How to stay safe online when working from home

Hybrid workplaces have never been more in demand than they are today. 9 out of 10 organizations either already have or are planning to create this type of work model for their employees, according to a McKinsey survey of 100 executives spanning a range of locations and trades.

Employees and business owners want it, but are they prepared for it?

Hybrid workplaces may soon be commonplace, but so is a new age of dramatically increasing online threats. When working from home, it’s critical to know how to work safely online without putting yourself or your company at risk. Let’s go over a few best practices to stay safe in a remote environment.

Use different passwords for all your work accounts

Data breaches are all too commonplace. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 1,802 recorded data breaches in 2022, with over 422 million people affected by them. Every time there’s a data breach on a website on which you have an account, there’s the possibility that all kinds of your personal data could be stolen by bad actors.

That could be very bad if information such as your emails and passwords is used to break into your private work accounts.

Don’t use the same passwords for your work accounts that you do for your personal accounts. Even better, use different passwords for every online account you own and use a password manager for maximum security.

Lock your computer behind a PIN or password when you’re not using it

You’re not going to sit at your desk 100% of the time. Sometimes, you need to step away from your computer. But this means anyone could potentially sit down and use it while you’re out. Only you should be able to access your work computer.

One of the best ways to ensure this is to protect your computer with a PIN or password that enables each time you’re not at your workstation. With these credentials in place, even if someone has physical access to your desktop or laptop, they won’t be able to access any of your data.

Don’t get distracted by things unrelated to business

While it’s a good habit to avoid social media and other things that keep you from your work for the sake of productivity, it’s also important for security reasons. Many websites have fake download buttons that lead to malware. Suspicious websites may attempt to steal your personal info with an unsecured connection.

All of this can affect not only you but your company as well. In short, stick to business when you’re working from home.

Learn to recognize phishing scams

Cybercriminals are perfectly aware that you’re more likely to give them work-related information if an email looks like a genuine one from your company’s IT department, a trusted colleague or your supervisor. While it’s not always easy to tell if a communication is illegitimate, there are some tell-tale signs to look for. The email may contain many formatting or spelling errors, for example. The address of the sender might come from a different domain or just seem off. The greeting may be oddly vague, addressing you as something like “Dear colleague” or something similar instead of your name.

Because phishing scams can lead to data breaches and other security issues, be aware of the ways you can spot one, and don’t immediately give up any information when asked without doing your due diligence. Also, it’s a sound idea to invest in software that can help detect phishing scams. Many paid security suites contain such features. For more handy sec