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Today’s landscape requires that more of us work from home. It’s important to use the best security practices when working from home to minimize risks and vulnerabilities. It’s not easy to adjust to new ways of doing business from a home office. It’s also difficult to create an environment that is conducive to efficiency and productivity.
It’s not until we start working at our dining room table do we realize the luxuries we had in the corporate office. The goal is to create a home working environment that is not only as productive as the corporate office but is also safe and secure. Home office environments usually don’t offer the level of internet security provided in an enterprise setting.
It’s hard to be comfortable at home if you don’t feel safe…
Photo by Victoria Heath
How to Implement Best Security Practices When Working From Home
To begin with, if your employer has formal guidelines and policies that you must follow then those must be complied with. They may be general guidelines and recommendations, or they may be more specific and mandatory requirements.
That being said, There 6 general practices that must be incorporated in a home office that allow you to Implement Best Security Practices When Working From Home. Use the following guidelines to ensure a foundationally secure home office environment:
- Secure Your Home Network — The first step to do this is to verify proper setup of your router/gateway. This may be your own equipment or a device supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is what allows your work computer to connect to the Internet. Your environment is only as secure as your Internet connection. For information on securing your home router refer to this Article.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) — This is one of those areas that makes you adjust to new technologies. Privacy should always be a priority, but it is especially important when conducting business from a home office. VPNs are simple to use. Selecting the right VPN technology is not so straight-forward. A VPN that offers end-to-end encryption is necessary to ensure privacy and confidentiality. There are many reliable and affordable VPN services available. To avoid any confusion, I have written an Article to assist you in selecting and using a VPN.
- Maintain a High Level of Vigilance Regarding Social Engineering — It’s always important not to fall for the tricks used by malicious actors to steal our sensitive and confidential information. And, while conducting official business it becomes even more important. Be aware of fake websites and email scams. Always ensure websites are secure and read all emails carefully. If you suspect the email may be from a scammer, don’t open it. Business emails should be encrypted. Know ahead of time who you can contact within your company for IT support. Rely on their expertise to assist you while working from home.
- Use Multi-factor Authentication and Ensure You Are Using Secure Passwords — Multi-factor authentication works to safeguard against attacks due to lost, stolen, or weak passwords. When it comes to secure passwords it might seem like a simple thing to do, but so many workers learn the hard way. For guidelines on creating and using strong and complex passwords read my Article Here.
- Incorporate a Mandatory Backup Schedule — Be diligent in your backup routine. A secure cloud-based backup solution is probably the best for home office operations. Backing up to a local storage device is an option but it creates another security concern. Routine backups can save you from ending up in a disastrous situation. Computers break, get infected with malware and ransomware, and can be stolen.
- Keep business and personal computing devices separated — In other words don’t use your work computer for personal use and don’t store business information on your personal computer.
By using the best security practices when working from home you can be more confident in your overall security posture. Don’t forget about physical security. Keep your home office environment secure by limiting access. Family friends don’t have any business in your home office, and it should be secured when not being used.
The Takeaway on Best Security Practices When Working From Home
There is always more that can be learned to help in the implementation of secure home office practices. Always remember even the basic IT practices are part of incorporating the best security practices when working from home.
READ MORE: Home Network Security Beyond 2021
7 Tips to Set up Your Home Office
1) Make it Your Own – Think about your personal style. Incorporate the type of décor you like. You’ll be spending a considerable amount of time there, so make it comfortable. You be more productive in a spot you like.
2) Pick a Location That Provides Privacy and Open Space – The fewer distractions there are the more productive you will be. And, an open area will eliminate the closed-in feeling and allow you to feel less stressed. Your home office space should be a dedicated and private area.
3) Make Sure You Have Good Lighting – Not just good lighting but a mixture of artificial and natural light. Decent size windows don’t just allow the light in, they also provide a view to enjoy while stretching your legs and taking a short break. A window is a great place to incorporate a standing desk.
4) Ensure That There is Storage for Files and Books – A clear and clutter-free desk will make it easier to think clearly. You can focus on the task at hand, and then move on to the next. An organized office is a productive office.
5) Maintain a Good Air Flow with a Filtration System – Working in a green environment allows better functioning of the brain. The use of indoor plants creates a fresh atmosphere. You can use a ceiling fan for circulation and a HEPA filter to clean the air.
6) Use a high-quality monitor that can adjust at the proper height – The height of your monitor should allow your eyes to line up about a third of the way down the screen when sitting straight and looking level.
7) Invest in a Good Chair – Spend as much as $300 to $600 to get the right chair. You’ll be spending a lot of time in it. Shop for a chair with wheels and an adjustable height mechanism. Adjustable armrests and lumbar support for the lower back are important.
By incorporating these basic ideas and using the best security practices when working from home you can be comfortable, productive, and safe.
Featured Image: Photo by Austin Distel