

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