7 security tips for the home office

Working from home has become more or less a norm during the last years. At the same time the risk of not maintaining your security has increased. Cyber criminals can expose the weaknesses that arise. Yet many organizations lack experience in supporting so many employees working from home at the same time. While having your office hours at home might be temporary, it is still important to remember that the company rules on the use of IT tools still apply. In this article, we present seven tips on how to best support your workplace in this situation!

1. Be aware of your surroundings

First and foremost, you should pay attention to where you are sitting. Some might need to shield themselves from by-passers on the street or your next-door neighbour. If there are several people in your household currently working from home, make sure that you can’t see each other’s screen and that you are not visible in the background of a video meeting.

2. Use secure passwords

Furthermore, it is important to have a secure password. You might want to use a password manager for this. A good tip is to turn on multi-factor authorization whenever possible. Remember to not reuse your company’s login details.

3. Store data securely

None of your passwords should be visible to others. Believe it or not, cases of passwords written on yellow post-it notes still happen. The same goes for documents with customer data – they should not be visible or available.

4. Be aware of what you share

A trend these days has been to post a picture of what your “home office” looks like. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so, but it is extremely important to pay attention to what is visible in such images. There is a lot of information you can compile based on an e-mail subject field and sender, which can be used against you or your company. Therefore, you should be very aware of what is visible on your screen and your desk when you take a picture.

5. Use a secure service for communication

When communicating with your colleagues, partners, customers, and vendors, it is important to be aware of what information you share through which channels. Use communication channels that protect your company’s information (your IT department knows which). For example, Facebook Messenger is not encrypted by default, so this is a bad choice for sharing information you do not want others to see.

6. Be aware of phishing

You also need to be aware of what is being shared with you. Do not take for granted that all emails you receive are from the sender you think. Obtain information from sources you trust, in the usual way.

7. Update the software regularly

Lastly, it is important to make sure the software on your computer is up to date. The company you work for most likely provides several layers of protection, but these are not necessarily transferred to the home office. A firewall is important to have, especially now that your partner, your children, or others you live with work on the same network. It is not easy to know the level of security on other people’s equipment, do not trust that those you share the network with have a secure setup. If you have not yet encrypted your WiFi, this is a good measure to start with.