The way we work changed radically with the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of us used to work out of the office with our colleagues, many businesses have turned to a remote workforce where employees work at home now. This arrangement has proven to be successful, so it appears it is here to stay.
However, while a remote arrangement may be convenient, there are concerns that employees are not properly educated on data security.
A lack of protection of their devices at home could affect the customer data of the company where they work. While computers and routers need to be protected, so do the smart devices that we all use every day, including speakers, door locks, and beyond. Let’s talk about the importance of securing these devices and how doing so can protect the information of your customers.
Why Would Someone Hack Your Doorbell?
If unprotected, smart tech at home can pose a data security risk for your employees and the company as a whole. If a device is plugged in or connected to a Wi-Fi network and holds any data, it can be hacked by cybercriminals. Once they gain access, they will have an open pathway to your more substantial devices, including work computers, and they can steal customer data.
Smart devices have grown by leaps and bounds over the years, as we now have everything from smart doorbells to smart speakers. With the touch of a button on a cell phone app or a single voice command, you can do just about anything from lock the front door to turn up the temperature in the living room. Many of these actions can even be completed when you are miles away from home.
While your smart doorbell may not contain customer data, hackers can use that as a starting point and make their way to your work phone or computer where they can access the customer data. A single hack could be catastrophic for a company, leading to millions of dollars in damage and reputation control efforts and lawsuits.
Employee Education Is Key
Even if you know how important it is to protect devices against hackers, your employees might not know the same. Hackers may realize this, which is why this is a bigger problem than most people realize.
Hackers make it a mission to learn your passwords, so they can use them to breach your computer and data. Unfortunately, most people use simple or reused passwords, so if a hacker learns the password to your smart speaker, they may be able to use that same information to hack into your computer as well.
Once there, they can install a virus or malware that could render the device useless and grab the data held within. With this vital information, they can sell it to other criminals or hold it for ransom against your company. To protect all devices, including your computer, create complex passwords, with a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. In addition, your passwords should be changed every six months.
The management and HR teams at your company must make it a point to educate your employees on proper precautions for their computers and smart devices. During this training, you should enunciate the importance for employees to teach their family and loved ones that live with them to utilize internet safety for all their devices. You never know when an employee’s child could be accidentally responsible for a breach.
Knowing the basics and putting them into action is essential because as time goes on, computer systems will only get more complicated as companies turn to advanced business tools such as artificial intelligence, chat-bots, and other processes that take control out of the hands of the employees.
Protecting Smart Devices
In addition to proper passwords, there are many other precautions that employees should take to protect their smart devices from hackers. For starters, users should set a reminder to check the websites of the smart devices they have to see if updated firmware is available and install those updates as soon as they are provided.
By having the newest software installed, your devices can remain protected against the newest threats. You should also check the permissions on your devices and turn off any settings that create a doorway to the outside world.
Next, you need to set up a strong firewall and a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which will encrypt your devices so hackers cannot pinpoint your location. Encryption makes your inbound and outbound communications unreadable, so hackers cannot use your data even if they breach your device.
Finally, you should employ common-sense security precautions that can stop viruses and malware in their tracks. Be sure to install antivirus software and run scans weekly so you can eradicate any existing threats.
You should also consider adding two-factor authentication to your phone and computer, so hackers have to work harder to gain access. For the best security in this regard, go with some form of biometric identification since it can’t be easily duplicated or hacked.
In the end, while smart devices may be convenient, they can also pose a danger to data security if they are not used properly. Consider the advice and tips listed here, and you can use your smart tech with absolute confidence.