Many people spend hours a day doing their work on computers, and not always in their workplace or home office. Business trips, meeting clients at outside venues or just changing your daily routine up a bit by taking your work to the coffee shop for the day are all things that you may do on a somewhat regular basis. Although laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots make it easy to do work virtually anywhere, they also greatly increase the chance that your privacy will be compromised if you don’t take measures when working in a different environment. Here are five things you can do to protect your data.
While you know the importance of using strong passwords for your email, bank and online shopping accounts, you should also protect sensitive data by securing documents with a password. Most productivity applications allow you to set up a password for a particular document so that others can’t view or change anything to your work. Make sure that you are always using different passwords and that you don’t store them on your device.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) gives you safety since it’s an isolated hosting service with the ability to set up firewalls to keep would-be hackers out. There’s less risk of your computer being hacked into since the VPS does not share services and Web applications with other websites. VPS plans are customizable so you can get only what you need rather than getting a whole bunch of options that you really don’t.
With so many well-known businesses and venues offering free wireless Internet to customers, it’s usually taken for granted that their Internet connections are safe. Hackers are creative people and have found ways to set up their own hotspots near a valid hotspot. Your computer is probably configured to simply allow you to connect to the Internet and you don’t even think twice about what connection you are using. As long as you have a strong, speedy connection everything is okay. But it’s not always safe. Your computer may be logging you onto the connection of hacker and allowing them to access any of the data that you send. To protect yourself, change your computer’s configuration so that you manually have to connect to the Web and then always check with an employee of the establishment to make sure that you are logging onto the correct connection. Sure, it will take an extra minute or two, but that’s nothing compared to how long it takes to fix the consequences of private information getting into the wrong hands.
Using an encrypting file system will allow you to protect files and folders that are stored on your mobile device. Encrypting files is as simple as clicking a few buttons in the software’s menu. You’ll still be able to open them, but they will be unreadable by outside parties. Just remember that this type of encryption only works on files on your disk, so anything that you send electronically will be at risk.
Some public hotspots will have their own firewall set up to protect you, but there’s always the potential that a hacker is also using that same connection. Install, and turn on, your own personal firewall before connecting to the Internet. It’s also a good idea to run anti-virus software so that you protect your own computer from getting a virus or accidentally send one out through the network.
Even though high security measures are generally lacking in public hotspots, being aware of the potential dangers and taking proactive measures will greatly reduce your chance of being hacked. Use these tips and share them with others so that everyone in your organization can work remotely without the fear of accidentally giving away confidential information.