How Safe Am I Using My Work Device on Public Wi-Fi?

This is probably a familiar situation for you: you walk into a Starbucks (or favorite coffee shop) to drink your daily beverage of choice. While you’re sipping, you log onto the Wi-Fi network to check your work email.

Accessing data on a network such as the one available at Starbucks and other fast food restaurants and coffee shops is quite a common activity. However, that doesn’t make it safe. These networks are unsecured, meaning that anyone, including criminals, can see data as it travels.

Risky Business: Checking Corporate Devices on Unsecured Networks

The best things in life ARE NOT free, in this case. The lure of Wi-Fi that you don’t have to pay for is deeply appealing, but it comes with risks.

Connecting to a free wireless network means that it’s not secure, so data is vulnerable as it travels. There are criminals who prey on people who use Wi-Fi connections at coffee shops and fast food restaurants because they know that customers will transmit sensitive data.

These criminals use scanning technology to read and capture the unsecured information. If someone is using the connection to check their bank balance, the digital burglar could steal that information and empty the account. And if an employee is logging into a corporate network, the thief could help him or herself to valuable data.

Keeping Yourself Safe at Starbucks

Knowing that your coffee came with a side order of data theft isn’t very reassuring. So, what can you do to keep corporate information out of the hands of thieves?

The first step is to consider whether it’s really that important to use your work device on a public network. Whatever you need to do might be able to wait until you can use a secure network.

If it’s absolutely necessary to use your work device, there are some easy things you can do to protect business data. To start, make sure that all of your software is up to date. “Isn’t security software the most important?” you might ask. Yes, security software is important, but hackers can exploit glitches and flaws in other types of software; Java, for example, is infamous for its vulnerabilities.

Another security measure you can take is using encrypted websites. “Encryption” refers to encoding data into a secret language that no one else can read, unless they have the proper tools to decode it.

How can you tell if a website encrypts information? Look at the URL – if there’s an “HTTPS” at the beginning of the address, the site utilizes encryption.

WinMagic: Your Trusted Encryption Solution Provider

The necessity to protect corporate data is paramount, but the solutions available aren’t always trustworthy.  Understanding how your company’s information can be properly secured is the first step, and our team at WinMagic can assess your needs, and explain what your options are.

Contact WinMagic today at 1-888-879-5879. WinMagic has been providing encryption solutions since 1997, and our award-winning products are used by five million people in over 80 countries.

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