If you are a work-at-home mom, the last thing you need on top of all of your other time sinks and responsibilities is having to deal with the consequences of a cyberattack or malware. A bad one can entirely ruin the reputation of your growing business. Looking at it from a personal level, you could become the victim of identity theft.
Luckily, there are ways that you can protect you, your work, and your family from your home. Most are extremely inexpensive and habit-based, and once you get the hang of everything, you will be spending no time at all locking down your computer and network from the outside world.
Here are a few tips that can help you stay secure at home:
Do a Review Right Now
Take some time right now and write down every important account or service that you use both personally and for your work. Also write down any folders, flash drive, and/or cloud storage services that you use to store important data. This might take longer than the two minutes some believe it takes.
Next, go into all of your accounts one right after the other and change the passwords and any security questions that you might have for them. This includes your email address. Make sure that they are all strong passwords and are different from one another. Keep this information safe if you feel the need to write it down. Then take a mental note of all the files on your computer and where they are. This way you can notice if something is out of place.
Try to make it a habit to do this every couple of months in order to make sure that you are the only person who can access important information.
Use a VPN
Being a working mom necessitates both privacy and security, and the best tool you can use to get that is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). What a VPN will do is connect your computer (or smartphone) to an offsite secure server using an encrypted connection. The server will hide your IP address, meaning that your privacy will be protected whether it is an individual or a government organization that wants to spy on you. The encryption will protect you whether you are at home or whether you are using a problematic public network on which hackers can easily intercept your valuable data.
While any VPN will be helpful to you, some are better than others. For your work, you are going to want a VPN that doesn’t reduce internet speeds (some of the cheaper ones can do that), has the highest quality protection available, and has servers in many countries around the world in case you want to try getting around regional restrictions for work research. You may want to check out some reviews of major VPN services such as those provided by Secure Thoughts or VPNFTW to see what is best for your purposes.
Keep Everything Separated
Despite the fact that you work from home, you should try to keep your work data separate from your personal and home data. You should consider it a business investment to buy an extra computer to use for either work or personal use so that you can free up one computer to do all of your work on. This way you don’t have nearly as many points of access, and you can focus on securing one device with greater intensity. You don’t want your kids accidentally releasing info or breaking the computer you use to generate your income.
You should also do this with your email and other accounts. While having a social media account is handy for your business, your personal account that you speak to your friends with is probably not the best tool for the job after you’ve let everyone know what you’re doing. Otherwise details about yourself can get out there that could damage your business or put you in problematic situations.
Protect Client Data Above All Else
If you are someone who has to work with client or customer data on a frequent (or infrequent) basis, then you need to make sure that the data is priority number one when it comes to security. No matter the inconvenience you need to try to have a physical backup locked away with this data so that you can save it without resorting to a cloud service.
In addition to this, do not even leave open anything involving client data out on your desk or screen, as a visitor might get ideas if they see it. Try to remember that if your client data goes, then clients will not want to keep you around, making all of your other hard work pointless.
Try to remember the above tips for when you are setting up your workspace or reorganizing your business. Just as any other business has its own levels of security, you need to have your security as well on the internet. Do you have any other advice that you think might be useful when it comes to online safety? If so, please leave a comment below.
Cassie Phillips is a blogger and writer who focuses on new technology, internet security tips, and protecting online businesses. She is delighted to have the opportunity to share her knowledge with mothers out there trying to make their way in the business world.
I would like to thank Business Among Moms for posting this article and allowing their readers to know more about internet security. They are a wonderful website that allows mothers from all over to get the information they need to build their own business. I particularly recommend their articles about managing your business.