If you work remotely, or even if you simply use the home computer for typical household tasks, and your kids use it too, it is a good idea to buckle down on security best practices. Most of what we discuss in this post will apply to virtually anybody—safe and secure computer habits are important for everybody—but this goes double for those with children and teenagers in the house.
We’re all familiar with how inquisitive a child is when they’re a toddler, putting everything they can lift into their mouth and filling every quiet moment with a string of questions about anything that comes to mind. However, even this period of time is outdone by the curiosity that one often feels as an adolescent, and why wouldn’t it? Adolescence is a time of drastic physical change, emotional turbulence, and a new, more informed perspective of the surrounding world.
As it happens, the Internet serves as the perfect outlet for this curiosity. Why “wait until you’re older” to be told something, when the Internet can just tell you now?
This, of course, opens up a lot of concerns for any parent, simply in terms of the content that the Internet can so easily provide (it doesn’t take long for a teenager to figure out they can just lie about their age when accessing certain websites). Having said that, there are other, somewhat related concerns that we wanted to focus on: namely, how simple it is for a child to visit a malicious website or fall for a phishing attempt.
Naturally, this situation is bad enough… but what if you used the same device to access company documents as you worked remotely?
With so many South Dakotans now splitting their work time between the office and their homes, work processes are now sharing network resources with the rest of the household. Network resources that, regardless of how diligent you are, are almost certainly being used to access questionable content that could very well contain serious threats to your network security. This would be bad enough even if you weren’t accessing work resources, but seeing that many people are doing so as they work from home, there needs to be some preventative measures.
Any family member, of any age, could potentially let in a threat. Cybercriminals don’t really care who it is that lets them in, so much as they care that they’re let in at all. Therefore, it is important that everyone in a household is aware of the risks that modern cybercriminals pose (in an age-appropriate way, of course) and that certain rules are in place and followed.
There are a few things that you can do:
Our mission is to help you and your team members to get the most out of your business technology… even if that technology doesn’t technically belong to your business. As a provider of technical support, we’re motivated to keep your data safe and secure. That means you can trust us to do everything we can to help your remote workers function as best they can without exposing your data to undue risk.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as making sure staff are following the proper procedures and only working from the VPN, saving data on the server, and keeping work files off of personal devices.
If you have the relative luxury of working remotely while using a device provided by your workplace, much of the risk your family might pose can be eliminated simply by determining that the work device is for you to use for work—nothing else—and sticking to this determination (no matter how much pleading you have to endure). Should you need to utilize a shared device in the home for work purposes, you need to do all you can to educate your family members (again, in age-appropriate terms) how to safely conduct themselves online.
Kids especially can be lured in by download buttons and free offers (with unintended consequences), so be sure that they know they can and should ask you first before they click download. As for phishing messages, remind them about the dangers of talking to strangers and—if available—show them a practical example of phishing. Naturally, password best practices also need to be followed, so do your best to teach everyone those as well.
There’s a reason that parental controls exist, so it is wise to enable them to help minimize the danger to your children anyways, in addition to the benefits that they can have to your device’s security. Similarly, you should always have anti-malware installed, so check in with your IT resource for their input and assistance in doing so. Finally, while it won’t help stop any threats from coming in, maintaining separate user accounts will give you more control over what different users can access and accomplish.
The managed services that we offer can help keep your technology secured and running optimally, wherever it may be, and we’re always available to assist your team members (remote and in-house). To learn more about how we can help keep your business running smoothly, give us a call at 888-891-4201 today.
Finally, if you’re interested in having your remote team use a device dedicated solely for work purposes, we are an authorized HP vendor and can provide your team with the right workstation or laptop for their needs.