The US workforce and individual corporations are embracing the remote workforce culture. While some adopted it because of the global COVID pandemic, many have come to prefer it. Now, companies and individuals are finding ways to make their telecommute a permanent option. Creating a working environment that cultivates success while securing your home office isn’t as simple as sticking a desk and chair in an empty room.
Here are a few tips for securing your home office:
Tip 1: Install Cybersecurity Software
Most threats to your home office come from outside. Therefore, you need cybersecurity software. This means you need anti-virus software, anti-malware software, software that checks for ransomware, etc. You can’t just install the software and forget it. Indeed, you need to actually use it and update it, as well. By installing and using cybersecurity software, you’re helping to protect your company and clients by ensuring that, while in your possession, data is safe and secure. Many companies provide devices—smartphones, laptops, etc.—for their remote workforce. And, they often include this security on these devices. If you’re using your own devices, be sure to lock these down.
Tip 2: Password Protect Your Devices and Accounts
Set a password to access any of your devices, including your smartphone and computer. Password protections are important because they help in ensuring that all data is kept secure. For example, you can set your screensaver to come on after a certain amount of time, where a password has to be entered to re-access the device. For laptops, this screensaver can be activated each time you shut the lid, further decreasing unauthorized access.
Password strength is crucial for staying safe while working from home. Hackers have tools that automate the process of finding the correct password. For example, if you have a four-digit passcode, there are only 10,000 possible combinations. An experienced hacker can find the right combination in seconds. Use long passwords, 8 to 20 characters, including symbols, digits, and characters.
Easy to remember passwords, like your pet’s name or anniversary are easy to hack. Instead, try a passphrase. A passphrase is longer and combines text, symbols, and digits to create an easier to remember and harder to crack password. For example, instead of using your dog’s name, try i7ovemydog!! for extra security. A password manager like LastPass allows you to generate strong passwords for each individual website and service while providing a convenient and secure place to store these. And, never store your passphrase or password in your smartphone or on a sticky note in your home office.
And, implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) when it’s available. MFA requires a second form of identification, such as a code sent to your smartphone. The code is entered into the application before access is granted. Hackers may guess your password, but they won’t have access to your phone.
Tip 3: Secure Your Storage
Protect your storage. This doesn’t just mean your USB sticks and external hard drives, although these should be protected as well. If you have paper records, such as those kept in file cabinets, they need to be kept under lock and key. You also will want a shredder for paper records you no longer need. When disposing of shredded paper, be sure to divide it across multiple trash days or locations to make it safer and less likely to be linked to you. This can help you keep sensitive data secure. Another popular option is to shred sensitive paper, then add water to the paper. This will help disintegrate the paper, making it unreadable.
For electronic storage, password protections are beneficial because they reduce the likelihood of unauthorized access. Be sure to protect all electronic storage devices.
Tip 4: Encrypt Your Data
Encrypt any data relating to your job. This means all data coming in from your company/clients and all data going out. You can do this pretty simply on your own by sharing a password for encrypted data, given over the phone. By encrypting data, you’re protecting both yourself and your company/clients, especially if you work in industries frequently dealing with sensitive information.
With the increase of remote working, securing your home office has never been more important. And, if you’re considering a new and exciting career direction, the field of cybersecurity is exciting and in-demand. Learn more about Cybersecurity Training powered by Woz U.