Cyber Security for Online Trainers and Coaches Who Work from Home
Amidst the need for social distancing and the uncertainty about the future of the fitness industry, many fitness professionals are transitioning to virtual workouts and online coaching via video calls. If you’re super passionate about changing lives, it is much easier to reach people online.
Unfortunately, cyber threats are not on a pause. In fact, there is a clear spike in phishing and other cybercrime activity now that many people are working from home.
At a traditional workplace typically somebody else takes care of the cybersecurity measures. But when you are a self-employed trainer or coach and working from home, you have to pay attention to it more yourself.
To make working from home more secure for you, we have compiled a list of our tips for safe remote working.
Use Antivirus Software
There’s no way around it, you just need to have it to be safe. Antivirus software is important to have on your personal computer, but its importance is even bigger if you are using your own computer for working. Prevent malware from compromising your work and your employer’s systems.
Encrypt Your Devices
Encryption plays an important part in reducing the security risk of lost or stolen devices, as it stops strangers from accessing the contents of your device without the proper authentication – password, PIN, or biometrics. If your entity has not already set up encryption for your devices, you should enable it soon as possible.
Encryption is the process of encoding information so only authorized parties can access it. Encryption does not prevent interference, But it does deny intelligible content to the interceptor.
Instructions to turn on encryption on your device:
- Windows: BitLocker.
- macOS: FileVault.
- Linux: dm-crypt or similar.
- Android: Enabled by default since Android v6.
- iOS: Enabled by default since iOS v8.
Make Sure your Operating System and Programs are Up to Date
Programs and operating systems are updated regularly to prevent criminals from exploiting their weaknesses. Make sure your operating system is running the latest version. Enable automatic updates to make sure your systems are safe.
- Windows: Check Windows lifecycle fact sheet
- macOS: Apple has no official policy for macOS. According to apple inc. Apple consistently supports the last three versions of macOS. If Apple releases a new version of macOS each year, each release of macOS should be supported for roughly three years.
- Linux: Current active distributions are well supported.
- Android: Security updates target current and last two major versions. Check with your manufacturer/carrier is sending the security patches to your device. You can read more about Android security here.
- iOS: Like macOS, Apple has no official policy for iOS but security updates generally target the most recent major version and the three prior.
Secure Your Home Network
Start with your router. Turn on encryption (WPA2 or WPA3). Encryption scrambles information sent over your network so outsiders can’t read it. WPA2 and WPA3 are the most up-to-date encryption standards to protect information sent over a wireless network.
No WPA3 or WPA2 options on your router? Try updating your router software, then check again to see if WPA2 or WPA3 are available. If not, consider replacing your router.
Maintain Your Privacy with a VPN
With VPN your important data can’t be accessed by anyone you don’t want to. Use it always when you are connecting to public WiFi networks.
A VPN (virtual private network) extends a private network within a public network, allowing users to send and receive data through shared/public networks just like you are directly connected to the private network. This is achieved by establishing a secure and encrypted connection to the network over the internet and next, they route your traffic through it.
A VPN keeps you secure on public hotspots and remote access to secure computing assets will be allowed.
When it comes to certain cyber-attacks, like MITM attacks, VPNs can reduce the risk. A VPN makes it difficult to snoop on traffic and intercept activities. It also prevents websites from finding your real location or using internet providers from monitoring your activity.
Use Strong PIN/Passwords on Your devices
Use passwords on all your devices and apps. Make sure the passwords are long, strong and unique: at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols and capital and lowercase letters. Make sure your password avoids anything that’s easy to try and guess, such as repeating numbers (e.g. 11111), sequences (e.g. 123456), or common passwords. (e.g yourname@123)
Also, avoid using information or keywords or phrases that are related to you including information publicly available about yourself, such as your date of birth, license plate, address, etc. A good pin/password should look random to anyone that is not you.
Two-factor authentication (2FA), sometimes referred to as two-step verification or dual-factor authentication, is a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves. This process is done to better protect both the user’s credentials and the resources the user can access. That’s where access to Facebook or Twitter or your online bank—anything that supports it, really—requires not just a password but also a special code. Not all two-factor is created equal, however. For better protection, you’re going to want an authenticator app.
Dispose of Sensitive Data Securely
Don’t just throw it in the trash or recycling bin. Shred-it. Paperwork you no longer need can be a treasure to identity thieves if it includes personal information about yourself or your clients.
Avoid Oversharing Your Screen
During online training sessions or meetings, be cautious when sharing your screen. If possible, don’t leave any windows open that you don’t want to share. Accidents do happen, and sometimes you might share something that you didn’t mean to. While it can be awkward, it’s also a privacy issue. You might be oversharing content that is not meant to be viewed by your clients.
Beware Covid-19 related scams
Internet criminals have widely exploited Covid-19 outbreaks. If you get emails with any suspicious links or attachments related to Covid-19, don’t open them. Better safe than sorry. Other phishing emails can be encountered as well.
Don’t Share Personal Information in Messages or Social Media
Don’t share any personal information on messages or emails. Ensure that the person who asked really did so before sending important personal information.
It’s also a risk to share pictures of your desk or working station on social media. You might accidentally share important information while you do it. The same goes for using your webcam. With webcams, you might also accidentally share too much about your home or your family members.
Create a Comfortable and Safe Working Space
Some homes do not have a dedicated library or a room that can be set aside specifically for use as an office. This does not mean that you cannot have a home office. It only means that some creativity is needed.
A kitchen table might not be the best place because the kitchen surfaces are also used for food preparation. Having to move your desk so that meals can be prepared is an expensive and potentially expensive interruption.
Identify a space that is not part of commonly used living areas. One with minimum distraction. It needs to be a space that you can set aside exclusively for use as an office. It needs to be a space that has enough room for you to work. If you have to walk in and out of your office several times a day, then it might not be the best place for it.
How to Start an Online Personal Training or Coaching Career
As you may know, we are giving away the complete comprehensive training for online coaching and training with the purchase of a certification from NESTA and the Spencer Institute. This training has sold for as much as $2,000, but we’re giving it to you free.
Check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
Is your recertification coming up? Learn more about earning your CEU credits. You can find the full list of CEU courses here.
If you are ready to start your online personal training or coaching business, don’t forget to learn more about our online coaching course.
One of the most popular and fastest ways to get started working with clients while you travel is to coach/train online. You will want to learn more about GymGo. GymGo lets you work with clients and make money in different ways: online, live-streaming virtual training & on-demand training. Use our link to get yourself a free 14-day trial >>> http://www.gymgo.com/nesta
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.