If you choose to work in a co-working space shared by start-ups, remote workers, and freelancers, the risk of cyberattacks is tenfold because workers use open WiFi. And if you’re in charge of a co-working space, it becomes even more vital to protect your customers.
At a time when security lapses and threats to businesses are at an all-time high, you should not take the security at your co-working space lightly. Here are some ways you can protect yourself and your coworkers against security threats.
Workplaces are full of desktops, laptops, and other smart devices. If these devices are insecure, they are a gateway for intruders to access data and the entire network. There are many preventive measures you can take to secure your devices. Some of the most effective ones are:
Using passwords is the most basic, yet effective, measure to secure your devices. Use complex passwords, change them routinely and limit access to devices to workers only.
One of the best ways to ensure data safety is to use storage encryption. It ensures that digital files are encrypted while being shared and stored.
Windows and Mac devices have an inbuilt software firewall which may not be as effective as a hardware firewall, but it provides safety against the malicious outside network. So, ensure the software firewall is active on all devices connecting to your network.
Businesses must also use anti-virus programs that provide real-time protection when accessing local files and devices and browsing the web as well.
Also, use browser extensions like pop-ups, ad blockers, and VPN to ensure safe and secure web browsing.
Why would a hacker hack into individual devices when they can compromise an organization’s entire network?
This is the philosophy of most cyber-attackers as they look to carry out grand-scale DOS, DDOS attacks, and data thefts. From 2018 till now, 66% of 30 million American SMBs have witnessed at least one cyber-attack, making a secure network an absolute necessity. Here is how you can prevent your network from hackers.
WiFi at co-working spaces, like any public WiFi, can be an easy target for hackers if left unprotected. So, set up strong passwords for each network, use protocols like WPA, and change passwords routinely. Using your automated WiFi network, you can also create separate networks for different members, businesses, or visitors.
To protect your network, you must use a hardware firewall, a physical device installed to monitor in and outbound traffic and control access. Unlike a software firewall, it is a physical device that runs independently of devices like laptops and desktops.
Next, you should install WAF, Web App Firewall. It monitors and filters traffic between a web application and the Internet.
Routers are also prone to bugs, and you must update your router’s firmware to fix those bugs. Also, use VPN to provide an encrypted connection to prevent data leaks.
The biggest reasons that hackers target businesses is either to disrupt services for ransom, or leak sensitive data, like customer and employee information and financial details. The average data breach cost increased from $4.2 million in 2021 to $4.35 million in 2022. Here are some effective ways to protect your data:
If your co-working space members work with sensitive data, they must encrypt their files and folders for maximum protection. Without encryption, key workers or outsiders cannot access your data.
Disable File Sharing
It is common for workers to share files using wireless file transfer on laptops and mobile. It is a convenient way to share files but not advisable for businesses working with sensitive data. So, to reduce the chances of data breach to zero, disable public file-sharing services like Airdrop.
Utilize the Cloud
Having several security measures to protect files can make data inaccessible and affect collaboration. So, use cloud storage services from Google and Microsoft to store documents; workers can open and edit them without downloading them. Changes are automatically saved, so even in case a hacker successfully blocks hacks into your network and devices, your files are up to date and safe on a remote server.
Physical Security at Co-working Spaces
When cyber security is the biggest concern for businesses, it is easier to overlook the importance of traditional measures to secure physical office space. Still, commercial spaces are the biggest targets of break-ins and vandalism. In fact, more than 100k businesses report burglaries every year, so physical security is equally important.
The best way to prevent burglaries and break-ins into your co-working space is to install alarms and CCTV. A surveillance system relieves you from physically monitoring every movement at your facility.
Small businesses, start-ups, and professionals mostly use co-working spaces, so members and visitors constantly move in and out. Without proper access control and a visitor management system, mischievous elements can easily move objects and files in and out. So, place smart locks and security checks at the entrance, use badges to identify members and visitors, and maintain a visitor’s log.
Technological security solutions work great, but their effectiveness increases in the hands of seasoned security personnel. They can monitor movement in and out of the facility and act as first responders in case of emergencies.
As much as security is your concern, it is also the responsibility of coworkers to ensure they are vigilant themselves. Members must understand the sensitivity of the information they work with and be in tune with the state of cybersecurity. The best way to ensure that people using your co-working space are being responsible is to enforce a model code of conduct such as:
Once security measures, personnel, and IT specialists are in place, there are still chances of hackers successfully infiltrating your security. They can carry out sneaky and silent attacks that your systems may fail to recognize and act against. Businesses and cybersecurity experts create a solution, cyber criminals do them one better and find a hundred ways around them. So, you must perform routine security audits to look for loopholes, test them against set standards, and implement new measures.
But, going through security logs, system logs, and other massive files is challenging and requires specialized analytics tools. Usually, businesses invest in additional IT infrastructure and analytics software and even deploy their own self-hosted security tools. But it is not cost-effective, especially for small and medium enterprises.
You can rely on a free-to-use no-code data science workbench to ease the auditing process. These are often available as web apps accessible from any device and require no coding to attain the same results as enterprise-level analytics tools and SaaS solutions. These apps are designed for non-technical users to help them explore data without writing any code.
Workplace security, especially cybersecurity, is like the never-ending tail of a cat chasing mouse. With one threat patched, attackers will always be ready for new cyber threats. So, you must be proactive in implementing measures to prevent your business from these threats.
Leave no stone unturned and start by securing your devices and network, encrypting your data, investing in physical security measures, access control, and visitor management systems, and assembling a team of cybersecurity experts to create and maintain your security system. With all these measures, you do not have to worry about fighting threats but growing your business.
The article was written by Will Andrews. Will leads Product & Marketing at Gigasheet, a free, no-code big data spreadsheet for analyzing massive data files in CSV, XLS, JSON, LOG, PCAP, and more. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
This content was originally published here.