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Best Practices to Securely Work from Home

Written by Courtney Casey

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Now that you're working from home, there are a few security best practices to follow to help make sure you and your company are protected from cyber security threats.

For example, have you thought about the security of your home network with all of your "things" connected to it?

Don't forget that working securely has as much to do with your actions as it does with your IT environment, so don't let your new work location let down your guard.

Here Are a Few Best Practices to Securely Work From Home:

#1 Update Your Devices & Use Strong Passwords

  • Update your computer’s operating system to make sure it has the latest security updates and patches.
  • Update your web browser.
  • Install or update antivirus software (this may be provided by your company). There are lots of choices. Some good options include BitDefender, Webroot, Trend Micro.
  • Update your WiFi router & make sure you’ve changed the default admin password.
  • Update Internet-connected devices – smart thermostat, doorbell camera, security system, etc.
  • Use strong passwords.

#2 Use the VPN When Necessary

  • Turn on the VPN when accessing company info – disconnect when you’re done.
  • Consider rebooting your computer after you’re done working so you don’t accidentally leave the VPN on.
  • Only do work-related activities when the VPN is on. Anything else – streaming music, watching videos, online shopping, etc. – could slow down the connection for everyone and increase your risk for cyber threats.

#3 Stay Vigilant About Potential Email Scams and Fake Websites

Hackers are taking advantage of COVID-19 and people working from home. They're banking on security not being as tight and they're hoping to use your personal device to get into your company's data.

  • Carefully review emails before clicking links or attachments. If something looks odd, don’t click – just delete it.
  • You shouldn’t have to download anything to look a map of the COVID-19 spread or pay to get the latest info.
  • If you think you’ve interacted with an email or website you shouldn’t have, call your IT department immediately. If that's us, call (800) 481-4369.

Related: Get the "Guide to Enabling Remote Workers With Technology" to learn how to maintain productivity and security when your employees need to work from home.

#4 Enable Multi-Factor Authentication When Possible

Multi-factor authentication verifies your identity more than once for logging into certain websites, apps, etc. (Ex: Entering your password, then a one-time code)

  • This may be controlled by your organization for business information. It’s a good idea to use when it’s available for personal things too for an extra layer of security protection.

#5 Be Mindful of Shared Spaces and Shared Computers

  • If you’re using a shared computer, set up a separate user account with a password for yourself so other users can’t accidentally see your business files.
  • Follow the same security best practices you would when you’re in the office.
    • Lock or log off your computer when you step away.
    • Don’t leave your password on a sticky note.
    • Keep confidentiality in mind with phone calls, virtual meetings, etc. Be mindful of who else may be able to hear you and see your screen.

#6 Keep Business Files Where They Belong

  • If you download company files to your computer to work on them, be sure to put them back where they go when you’re done (on the server, cloud file storage, SharePoint, etc. – your company will direct you for where files should go).

Need IT Guidance and Support

A crisis situation has a way of revealing IT support gaps. If your organization is located in Southern California, we can help you get an objective view of what's really going on with an IT assessment. Give us a call at 800-481-4369 to schedule a FREE IT assessment.

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