Much of modern business today is conducted on cell phones, tablets and laptops - in places such as public cafes, fast food restaurants and hotels as well as at home and remote offices. Effective mobile work requires reliable access to a broadband internet connection to connect, download, upload or access files.
Many mobile users search for locations that offer free public Wi-Fi connections, have a small daily rate, or are part of a subscription network. From a security perspective, however, you are far better off investing in your own cellular internet service plan than connecting to a public Wi-Fi service, even if you find that it is a bit slower.
Using a public wi-fi is much like having a conversation in a crowded room. People can pick up on your conversations easily, view the sites you are browsing or even steal your conversation and pretend it is their information. With a few simple software tools, anyone can take a look at the items you are working on and where you have been.
To protect your organization’s sensitive data, observe these safe remote login tips:
- A well-secured connection from home or office is your safest bet.
- Always confirm you are on the correct Wireless Access Point (WAP), even at known locations.
- When in public places, be very cautious of “free” Wi-Fi access. It is seldom well-secured and is vulnerable to “eavesdropping” and data mining by knowledgeable hackers.
- Use your own hotspot whenever possible.
- Avoid accessing highly sensitive info on public internet connections. If you must use a public connection, have your IT department configure your laptop with a VPN (virtual private network) connection.
- Make sure to connect to websites via HTTPS, which encrypts the data you send and receive from that website.
- Watch for onlookers or “shoulder surfers” (people watching what you’re doing over your shoulder) in public places.
- If traveling internationally, restrict access to sensitive information. If necessary, do your research and confirm that the access point(s) you plan to use are completely secured.
- When in doubt – ASK, and plan ahead!!
Before working remotely, make sure to securely protect your laptop, cell phone and other mobile devices with a difficult passcode - far more data is lost on misplaced or stolen devices (and paper documents) than any incident of intentional hacking.
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