Posted by: on March 13, 2020 at 8:00 am

Many businesses are urging their staff to work from home, but what does your staff need to know to stay secure online? We felt it might be helpful to update this post from 2016, adding one more in light of the current virus outbreak. That said, here are the 6 tips:

photo of woman on phone working at laptop

Stay safe online by practicing good online “hygiene.”

Know your source.

Hackers and other criminals will absolutely use fear tactics to try to get concerned people to click on malicious links and attachments. Beware of any “coronavirus” emails from people you don’t know. Even then, check the “sent by” address and hover over links before clicking to check that they’re actually from the source claimed. The safest process is to go directly to trustworthy information via your web browser.

Connect to a network that you know.

Free Wi-Fi is tempting, but be sure that you consider who is providing the connection. Public connections at the local coffee shop are usually unsecured and leave your machine open to outsiders. While these networks provide a convenience, there are risks to be aware of.

Bank and shop with caution.

Shopping from familiar websites is a good place to start. Stick with the reputable sites that are tried and true – like Amazon or eBay. Also, when checking out and finalizing the purchase, look for the ‘padlock’ symbol or the abbreviation ‘https’ in the address bar at the top of your browser. This will ensure that you are on a secure, encrypted part of this webpage. Keeping an eye on your bank statements for suspicious activity is always a good idea, among these other best practices for shopping online.

Use secure passwords.

Passwords for logging into any website should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters – as well as be different for each website that you log into. It can definitely be a pain to remember all of these passwords, but ask yourself which is more of a pain – remembering these, or recovering stolen personal information.

Lock Your Computer.

When you walk away from your machine, lock it. In Windows, it is as easy as pressing the Windows key + L. On an Apple Mac, pressing “Control+Shift+Eject” will do the trick (unless you do not have an optical drive, then you can hit the “Power” key instead of “Eject”). This practice would be the equivalent to deadbolting the front door of your home. It acts as a deterrent to the bad guys as well as a line of defense. It may even be worth setting up a password lock on your Apple or Windows machine as well.

Do not click on anything unfamiliar.

If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Again, if you get an email from an unknown source, do not click any of the links within it – and immediately report it to your IT department. Using your judgment and trusting your gut is the ultimate defense when online. Always play it safe!

Business owners: do you need help setting up your employees to work from home? Contact us today for assistance.

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