With hybrid working set to stay, according the ONS around 38% of office workers are now choosing to work mainly from home and only visiting the office when required.
Now more than ever, businesses need to set out their Hybrid Working Strategy – an essential component to keep their company data safe and secure.
That said, the initial enthusiasm for solely working from home has already started to wain. While there are many benefits to working from home, such as a shorter commute, increased productivity and better work life balance (i.e. being able to keep on top of household chores) there are also many disadvantages. Many people report lack of teamwork, lack of motivation and lots of home disruptions as some of the downsides to homeworking. Anyone regularly working from home, will have been interrupted by home delivery folk ringing on our doorbells, tempted by what’s on the telly, computer gaming and even prioritised household chores over report writing. Some of us also have interruptions from our partners also working from home, children asking questions and pets wanting to be fussed and let outside.
This leaves many of us looking for a middle solution. The trend in 2022 – 23 sees many of us resorting to spend much of our working week either in co-working spaces, such as serviced offices and top of the pops, coffee shops!
Why not! Obviously, they sell amazing coffee, delicious snacks and are now equipped with superfast broadband Wi-Fi and always have their heating turned on! What’s not to love?!
If any of this sounds familiar to you, then please take note of our security steps to help you keep your work and personal information safe, secure and away from prying eyes.
Safely working from a coffee shop is a lot like securing mobile devices. You need to secure your device and your connection while on the go. Follow these safety tips to ensure that you can be both productive and safe and secure.
We have created a short video to help you remember the basics - enjoy!
1. Install a VPN on your laptop.
A VPN will encrypt your signal, so your data is secured. But you need to choose the right VPN and associated technology. A free VPN may not be secure at all and it’s likely to be slow. Ask your company about their VPN recommendations or if they have a corporate VPN account. Ideally, your system should only be accessible via VPN. Otherwise, someone who is on the same connection as you might actually be able to see and read all the data that you’re sending.
2. Turn off ‘sharing’
If you leave file or printer sharing turned on by default, it’s a bit like leaving the front door unlocked in your home when you go out. It means that anyone using the same Wi-Fi network can access all the files on your computer, no matter how sensitive they are.
3. Make sure you’re using the right network
Don’t just buy your coffee, open your laptop and click on the first network name in the list – always ask the establishment for the correct name. Be especially wary of network names like ‘free Wi-Fi’ or even the name of the coffee shop if it needs no password – it could be a bogus network set up by a third-party to trick you into connecting to it to collect data from your device.
4. If you can, don’t use public wi-fi at all.
It’s better to use your own private hotspot. You may be able to get your company to pay for a hotspot, or you might already have a corporate hotspot available. Using public Wi-Fi is always going to introduce more problems, even if you have a VPN. Using a hotspot might be a little slower, but it means you don’t need to worry about someone else looking at your data. Secure your hotspot properly, though, so the data is still encrypted, and so other people can’t just jump onto your hotspot themselves.
5. Don’t leave your device unattended.
You can have the best security in the world, but if you leave your device unattended it could simply be stolen. Once your device is stolen, they have all the time in the world to try to get into it and try to access your data. Your device should also automatically lock itself whenever you’re not using it. If someone does steal it, all the data will be encrypted and inaccessible, so you won’t need to worry about it.
6. Think about where you’re sitting.
It’s not just that people can crack into your device. A lot of people working from a coffee shop don’t realise people can physically see what you’re working on. This may not a big deal if you’re sending emails, but it could be a big deal if you’re writing down financial and transactional information. Not only should there not be anyone behind you, but you should face a wall, not glass. You don’t want anyone to see privileged information in a window behind you.
7. Be clever with your computer login password
When sharing a free Wi-Fi network, the person next to you only needs to guess your login password to gain access to your hard drive. So, you need to be really inventive, making your password extraordinarily hard to predict by using a combination of letters, symbols and numbers.