More than ever, people are working from home. There are difficulties in this. On one hand, you can continue being productive – and in the process continue to keep the lights on. On the other, you are neck-deep in reports, excels, and spreadsheets while in the middle of your home, the one place where you could once relax. To some this is old news, many people have been working from home for the longest time. Whether you are an at-home office veteran or a newcomer to the in-house crew, one very important thing stays the same. Network and data security are paramount to success and safety for the at-home office worker.
We would like to spend a few minutes today suggesting 5 tips in no particular order to help you improve your home office security. Unfortunately, the home office is one of the most vulnerable. If you run a small business or are processing sensitive data from home, chances are you are not as well equipped to deal with malicious forces that could steal and abuse it. Read on for ways to stack the odds in your favor.
- Use strong, different passwords for everything
This one seems obvious. But in 2018, the Global Password Security Report found that 50% of workstation users shared passwords between work and home accounts. More worrisome, in 2019 Google conducted an online survey that concluded up to 65% of people were using the same password among all their accounts. We recommend you use a different and powerful password for each and every login – use numbers, letters, and symbols where appropriate to minimize your risk. Change them often. And please, don’t use your birthday!
- Get off Wi-Fi when you can
Having an up to date, hi-speed internet setup is great. But if your setup is or can be hard-wired via Ethernet cable directly to your internet source, then you have a much safer option available to you when working with sensitive information. While hackers can still get to you through these wires, it is much more difficult to do so than to go through Wi-Fi. Making yourself a harder target when handling important data is never a bad idea.
- Update your Anti-Virus
This one is a no-brainer as well. Infamous for bombarding us with restart notifications and popups showing scanning progress, most anti-virus software ends up being somewhat bothersome and then sadly, ignored. We get it. We love the convenience too. If your current malware software isn’t as up to date as it should be, we recommend Total Defense Internet Security. Check it out. These programs watch your back 24/7 from the background and bar you from exposing yourself to malicious sites. Total Defense even comes with cloud-based Data backup. More on that next…
- Back up/protect your data and hardware
It used to be that you bought a flash drive and put all your mp3’s and family photos on it in the event that something went south with your computer. That was years ago. While we still carry fast, high capacity flash drives and hard drives there are other options as well now. Cloud-based backups digitally store your data in a different location from your machine, for upload or download later. We still strongly recommend backing your files up on a thumb drive, but in the event, you lose that thumb drive you’re still covered by your cloud storage. While you’re at it, no computer set-up should be without a surge protector.
- Be wary of unfamiliar links, email, and texts
Last but far from least is this extremely important tip. Often, all a hacker needs to invade is a single accidental or misinformed click on your end to gain access to your network. Remaining vigilant is the only way to circumvent this. If something looks off then it just might be. Don’t chance it. This goes for phones and tablets too. Just delete it!BrandsMart USA wants you to make the most of your work at home. We hope you stay safe in all the ways a person can, especially digitally. Keep the basics in mind: create backups, maintain your protective software, and be smart about what you click. Good habits will keep things moving smoothly for you.