The work-from-home epidemic has sparked security issues when it comes to online privacy.

Coivd-19 has reshaped the world. In response to the new risk, companies across Europe have implemented new work-from-home strategies. Many people are suddenly and unexpectedly facing the challenges of remote work for the first time. There are many advantages to remote work, but there are serious issues that must be addressed. Arguably, the most important of those is cybersecurity. Undoubtedly, you have some idea of the importance of using a secure device for work, but you might underestimate the implications. Let’s explore the importance of security for remote work.

It’s More Than Just Your Data

The first thing to realize about working from home is that it involves a lot more than just your own personal data. That’s also important, and we’ll discuss it in a minute, but one of the great responsibilities that have suddenly been thrust upon you is maintaining the integrity of data involving clients and/or customers.

Even if you don’t directly handle personal data, you probably work with a system that does. As the old saying goes, a network is only as secure as its weakest link. You don’t want to be that link. It could make you liable for significant damage. Data leaks have killed some of the best businesses around the world. You need to secure your device in order to protect what it could leak to the world.

Company Privacy Is Integral

In addition to protecting the personal data of customers and clients, you want to protect the company that employs you. Every company has private information. Whether that entails research and development, marketing strategies or proprietary information, there are reasons to keep a few forms of information private.

As you just learned, your device could be the weak link that exposes these secrets. While that might not always be as devastating as a mass data breach, your business could take a serious hit, all because extraordinary circumstances forced a lot of people to work from home before we all had time to develop an infrastructure for it.

You Want to Protect Your Data Too

Underneath all of this is the concept of protecting yourself. Even though you’re online for work, you’re connecting through your home network. That means that your own personal stuff is potentially at risk too. As bad as it would be to be responsible for something devastating happening to your place of work, it’s potentially even scarier to have your own personal data stolen.

You need the means to protect yourself. Attending work can’t come at huge personal risk. You need a secure network, protected devices, and a consistent way to make sure your work activity remains a private enterprise.

How to Protect Yourself

Knowing that security is important is only the first step. Without a means of protection, you are just as vulnerable as you were before you learned of the risk. If you want to secure your online experience — whether at work or otherwise — there are techniques and resources that can help. These are some of the easiest and most powerful security measures, and they are all extremely accessible.

Separate the Network

Since every device on the network is a potential security risk, the best first step in security is to segregate your workspace. The best thing you can do is get a separate line from your internet provider that can be dedicated solely for work. That’s not always practical, so when you can’t, there are a few other tricks that can help.

Separate Wi-Fi goes a long way. A lot of people have smart devices in their homes that aren’t exactly stacked with security measures. If they’re on a different Wi-Fi network than your work device, you’re creating a degree of separation, and that drastically improves your overall security. This is usually pretty easy. These days, dual-band routers are the norm. Put all of your personal stuff on one band, and save the second band for work (using a unique password that you don’t share).

If even this isn’t possible, there are still some measures available.

Virtual Networks

Virtual networks can be established within any physical network. When you do this, it creates the network segregation you desire; it’s simply using software to get the job done. In general, virtual networks have a lot of power, but the best option for you is a virtual private network (VPN) like this one

Surely, you’ve heard of VPNs before? They put devices on secured, private, virtual networks that add a lot of security to your internet activity. We’ll discuss some of those measures in a moment, but it’s important to understand that a VPN can successfully segregate your devices, even if you can’t create separate physical networks.

That said, doing both is even better. If your work computer is on a dedicated Wi-Fi band and running a VPN, your level of security shoots through the roof.

Use an Anonymous IP

One of the powerful things a VPN does for you is to mask your IP address. In order to connect to other devices online, they have to know where to send information to get it to you. This knowledge is shared in the form of an IP address. You have a physical IP that tells all devices that connect to you where you are located. This is how things like Google Maps can give directions to your exact location. It’s why search engines recommend stores near you first when you look up an item. It’s also how hackers and malicious actors can get frightening personal information from you.

When you establish a VPN, it connects your device to a VPN server. This server can be located anywhere in the world (although it will run fastest if you connect to a server in your country). All of your traffic is routed through that server, so any device that connects to you sees the IP of the server instead of your physical IP. This is even true for malicious entities that would use your IP to do bad things. The VPN makes your activity truly anonymous, and it’s one of the most valuable tools for protecting your online privacy.

Use Secure Tunnels

The other extremely powerful tool of the VPN is the secure tunnel. Essentially, the VPN software establishes a direct connection between you and the server. Every single packet of information that travels between your device and the server is encrypted. This is what is known as a secure tunnel.

In essence, it makes it extremely difficult for a malicious attack to directly penetrate the connection and steal information. Without the VPN, there are many techniques that malware can use to penetrate a connection and steal pretty much anything.

Tips to Optimize Your VPN

Choose a Server in the U.K.

As we have already discussed, you can access a server anywhere in the world. There are advantages to using locations outside of the U.K. Your VPN can allow you to access geo-blocked information, resources and features. You can explore websites from the perspective of natives in other countries. You can mask your nationality and even your native language.

Even from a work perspective, there can be plenty of reasons to connect to a VPN server abroad.

Assuming you don’t absolutely need to do that, your experience will be better if you connect to a U.K server. There are two reasons for this. First, you’re already familiar with the Internet in the U.K. There is no burden of knowledge to overcome.

Perhaps more important is that a local VPN will give you a faster and more stable connection. Your VPN is routing all of your traffic through the server. If the server is farther away, the information has to travel a greater distance, and that can add up quickly. In the end, the Internet still works by sending electrical signals at great distances. Minimizing those distances leads to a faster experience.

Explore the Features

VPNs come with tons of features, and some of them can impact your work from home. The one that should catch your attention first is connection automation. While it’s convenient to have automatic connections, there is a facet of this that is integral to security. Sometimes, connections get interrupted. If that happens between you and your VPN server, it can leave you connected to the Internet while being exposed and unprotected.

Automatic connection management will disconnect and halt all of your internet activity when it detects a disruption in your signal with the VPN server. Usually, these disconnects are quick, but regardless, you want automated protection to make sure you are only using the Internet through a secured tunnel.

If you want to secure your device while you work from home, the simplest answer is also the best. Get a VPN service. It will encrypt your data, establish a secure connection, mask your identity and segregate your devices. You check all of the vital security boxes with a single solution. You can rest at ease and focus on your new work life. And, hopefully, we can all get back to a semblance of normalcy sooner rather than later.