10 IT Mistakes made by Remote Workers

  1. Using a Mechanical Hard Disk

SSDs have probably been one of the greatest innovations in end-user computing in the last few years. They make your Windows or Apple operating system boot faster while making applications and file transfers run significantly faster. This means no more beachballs on your Mac or spinning circles on your Windows PC. Moreover, you no longer have to endure listening to strange mechanical noises emanating from inside your system as SSDs contain no moving parts.

2 Not having a Dual-Display set-up.

Working with just one computer screen is a pain. You’re constantly toggling between open tabs. One tab for your accounts package, a few tabs open for your browser and a few more Explorer or Finder open for good measure. All of this can result in cognitive overload. With a dual-display setup, there is no need for the constant toggling. For example, you can have your accounts package open one display whilst having Excel open on another. It just makes your workflow easier and less tiring.

3 Using an Ink-Jet Printer

Inkjet printers are slow, relatively unreliable and are expensive to run. Laser printers make printing a breeze without the headaches of messing around with paper alignment, paper feeders, nozzle-cleaning or frequent paper jams. What is more, a quality enterprise-class laser printer can be acquired for much less than you think.

4 Downloading MacOS Updates Willy-Nilly

When many users see the word “update” appear on their screens, they assume it must be good. Unfortunately, of late, MacOS updates (such as the now infamous Catalina 10.15 update) have caused more problems than they solve. Always do your homework first before deciding to install a new version of MacOS. An incompatible MacOS version installed on your MacBook or iMac can result in a whole plethora of problems from issues with dropping wireless internet connections to kernel panics.

5 Opening Phishing Attachments or Links

Humans are curious by nature. However, opening up a malicious email attachment or web link can result in cyber-criminals getting access to your email account. Once in, they perform all sorts of nefarious activities from invoice fraud to supply-chain attacks. Always stop and think before you open an email attachment or a web link (within an email).

6 Not Using MFA

Multi-factor authentication means that even if a hacker does steal your email password, they will still not be able to get into your account. Popular email platforms such as Office 365 and GSuite all support MFA. Enabling this extra layer of security on your email accounts protects your data, your reputation and helps prevent against financial damage.

7 Trying to Boost Wi-Fi with the Wrong Equipment

Working at home with a poor or intermittent wireless internet connection is annoying. Most of the wireless equipment manufacturers have done a stellar job in convincing home workers that their Wi-Fi booster gizmos is going to solve all wireless problems quickly and easily. Sci-fi-esque terms like “wireless mesh” are now being used by manufacturers erroneously giving consumers the impression their whole house will be saturated with fast and stable Wi-Fi in just a few minutes.  Unfortunately, a lot of these products don’t work as advertised and often conflict with your existing network configuration. An experienced IT technician should be able to perform a (socially-distanced) wireless site survey of your home in order to implement a reliable, fast and secure Wi-Fi solution.

8 Using Un-encrypted Devices

Another mistake of remote workers is using unencrypted devices. If your mobile computing device such as a laptop or tablet is lost or stolen and is unencrypted – a third-party could access your confidential files. And if you’re thinking that your operating system log-in password (the one your input when starting your system…) will protect your files, it can’t. Encryption based on AES-128 or AES-256 can protect your data if it gets into the wrong hands. It can also save you from a hefty GDPR non-compliance fine from the Data Protection Commissioner.  

9 Not Using an Automatic Backup System

Here is a fact. Most people have a backup of their data somewhere, but not everyone has an up-to-date backup of their data. And an out-of-date backup can be practically useless. Peoples lives are busy, you cannot always remember to back-up your computer. It’s often the last thing on peoples to-do lists. Having a robust automatic backup system saves you the hassle of having to remember to backup. It also gives you the peace of mind, that should some incident such as hard disk failure or ransomware occur, your data is safe.

10 Using the Email Service that came Bundled with your Web Hosting Plan

When you own a website, most hosting companies will provide you with a free email service. However, even with the best hosting companies, this email service can be a fairly bare-bones affair. It will provide minimal spam and malicious email filtering, which in today’s cyber threat landscape poses a security risk. And it will probably not support IMAP which is very important for keeping a uniform view of your inbox, sent items and custom made email folders across all your devices. Moreover, most email services provided by web hosting companies offer lousy mobile support. For a better alternative, GSuite (Google for Business) and Office 365 offer a much more secure and streamlined email service, meaning you can send and receive emails from anywhere quickly, securely and reliably.