For various reasons, more and more people are working from home. Some are working remotely and others have decided to ditch the corporate world and start a home-based business. Regardless of the reason for switching to a home office, one factor remains constant: private information needs to remain secure. The repercussions that arise from not doing so can be quite severe. Taking the following precautions will help those who work from home to make certain their private information is protected.
Physically Secure the Home Office
Private information can be easily be stolen by an intruder or even destroyed by a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado. Those who live in areas that are prone to natural disasters should take extra precautions to assure their information is safe. Install heavy-duty storm shutters or other area-appropriate safeguards. The home should have an up-to-date and properly functioning security system to ward against intruders. If possible, add an additional security system to the office and store confidential documents or portable devices in a fireproof lock box for added security.
The office also needs to be secured from children, family members and visitors. It is all too common for a small child or visitor to wander into an office and inadvertently delete or share information. Family members and visitors should not have access to confidential organizational information at any time. A lock on the door can help safeguard information from these housemates. This is not to say family and friends are malicious attackers, but they may unknowingly expose corporate information if it is not properly stored.
Take Computer Security Precautions
Home office computers need the same type of security that traditional offices have. It is not enough to simply hook a computer up to a router and assume the network is safe. It is essential to have a secure network so no one can access information. If the home office requires more than one computer, it is a good idea to include a firewall to protect them from viruses and other bugs. It is important to not forget or ignore Wi-Fi security as well. It is easier than one might think for a neighbor to log into a network. So, it is vital that the Wi-Fi is password protected at all times.
Separate the Home Office from Home Life
It can be easy to forget that even though an office is in a home that it is still a place of work. Many industries have strict rules regarding using a home network for business related work and anyone who violates these rules can be subject to penalties. Further, some types of work require PCI compliance or are bound by HIPPA laws. In instances such as these, home networks do not provide an adequate amount of security for this sensitive information. Please check your security policies and speak to your security team prior to bringing work home.
Back-Up Your Data
Backing up data always has been and always will be an important step in keeping data protected. Fortunately, backing up data is now easier than it has ever been, and there are a multitude of options to choose from. If you choose to use any sort of hardware, be sure to store it in a locked space.
Have a Layered Security System
A layered security system is one of the best practices a home office worker can take for keeping information secure. A layered system can help against hackers getting inside information as well as protects key access points of a network. An added benefit of having a layered security system is that in the event one layer becomes penetrated or develops a weakness; there are several other layers that are still intact and working to protect the information.
Use Anti-virus Software
Anti-virus software should be up-to-date, properly configured, and regularly updated. Ask your organization’s security team what software they require or recommend.
Performing security updates on all computers used in a home office is essential.
Another way to keep information secure is to update applications with security patches. Keeping applications updated in this matter will help to assure everything is up-to-date and working properly.
Although there are many steps to take to keep information secure in the home office environment, the process isn’t difficult. It is important to put the procedures into practice and be vigilant about keeping everything updated. Once the process is in place, everything will become second nature and it will seemingly take care of itself.
For more information about keeping the information in a home office secure, contact us at Global Learning Systems. We have a best practice module that focuses on working securely form home, and this can be delivered to your employees who work remotely.