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What You Need to Know about Home Office Security

The home office is the environment is where many people now find themselves working from primarily or part-time. Though the trend for telework is on the rise, for the vast majority of people, this is their first time working remotely for an extended period of time. Often the work days unfold in living settings shared with family or roommates, or shared co-working spaces. Regardless of the situation, if you work in a non-private environment, it’s important to be mindful about home office security and safeguarding company data. 

Get Informed about the Security Threats related to WFH 

Without the security protections that office systems afford us – such as firewalls and blacklisted IP addresses – and increased reliance on technology, we are far more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, particularly when working from home. The reason for this is quite simple: because employees are not in the office, their computers are at home where they have less protection. Hackers know that more people are working from home and using networks that aren’t properly secured and they are actively taking advantage of the resulting opportunities. In fact, some organizations have seen 200-500% increases in malicious activity since the onset of the pandemic.  

10 Ways to Boost Security for Your Home Office 

Telework has changed the way you use your networks and devices, so many security issues will need to be addressed. 

  1. Though residential break-ins have actually decreased because of the WFH trend, and commercial theft has increased, it’s still important to buckle down on security for your home. If a laptop or phone with work information on it is stolen, this could present a serious security issue for your company and its customers. 
  2. For an extra layer of security, you should place your computer and work devices in a locked cabinet when you aren’t working on it.  
  3. Any physical files, records, and documents of importance should be kept in a fire safe to help protect them in case of a fire or other natural disaster. 
  4. Make sure that you have a strong password on your home router. Frequently people implement simple and easily guessable passwords on their wi-fi router or they may have the password feature deactivated altogether. This leaves the network accessible to people in the vicinity or even over the Internet. To protect company data and personal information, make sure you implement a strong password on your home router using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters with a minimum length of eight characters. 
  5. Consider using a secure remote desktop or virtual private network, also referred to as a VPN, to enable your work computer to connect to the corporate network securely. If your organization has a VPN that you can access while working remotely, be sure to use it exclusively for work-related activities.  
  6. Check that your computer and all devices accessing the Wi-Fi network have been kept up to date and have all the latest security updates installed. 
  7. Anytime you leave your workstation, verify that have logged out of your computer. By locking your screen and preventing others from using your work devices, you are drastically lowering the likelihood of accidental data loss or theft. 
  8. Exercise caution when considering whether to allow other people to use your equipment especially your work PC or other work devices. If it’s necessary to share devices, set up individual user accounts with separate logins and passwords. 
  9. Maintain your ‘clear desk’ policy even when working remotely. Keeping both documents and devices organized and secure should be part of your daily routine wherever you’re working.  
  10. Limit the way that you engage in conference calls that could be overheard; it’s better to take calls in a private room or noise-canceling headphones. 

This last point is especially important for those who work in the healthcare field or with patient information. HIPAA compliance requires that even phone conversations that may include patient data and protected health information be kept private while working from home. Additionally, there are some concerns that Alexa, Siri, and other voice-activated devices within the home may compromise patient privacy or company data. Voice-activated devices may or may not be listening to or recording the contents of your conference calls. To avoid this risk, simply unplug these devices while having sensitive conversations or meetings. 

Given the ongoing pandemic, many of us have had to modify our working environment and bring work into the home. This has brought along some new and unique security challenges. These practices will help protect your sensitive work information while working from home. 

Commercial Security Threats Are Currently on the Rise 

With more employees working from home and some office builds sitting vacant during the holidays or working at limited capacity during other periods, burglars have recognized this opportunity as well. Physical break-ins and theft on commercial properties have gone up in recent months. Make sure that your building is safe and secure; call GV Lock for a security assessment today. 

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