Since the beginning of the pandemic, federal workers have moved towards more telework and work-from-home models. However, working from home requires securing your private network to keep the government’s data secure.. While some federal workers never left the office, some are still working from home, so security remains paramount.
Here, we will discuss the top personal security tips for federal workers in the current climate. If you want to learn about the best cyber and physical security practices to keep your data secure when working from home, then keep reading.
Note this post is a guest post edited by GovernmentWorkerFI. Views may not fully reflect the values of the author.
Table of Contents
- Top Personal Security Tips For Federal Workers
- Investing In Cybersecurity
- Keeping Your Software Updated
- Updating Passwords
- Securing Your Home Using Security Technologies
Please do not confuse my personal blog for financial advice, tax advice or an official position of the U.S. Government. This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.Get Gov Worker’s top 4 tips for federal employees!
Top Personal Security Tips For Federal Workers
As a federal worker, you must keep your data secure. Federal workers handle sensitive information and the personal information of American citizens daily, so investing in private security for your home working environment is essential. This post will discuss the basics of securing your network and home to protect your data.
Investing In Cybersecurity
Federal workers sign an Oath of Office that denotes their commitment and allegiance to the federal office. Part of keeping this promise includes keeping federal information secure. If you’re working from home, you must ensure that you’re using and staying compliant with cybersecurity software that protects your network and devices from third parties. The federal information you work with from your home is a valuable digital asset, and you must keep it secure.
Some of the best cybersecurity protections include:
- Firewalls – a firewall monitors your network’s inbound and outgoing traffic to filter out untrustworthy sources.
- Virtual private networks – a VPN helps to secure your location and data. Traffic will enter your private network via an external server of your choosing. Many agencies provide access to a VPN and automatically route your data through their servers.
- Network access control – network access control security provides authentication processes for endpoint devices on your network. You can also ensure that only fully-updated devices can access your network.
While some of these tools will already be loaded on your government laptop, you may wish to consider investing in cybersecurity protections to keep your home network secure and your personal and business information private.
Keeping Your Software Updated
When software undergoes an update, this update will often remove risk factors and vulnerabilities present in an older version of the software. However, suppose you are still operating on an older software version. In that case, there will be weaknesses and vulnerabilities that a third party could take advantage of to gain access to your network and personal information. For this reason, it is essential to update your software regularly across all your devices.
The government does a great job of updating their software by sending “patches” to your computer. However, if you have non-governmental software installed on your government computer, this could be a big security risk that you need to regularly update.
Many individuals still use weak passwords like 12345 and re-use old passwords. The first step toward keeping your personal and business data private should be updating your passwords and creating stronger passwords.
You should change any passwords you have used for multiple accounts and create stronger passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols (some accounts will not support the use of symbols in a password).
Additionally, you may wish to consider using “pass phrases” instead of passwords. Since many hackers use brute-force attacks where computers try every possible passwords, longer passwords are safer than short passwords. So a password like fish dog Yahoo! knitting cat 2 c flour 1 tbsp oil is safer than p@$$w0rdsRgre@t!
Implementing MFA And Biometrics
Implementing multi-factor authentication and biometrics is a great way to secure your network and data from third parties. Multi-factor authentication requires the user to provide two sources of information to confirm their identity and log in.
Many government computers already require you to multi-factor authenticate and won’t let you log in unless you insert your HSPD-12 card and enter your PIN or password.
If you are connecting your government laptop to your home network when working from home, you will also want to make sure your home network is secure. You could use your password and the following biometrics to implement multi-factor authentication around your house:
- Fingerprints – some devices come with built-in fingerprint scanners, so implementing fingerprint identification won’t be too difficult. Provide your fingerprint and password, and you will be able to log into your accounts.
- Voice recognition – if your device has a microphone, you will be able to implement voice recognition software that you can use to protect your accounts with MFA.
- Facial recognition – most modern mobile phones allow you to use facial recognition to unlock your device. You could use facial recognition to ensure that nobody but you can access your personal and business information.
Securing Your Home Using Security Technologies
When working remotely in a federal position, you must ensure that your home is secure. If an intruder were to gain access to your home, they could access your digital assets. For this reason, it is essential to consider physical security as a part of your digital security and be aware of the current security technology trends.
To keep your home secure, consider investing in surveillance cameras. Security cameras can help provide evidence if a crime occurs on your property. In addition, a criminal will be less inclined to attempt to enter the property if they are on camera.
You might also consider investing in door locks using biometrics such as fingerprints and facial recognition. Only you, your family, and authorized guests can access your home.Get Gov Worker’s top 4 tips for federal employees!
As a federal worker, you are responsible for handling sensitive data daily. For this reason, you are responsible for securing your network and your home from unauthorized third parties. Therefore, educating yourself on the best cybersecurity and physical security practices to secure your personal and professional data would be best.
SamSam i.e. "Gov Worker" started working for the government at age 18 and loved it so much that he never left. He started GovernmentWorkerFI in 2019 to help fellow federal employees understand their benefits, take control of their finances, and live their best lives.
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