Top 5 Ways to Secure Your Data When Working From Home

Tips & Resources Apr 27, 2020

Tim Li

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In these extraordinary times, many businesses have been forced to change and/or improvise remote working environments for their team members, sometimes at very short notice. This has resulted in displaced IT infrastructure and operations, such as a large amount of personal devices being leveraged as work devices. Amidst the chaos of remote work and technical disruptions, you may not be aware of data security vulnerabilities that might arise, which attackers will be more than happy to take advantage of. Learn how to to secure your data when working from home.

Here are five tips to maximize your organization's data security while your team members prepare to work remotely for an extended period of time.

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5. Maintain Backups

Even though you may not be able to access your office computers and other equipment, you will still need to back up regularly. This is especially true with more mobile devices such as laptops and tablets being used for work at home instead of your normal office computers. Without a centralized data repository for backup, your risk of suffering data loss increases dramatically. The more data backup options you have, the better position you’ll be in when something inevitably goes wrong.

Working from home means you will have to be more diligent with backups, but it is worth it for your protection. We recommend the established 3-2-1 method for backups, but we also recognize that it may not be possible without regular access to your office servers. For safety, make sure your team members have a non-local backup option in addition to their work devices, so that even as you cannot follow the 3-2-1 method, you can still have multiple backup copies of your data just in case.


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4. Make Sure All Possible Encryption is Enabled

Regardless of the size of your business, failing to encrypt your communication sufficiently could be an easy way for attackers to breach your network and access your business data. You should take steps by enabling as many avenues of encryption as possible. Encryption is ubiquitous: it is a standard feature on most mobile devices, chat messengers, and even file transfer tools. However, some encryption methods are more powerful than others. For example, consider using multi-factor authentication (MFA) when creating your team members’ logins for an extra layer of protection.

For many remote access applications, a virtual private network (VPN) should be used. VPNs are essentially secure connections to another network over the internet, and provide a secure yet flexible connection to different services (email, data server, etc.) to protect your traffic.


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3. Enforce New Security Policies

Employees working from home are no longer protected by the preventive security controls at the office. This creates new attack surfaces you may not have considered. For example, if you are not using a VPN, you might suddenly have to contend with your Amazon Alexa device or your children's mobile devices as possible IT security risks since they are all on the same network as your work device.

Make sure your team members know how to properly secure their IoT devices and shared networks. As with the office, they should follow similar security protocols to protect their networks and devices, and be on the lookout for phishing or other intrusion vectors. Take steps to ensure that all devices and software utilities are patched and up-to-date, and make sure that they minimize physical risks to their devices to prevent them from being broken or stolen.


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2. Take Your Time

Let’s face it: working from home brings its own challenges. Your regular daily routine will be disrupted pretty heavily. You can expect to be distracted by things you wouldn’t experience at the office, and with everyone being online at the same time slowdowns will occur more often. Given all the chaos, it is important to remember to take your time in completing tasks.

Rushing or carelessness will create user errors that cyber criminals can take advantage of. Maybe you’ll forget to apply that encryption before sending a file, or maybe you’ll forget to scan that email attachment before downloading it. Regardless, attackers are eager to hunt for vulnerabilities, and you are more likely to make mistakes when there is more chaos. Make sure to take some extra time and follow all precautions when working remotely to make sure your data stays protected.


1. Use the Web Cautiously

With remote work, large amounts of data will be moved online, and you will need to choose your online services carefully. There are now a bevy of cloud services available, and you will have to meticulously evaluate their pricing and security protocols. In all fairness, even the most secure cloud services can still contain system vulnerabilities, especially in networks that have complex infrastructures and multiple third-party platforms. With the mass migration to remote work, you may not have the budget set aside to handle bandwidth from cloud services.

We recommend continuing to back up your data to a physical hard drive that’s safely stowed at an off-site location. That way, you’ll always have a physical backup to rely upon in the unlikely event of a local disaster. If you suddenly need large amounts of data storage and backup and don't want to worry about complicated cloud storage pricing and bandwidth costs, a modern NAS device with remote access could be the solution for you. A NAS solution can act as a dedicated remote server so that you can access your data from anywhere, providing you with a cost-effective data storage and backup solution for your business.

Protecting your data while working from home is an essential part of successfully maintaining your business. Safeguarding your data with a large remote workforce will not be easy, but it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive either. Buffalo's reliable NAS solutions with Remote Management Service for easy remote device access and maintenance, along with our award-winning 24/7 customer service, are here to help you maintain your data integrity. Contact us today and let us help you achieve data security during this difficult time.

- Learn how-to Backup and Restore Files with a MiniStation Extreme portable hard drive featuring encryption with Windows here.

- Learn how-to use MiniStation Extreme to make a full image backup of a Windows 10 PC here.

- Whether you are backing up for home or business learn how to do this with ease here.