Working from home is nothing new, but with increased safety concerns due to the pandemic, remote workers are becoming the new normal. In fact, according to remote work statistics, 62% of Americans are working from home as of 2021. While most of these home-based workers agree there are many advantages to working from a home office, there can be some major challenges to deal with. For instance, many home offices are woefully ill-equipped when it comes to security. If you work from home, are you implementing the best security practices? Read on about how you can protect your home office from security threats so you can work safely and with peace of mind.
Get Smart About Your Passwords
This might seem like a no-brainer, but with the rise in hacking and cyber attacks, having foolproof passwords is important now more than ever. Keep your laptop, desktop, and work programs safe from hacks by changing your passwords often. And when you create new passwords, make them hard to crack. The best passwords contain at least one uppercase letter, a number, and one symbol character such as a hashtag or dollar sign. Don’t reuse old passwords either. While keeping up with complex passwords might be a nuisance, it really is the best security practice when working from home.
Get Serious About Protecting Your Email
Working from home could potentially mean your personal emails are mixed in with business correspondence. In either case, you should be proactive about protecting your electronic communications. You can do this by doing a full setup DMARC for Office 365. DMARC stands for domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance. It’s used to verify the authenticity of emails sent from your work domain and helps protect against spoofing, spamming and cyber attacks. Additionally, be wary of fishy emails with attachments. Don’t click on any attachments or perform any downloads from emails that you don’t trust because it could lead to a flood of spam or an invitation to expose your computer to viruses.
Get Anti Virus Protection
While the standard antivirus that comes with your laptop or computer is fine, it provides only the basic level of protection. If you are working from home you may need an extra level of security. Do some research on popular and effective antivirus software programs such as Norton or McAfee. You may also look into web-based or cloud-based antivirus services which many home workers prefer because they may perform faster than software installed on your computer.
Get Savvy About Wi-Fi
When you work from home, the scene can get stagnant and boring. It might be tempting to take your laptop to your favorite café and hammer out some work reports over a cup of coffee. If you do, avoid using public Wi-Fi. This can pose a big threat because hackers are notorious for using public Wi-Fi spots to hack into computers. Instead, use your cell phone as a mobile hotspot and use the internet with your cellular data. This keeps your connection safe from cyber attacks.
Get a VPN
Additionally, think about getting a VPN, which stands for virtual private network. This is a tool that gives you anonymity and privacy online. It works similarly to a firewall in that it helps home-based workers stay safe from cybercriminals and hackers. A VPN makes your activity on the internet unreadable to cyber attackers because it encrypts your data. In many cases, employers may provide remote workers with VPNs to ensure the safety of their data and employees working online.
Get Vigilant About Backups
We cannot stress how crucial regular backups are, especially if you are working from home. There’s nothing worse than spending weeks on a work project only to have it vanish in thin air during a computer crash. Doing regular backups is the number one security practice, yet too often it’s overlooked.
Don’t be a victim of losing your vital work data. Ideally, you should do a computer backup every day. At the very least, backup once a week. Go the extra mile and invest in an external backup device. These come in many different forms, and today’s devices are big enough to store your entire computer database. Also, consider storing your data on a portable backup device, and keeping it off-site. This might seem like overkill, but it can give you peace of mind in case your home office is hit with a natural disaster or fire.
The Last Word on Working Securely From Home
If you work from home, your environment might be safe and secure. However, that doesn’t mean your computer or work data is free from threat. If you follow these best security practices when working from home, you can ensure your work information is safe, and you can breathe easier knowing your data is protected.