Tips to Make Your Remote Network More Secure During the New School Year

Whether you are working remotely or studying from home as the new school year begins, it can be challenging preparing mentally and transitioning to the new norm. If you are a first-year college student, it’s important to know that no one is going to structure your days, so you must do it yourself. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a plan. Attending classes remotely amplifies lack of structure because everything feels less tangible. Since you’re not seeing your professor or classmates in person, you may feel disconnected from what’s happening, making it easier to get lost without a structured schedule.

Thus, strategizing and making a schedule for yourself will be useful, especially when working or studying from home. Time blocking apps are a great way to make a plan as they serve as a time management technique. Time blocking is essentially a simple productivity method that helps build your day around your priorities. Apps like Zapier allow people to schedule time on their calendars in advance to focus on specific tasks. You may have tasks in numerous places – your inbox, your to-do list app, your team’s project management tool, etc. You need somewhere to pull them together and schedule them in order of priority. That somewhere is a time blocking app.

With continuous zoom meetings talking to your professors, time blocking apps, and other software on your device, your computer must be backed-up and protected continually. Here are some tips to make your network is more secure:

1) Install updates: Check that all updates and patches to Microsoft®, Adobe®, and other critical software applications have been installed. Updates take time, but they are crucial to protecting the data that you are entrusted to access for school.

2) Update antivirus and anti-malware tools: It’s easy to postpone these time-consuming updates, but if they are not done, you are ultimately leaving yourself at risk for hackers. If you do not have a paid-for antivirus and anti-malware solution, ask an IT professional for help installing a licensed, approved corporate security software.

3) Uninstall unnecessary software: If you are not using certain applications on your computer, uninstall software that isn’t being used. Software that is not being used usually is not being updated so it’s easier for hackers to tap into these applications.

4) Always use the virtual private network (VPN): This gives you online privacy and masks your IP address by creating a private network from a public internet connection, reducing the risk of hackers getting into your network.

5) Ensure secure browser configuration: Use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your browser as many of the other browsers contain vulnerabilities that can be a breeding ground for cyberattacks, ultimately leaving company data exposed. Both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have the most up-to-date security.

6) Use a password manager: Use a password manager to create and store passwords so that you can avoid saving passwords in the browser. Of course, it’s easier to save passwords using multi-factor authentication where it is offered. However, sacrificing the convenience is worth it to avoid a security incident.

7) Secure the DNS settings on the computer: An IT company will have the software or a tool you can use on your computer that will help keep you from accidentally going to harmful websites.

8) Separate your network: It is wise to separate the computer that you are using for school or work from the rest of the computers in your remote location by using a different router or firewall. For extra protection, consider using the hot spot on your phone instead of a guest network or your home network.

9) Don’t just click: Just because there is a link or an attachment does not mean that you should click on it. Instead, put your mouse over the link and see the entire link. Be sure to check for the correct spelling of the domain in the area before the .com, .net, .edu, .gov, or .org looking for anything unusual, such as the characters ‘1’, ‘l,’ or ‘I’ being leveraged as an imposter domain.

10) Think twice: Before opening an email, take a moment to review who it came from by examining the actual email address, not the name in the display. Right now, receiving an email that looks like it came from your professor or boss with a subject line that reads, “Coronavirus Update” may seem normal, but it may not actually be from your school or company and could cause harm to your network if you open it.

If you need assistance with any of these tips, ask an IT professional at Key Tech Services by calling (866) 560-9690. Our 24-hour live support center is always here to help with any questions you may have.