How to Keep Your Data Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks
Whether it’s a coffee shop, airport, or hotel, at some point, you’re bound to find yourself doing business outside of the office. Sharing files and sensitive information over the Internet is especially risky if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network. Follow these tips to keep your company’s data safe.
Connect to a VPN
Protecting sensitive data has become a requirement for every business and creating a proxy network is one security solution that can protect your data when using public Wi-Fi. Your company’s virtual private network (VPN) encrypts traffic between your devices and the server, which means it’s much more difficult for hackers to steal your data. Another option is working with your IT department to implement a private cloud computing environment that stores your company’s data in the cloud, providing flexibility and scalability for any growing business.
Disable File Sharing
It’s best to disable any and all file sharing when using public Wi-Fi or guest networks. Anybody could connect to the public Wi-Fi network and get access to your company’s files. If your firewall has been disabled, make sure an alternative security measure is in place to protect you from malware. If you’re unsure how to disable file sharing or how to enable the firewall, contact your IT Department.
Update Your Apps
How often do you ignore software update notifications? It’s easy to dismiss these alerts, especially when you have a busy work day. But if you’re serious about security, now’s the time to start forming good habits. These updates are important because they often fix security issues and will help protect you from malware attacks. Some systems are setup to automatically update applications and operating systems to the latest versions. But if yours is not, make sure to update your software on a trusted work or home network – not public Wi-Fi. When updating software outside of a secure network, you run the risk of installing unintended malware on the machine.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Websites like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter all use something called two-factor authentication. You login to an account (factor 1), then to enter a verification code sent to you via email or text message (factor 2). It’s good practice to enable this security measure whenever possible. Even if a hacker manages to decode your password when you’re using public Wi-Fi, you’ll have an added layer of protection.
When sharing sensitive information over websites, look for HTTPS. This encrypts the data passed back and forth between your computer and the server, keeping you safe from hackers. You can also enable SSL when using applications that access the Internet such as an email client.
Bring a Portable Wi-Fi Router
If you own a smartphone, then you’re probably familiar with the personal hotspot feature. Using a portable Wi-Fi router or hotspot enables you to setup your own network wherever you are. These routers tap into your cellular network and are compatible with all Wi-Fi enabled devices including laptops, digital cameras, and mobile devices. Just like your Wi-Fi connection at the office, any good portable router comes with security tools and encryption to protect your sensitive data. Using a portable Wi-Fi router is going to be your safest best.