Your Home Can Be Your Work's Biggest Threat
Working from home has a lot of perks. You don’t have to wear a tie, no worries about anyone stealing your lunch out of the fridge, and the whole house is your office. But just because you can work from the comfort of your bed doesn’t mean it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Working from home opens not only your personal information up to hackers but your company’s as well. Here are some aspects of working at home that could endanger your work data.
Problem: Your Home Network
These days most people either have their internet provider set up their home Wi-Fi, or they choose a service provider, buy a router, set a password, and start Netflixing. However, company networks are a little more robust than your average off the shelf router. Most home networks have low-security settings, easy to guess passwords (or no password at all), and no one monitoring who is on the network at any given time.
The other thing that your work network does that most home networks don’t is keeping employees from going on sites that aren’t secure. While some might say their employer is just trying to keep them off of Facebook, the truth is companies have security settings to keep people from opening their network up to sites that have security issues.
Solution: VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. For example, a secure connection between your home network and your work network. A VPN can block outside sources from watching your browsing activity, keeping what you send back and forth for work kept between you and your business. A VPN can also come in handy when you travel for work or if you like to work at the local Starbucks during lunch.
Problem: Your Work Computer vs Your Home Computer
Let’s face it, the computer you use at home and the computer you use at work are two completely different machines (at least they should be). When you’re at home your spouse, roommate, children, or maybe even your parents have access to your computer. At work 99.99% of the time, you are the only one using your computer, which is how it should be. In grade school, they tell you to share your things, but when it comes to devices that hold all of your information you should be selfish, especially when it comes to devices that not only have access to your information but your company’s.
Solution: Secure Password, Separate Computers, and Anti-Virus
It’s important to keep your home and work computer as separate as possible. If you have the opportunity to take your work computer home or have a second computer at home for work – take it! If you can’t have separate computers, then first make sure you have a secure password and multiple user logins. This will help keep others from logging on to your account and deleting precious work files. Second, make sure you have good anti-virus protection and keep your system updated. Just because you don’t download dangerous files doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Keeping your machine as up to date as possible helps to keep those threats down as well. Finally, keep your files secured to the best of your ability. Using encrypted files, external hard drives, and cloud backups will help secure sensitive files on your devices.
Working from home has many advantages, and you can spend money and create a home cybersecurity system that would make even Google jealous. But chances are you won’t always work from home, and that type of setup will cost you more than it will save you. Follow this advice and be smart while online at home or at work. You should also talk to your IT specialist at work, chances are they already have safe practices for working from home in place.