Like it or not, employees worldwide are being urged to stay at home to prevent the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, from spreading. But for many, business cannot stop and employees must continue to earn money. If you’re recently out of a job or transitioning to a home work environment, listen up! There are several things you need to do to stay safe and improve your online safety and security as you work in your new space and on a home network.
Fortunately, modern technology means you can work anywhere there’s internet. And that’s pretty much everywhere these days. Whether it is an active choice or something forced upon you, remote work is becoming the new norm to minimize your loss of income during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Self-isolation and home work can certainly help us prevent the spread of COVID and reduce the virus infection rates. But though it might make you physically safe, remotely working can open up a host of security risks and privacy threats as you hook up to the internet at home. Now more than ever it is essential you keep your connection safe, fast, and private, and there’s no better way than installing a VPN.
Remote and Home Work Security Risks for Employees
As staff return home to begin working from laptops and PCs on their home network, companies must provide them with access to their internal network so that they can continue doing their job. And that’s true for new freelancers as well, since most of the time you’ll be working with new clients and require access to their virtual workspaces. As such, it becomes common to access companies’ root data and freely use software owned by the company even though you aren’t in the workplace and may be working with strangers.
If you’re lucky enough to still be employed by your company, this kind of remote access is usually achieved through specialized protocols such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) developed by Windows. It basically means that, though you’re at home and on your home computer, you can visit a remote desktop owned by the company and held on their internal network. This is handy – that’s for sure. But allowing employees to visit company desktops on internal networks means opening up a risk to both employer and employee. For a start, the company’s whole internet network could be exposed to the wider internet or hacked into if the employee’s laptop or PC security systems are low-grade. And from the other end, if you’re an employee, you might be liable if your computer accidentally introduces a hidden virus or piece of malware to the company’s network.
Allowing employees to visit the internal network while they are sitting at home is a problem compounded with international corporations who could have employees dotted all over the world, each with varying degrees of internet safety provided by home networks. And the company’s firewalls and security measures are practically useless against all this due to the massive increase in demand and the new threats developing all the time as different people demand access to their networks.
Those RDP protocols often have security measures – they might ask for a username or password – or maybe even some kind of multi-stage verification process – but people are careless with these things and, increasingly, it’s becoming easier for hackers to steal passwords, especially with malware scams and phishing emails that are running rampant these days and more likely to target panicked remote workers ready to click on malicious links that claim to provide internet security or vaccine information. And as these attacks will no doubt be ramping up in the coming months, company’s and individual’s data is increasingly exposed. Fortunately, a VPN can solve that problem for both freelancers and companies.
What Is a VPN and How Does it Help Remote Work?
A virtual private network (VPN) reroutes your internet traffic through a specially configured and remote server – basically it extends a private network across a public network, and that means that users can transmit data over shared or public networks as though their computers were connected to the private network (i.e. the network of the company). To work at home remotely, an employee should first login to the corporate server and then confirm their details according to the security information that their employer has previously directed them to use. That security information is basically like a password that your network administrators (i.e. the IT guys at work) have shared with you. Once you’ve done that, the two terminals – that’s you and your employer’s networks – will form a tunnel that the VPN can encrypt and use for future transmission of data. That means both terminals agree on how they are going to move traffic around and how they can do it safely.
If that’s all a bit complex for you, just remember that a VPN essentially just means that rather than using insecure servers and networks, you’ll be hooking into your employers’ safe work network with the VPN. Not only is the data transmission safer, both parties are less exposed to privacy breaches thanks to the encryption.
Why a VPN Is Needed for Remote Work?
VPN Makes Remote Work Accessible
A VPN should be a key piece of technology for underpinning a remote working situation. It means that workers can sit down anywhere in the world on their own devices and securely connect to the corporate network. If they need to move, perhaps due to COVID-19 quarantines or restrictions, they can easily set up somewhere else – just so long as it has access to the internet, and get to work quickly and safely without the company having to set up a whole new security system for them. A VPN also means that workers can even access their own computer on a company piece of equipment in the office through remote monitoring should the coronavirus travel restrictions be lifted. So no excuses for leaving work back home on your laptop!
To Protect Corporate Security and Privacy
A VPN creates a secure connection between any device owned by an employee and the corporate network through an encrypted tunnel for data transmission. That’s massively important for improving security and reducing unnecessary risks to people on the network. As a result, no matter where employees get access to corporate network, at home, at a hotel or even in public café, the transmitted data will be safe from hackers and cannot be monitored by third parties.
What Is the Best VPN for Remote Work?
There’s hundreds of VPNs out there – they’ve been all the rage for some time now – and nearly all claim to protect your online activities from spying eyes. But as with anything, there are high-quality and low-quality VPN services with varying degrees of protection and they all look the same unless you’re a bit of an expert. Luckily, there’s one thing you should look out for in particular that’s a good indicator of quality. They must use an encryption key with at least 256 bits and use and no-logging technology. While some companies only promise not to sell users’ private data to other businesses, a top-tier VPN should make it impossible through their coding. SkyVPN applies 256-bit encryption keys and clearly demonstrates a no-logging policy, providing one of the highest levels of security on the market and making it impossible for data to be accessed and sold either by hackers or the company themselves.
Reliability. It’s a tough one. Everyone claims to be reliable – even the most popular VPNs out there. But trust me, they aren’t. They will have rubbish servers with poor bandwidth and their systems will get overloaded all the time. Look for a company with millions of users who all agree that the service is reliable and that has impeccable reviews. Used by more than 20,000,000 users around the world, SkyVPN has won an excellent reputation from its users based on its solid performance, fast connection and smooth features.
High Connection Speed
With the massive increase in home working thanks to the coronavirus spread and more real-time communication required, the demand for network speed is not only increasing, with people wanting higher speeds to work more efficiently, but there are simply more people flooding online looking for that high bandwidth. This puts enormous pressure on VPN servers. As soon as a remote working model is setup, conference call applications like Dingtone are installed and used on a daily basis by millions of people. Any delay or low sound quality leads to slow business. Therefore, the best VPN for remote work must have a high connection speed. While much of that is determined by your Internet Service Provider, a VPN can help you access higher quality servers closer to your physical location, ensuring you get top speed internet.
Multiple Platform Support
When you’re sitting at the office, the company provides all the software you need on a single computer (if you’re lucky – but at the very least they’ll provision you with the necessary equipment somewhere!). But that’s not the case when you’re at home. Perhaps you can only use excel on your PC, or Skype on your iPhone? Rather than getting everything reinstalled onto a single device, a VPN that’s easily installed on all your devices and provides multi-platform support means you can use whatever device is most comfortable for you while maintaining the company’s security requirements. Ensure your VPN is applicable on multiple platforms: Windows and macOS for PC while Android and iOS for mobile. SkyVPN is compatible with numerous platforms including all of those, dramatically increasing your working arena and making your life easier.