In today’s wired world, you’re almost always connected to some source of network somewhere. Be it a laptop in your office, your tablet while you wait for coffee or your phone in your car. The world is moving more and more to an “always on” society which has its pluses and its minuses. Whether you welcome this change with open arms or shun it like a bad apple, being mindful to take a few easy security measures can save you and your IT team many headaches in the long run.
Laptops have become a wonderful tool for businesses allowing its employees to easily work on and display presentations from an environment the employee is already comfortable with. As prices go down, mobility of employees goes up but as an employee, you’re also seated with extra responsibility. Firstly, make sure your laptop is password protected at all times. You can easily lock a windows machine with the keyboard combination of pressing the Windows Key + L and you can set up a hot corner to lock your screen on a mac. Even if you’re only stepping away for a moment, someone can access your system and password locking your computer is a good habit to get into.
It’s also a great habit to have for a smartphone. As smartphones become more prevalent, you stand to lose much more by having your smartphone stolen than the personal contacts you lost with your feature phone 7-10 years ago. Having to enter some type of password to access your phone makes it much more difficult for someone to access sensitive information if they have access to your phone. There are also apps for both Android and iPhone that can help you recover a lost phone or help the police recover a stolen phone by using the built in GPS.
Finally, physical security isn’t the only thing to consider in a world of mobility. Your actual network security should always be a consideration. When conducting business away from the office or sensitive personal business (in particular online banking), be sure you connect to secure networks at least. This keeps people who may not even be near you from sniffing out your traffic and obtaining anything that was meant for only you or your company to see. If you’re extra paranoid about where you are, you may also want to consider connecting to your office VPN. VPN traffic is encrypted which will add an extra layer of security onto whatever you’re doing.
Keeping these few simple tips in mind can keep you secure and your IT team happy.
Post by: Liam Brucker, Systems Administrator