10 Tips for Staying Safe Online When Working from Home

Woman working at desk

In light of the ongoing health crisis many of us are placed in the unusual position of working from home. While you may have concerns about keeping up your usual level of productivity and being able to communicate effectively with your coworkers while working in separate places there may be one issue flying under the radar, how do you stay safe online while working from home?

It’s unfortunately not a given, in many work places you have an IT team that maintains (or should!) a high level of security for your office computers and network. These same measures are not in place on your home network or on your home computer. With so many of us working from home hackers may be seeing this as an opportunity to access your company’s private data via unsecured personal computers and home networks. These 10 tips will prevent this from happening.

  1. Don’t reuse passwords. If you’re able to choose your own work passwords it’s important they’re varied, if hackers get access to one of your accounts and you use the same password for everything then they have access to all of them.
  2. Practice good password safety. It’s imperative that passwords for your work accounts follow good password safety practices. Hackers may be able to use your work accounts to access the rest of your company’s data. If you set your own password make sure it follows the rules of 16 characters in length, mixing characters and avoiding dictionary words if possible. Also destroy any written copies of your password, real life phishing exists! Use a password manager like LastPass instead.
  3. Secure your home network. It’s shocking how many home networks don’t have a password at all, or if they do it’s a single word with no mixed characters or even your router's default password. This is not a good idea! Hackers can use your network to access your home machine, and from there it may be game over. Like the tip above practice good password safety when it comes to your router’s password.
  4. Enable 2-factor authentication if it’s available to you. Many laptops these days feature security measures such as facial recognition or fingerprint readers that will help keep your device safe. Don’t forget to enable the same feature on your phone!
  5. Speaking of 2-factor authentication. You may find that your workplace uses 2-factor authentication to secure the applications you use on a daily basis to do your job, if they don’t bring it up! This will further prevent people from accessing your company data.
  6. Install updates. At work your IT team is probably installing updates for you, on your home device you’re responsible for doing so. In general, you shouldn’t be ignoring updates but while accessing your company accounts it’s even more important.
  7. Practice good online safety. The security measures enabled on your company network may prevent a total takeover in the case of someone accidentally downloading malware, this is not so at home. Don’t open attachments from senders you don’t know. Be careful which websites you visit, and always have your firewall enabled!
  8. Be careful with public networks. During this time, it might be tempting to get out and at least work outside at a café or somewhere with public Wi-Fi. However, this public Wi-Fi may leave your machine vulnerable, especially if you’re not practicing some of the safety measures above.
  9. Make sure your work is backed up. You’ll probably need some help from your IT team for this one but ensure the work you’re doing is backed up to your office servers or saved in some way. Recovering lost data from your home machine alone may be more difficult.
  10. Last but not least, use an anti-virus software. Find out which anti-virus software your company IT team recommends, or if you need a recommendation reach out to us. It’s extremely important for staying safe online.

We hope these tips help. For those not working remotely or for tips on staying safe while in public right now, we recommend referring to the CDC Website for the most up to date information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

This article was powered by Valley TechLogic, an IT provider in Atwater, CA. You can visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/valleytechlogic/ . Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/valleytechlogic.