The world of work is evolving: just a few years ago, working remotely or under a hybrid model was the outlier. Today, it is a norm – and a trend that is growing and strengthening as people reevaluate their needs and priorities (especially in regards to work-life balance). At the same time, businesses are also realizing the benefits of adopting a leaner approach to their work environment. All of these factors have led to an increase in demand for shared office and coworking spaces. In this article, we want to help you with setting up a private network connection in a coworking space.
While these environments offer exceptional benefits in terms of budgets, flexibility, productivity, and innovation, there is a concern that tends to rise to the top of mind for professionals. Is your data secure?
Information is one of your most critical assets. Unfortunately, it can also become one of your biggest liabilities. If it is not secured, if proper precautions are not taken, you risk not only financial consequences but often-irreparable damage to your reputation. While mega-corporations may be able to take this hit, for smaller businesses and independent professionals, breaches and leaks can be nothing short of catastrophic.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that setting up a private network connection in a coworking space is not difficult. You can easily take steps to safeguard your data and information – not to mention your name and reputation.
What Are the Risks With a Coworking Space Network?
First, what are the risks involved when using a coworking space network? Most of us take simple precautions when using public networks, such as not accessing our bank accounts at the coffee shop. But do we think about it when taking advantage of shared work environments? Most often, these spaces include high-speed wifi and fast, seamless connectivity.
Be sure to ask what type of network security measures are in place. In some cases, private offices will have private networks and hot desks will have a member connection. Some providers just have a guest network with no password requirements. Hackers have any number of methods and techniques they use to exploit vulnerabilities, whether it is wifi “sniffing” (i.e. stealing data transferred over public networks) or setting up fake networks to intercept traffic.
Hackers can use these routes into your devices to install malware or ransomware and/or steal sensitive information (e.g. customer names and contact details, financial information, etc).
If you think you cannot afford to devote some time and resources to cybersecurity, consider the alternative. The cost of a breach can cost small businesses between $120,000 and $1.24 million.
How Do You Protect Yourself on a Coworking Space Network?
You can – and should – take some simple precautions to keep your data safer when using public networks. These include:
- Never leave your devices unattended
- Always password protect your devices (do not use the same password for everything… you know the drill at this point)
- Make sure your antivirus software and firewalls are up to date
- Update your browser for the latest built-in protections
- Disable file and folder sharing when utilizing public networks
- Only access sites you know are secure
- Limit the number of sites you visit
- Do not open emails or attachments from unfamiliar senders or with subject lines that seem “off”
Now, this can seem overly restrictive when it comes to your workplace. For example, you may not be able to disable file and folder sharing because you need to do this to connect with teams in the office, folks from out of state, clients from across the globe, etc.. What do you do in this case? Setting up a private network connection in a coworking space is an effective way to implement safeguards without impeding your ability to work.
If you want extra security, use a VPN, or virtual private network when utilizing coworking space – or any other public connection. A VPN extends across a public network; it allows you to send and receive data across a shared or public network as if you were doing so right from your own secure private network. When you opt for a reputable, trustworthy provider, it is secure and safe. You can feel confident in pressing “send,” accessing documents, or sharing information.
How much is this going to cost? There is no doubt your budget comes into play when setting up a private network connection in a coworking space. But here’s more good news: it can cost just $12 – $15 a month. This is one investment that will deliver immediate returns. It pays you back day after day – email after email, file after file, and folder after folder.
Office Evolution: Security Solutions
Office Evolution offers both high-speed wifi and wired internet options (wired options are more secure than open networks). And you can always use a VPN to increase security and peace of mind. Again, it is a low-cost investment that pays off in big ways, especially for small businesses, independent contractors, and freelancers.
If you have questions about security, amenities, services, or would like a walk-through of our innovative Tampa locations (Harbour Island and Westshore Business District), contact our team.