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Keep Your Data Safe When Telecommuting
By Elizabeth Wasserman
Thanks to the Web, more and more people are working remotely -- from home or anywhere. But not commuting anymore doesn't mean you don't have the same security issues that your corporate-office counterparts do. Here's how to protect your data, devices and computer without an IT department:
1. Back up your data in the cloud.
"Backup used to be cost-prohibitive," says Phil Montero, founder and CEO of an online resource called You Can Work From Anywhere. But these days, many online services charge as little as $50 per year, depending on your needs. Mozy even offers certain amounts of backup for free. If you’re only backing up documents, Google Docs is another good bet.
2. Protect your computer and critical files.
When choosing a cloud-based security service, be sure it protects your computer with antivirus, spyware and firewall programs. It should also constantly updates to protect you against evolving threats.
You should also limit your family members’ access to your work computer. "You have to be sure that the really critical stuff isn't made accessible to someone who shouldn't have access to it," says Jack M. Nilles, founder of JALA International, a global telecommuting consulting company. "That includes the kids getting on your computer and downloading something [harmful]."
Finally, keep passwords and ID numbers private so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
3. Seamlessly collaborate with others.
Cloud services enable you to sync automatically to ensure speedy backups. Or try Microsoft’s FolderShare, which allows you to synchronize files with colleagues over the Web.
There's no doubt to the benefits of Web to the home office worker. That said, you want to be smart about security issues. To really cover your bases, in addition to backing up and securing your data, Niles also says it's important to get a clear protocol from your company or clients: "We recommend that telecommuters working for a company have a formal agreement specifically stating who is responsible for what." This way, you can always fall back on the agreed-upon security plan for your best-quality work away from your IT department.Photo Credit: @iStockphoto.com/ChristopherBernard
Elizabeth Wasserman has written for Congressional Quarterly, Inc magazine, CIO Strategy Center and other publications.
Cloud computing enables you to connect wirelessly and comes with plenty of benefits. What's your favorite feature?
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