The home office as developed for online remote work is a more recent development, and yet it is rapidly gaining in popularity. About 70 percent of professionals work from home at least one day each week, and that trend is only going to grow as technology allows us to perform more tasks away from the office.
Yet that trend does bring with it a few risks, especially for certain types of professionals that might have sensitive data or equipment at home as a result of remote work. This may require that you secure your home office against intrusions both physical and digital. Yet how does one do that? Keep on reading below to find out:
How to Protect Your Home Office Online
Your virtual workspace is just as, if not more, important than your physical one. This means your home office computer, whether a laptop or a full desk station, needs protection. You will want to do the following:
Install Security Software: We sincerely hope that you already have security software on your computer, either bought on your own, as something given to you by your internet service provider, or as part of a greater security package from your place of work. Most free software options won’t make the cut, your home office deserves something more dedicated. If your job requires stricter security software, make sure you have it and that it stays up to date.
Install Updates Immediately: While the thought of installing updates isn’t exactly a fun one, most important updates for your operating system or major programs are security related, patching holes recently discovered (and actively used) by hackers. Your home office computer should be fully updated at all times if possible, in order to reduce risk.
Use a Password Manager: There are online password managers you can use to create very complex passwords which you don’t have to remember (you will likely only need to remember one master password). You will likely also want to get it for your phone and other devices in order to uniformly secure your accounts and for the simple sake of convenience.
Secure Your Router: Make sure that the internet provider you use has security options available and that it takes your concerns seriously so that your home office doesn’t become vulnerable to hackers. Use a strong password for your network, and don’t share it easily (consider setting up a secondary network for other users). You don’t want people stealing information you send and receive online over your network.
Don’t Allow Others to Use Your Work Station: Loved ones at home might mean well, but they often might not understand the online risks they take or the importance of your office’s security. Let others use their own devices and keep your devices restricted to your use.
Protecting Your Documents and Files
While keeping the hackers away is important, you also want to make sure that nothing happens to your files in general. You also likely have important physical documents in your office as well. Take the following steps to make sure nothing happens:
Get a Safe and Use it: A fireproof and well-bolted safe can be an excellent addition to your office. Store the most important equipment (and a flash drive or external hard drive filled with files you want to keep safe) in there. If you can keep the safe out of sight, that’s even better.
Use Online Cloud Storage: Online storage for your files can be a great option if you want to make hard drive damage a non-concern. While cloud storage is often putting security into someone else’s hands, some services are much safer than others, with the best having never had an issue.
Ways to Secure Your Office Physically
Lock Your Office Cabinets: If you have cabinets or other storage furniture in your office that hold sensitive documents, lock them. If they don’t lock, then put the items of note in a safe or consider investing in cabinets that do lock. It is unlikely, but it will help should a break-in occur.
Install an Alarm System: What exactly you should install will vary on your needs, home, and region, but an alarm system is probably your best general defense against intrusion if you think that might be a threat to consider. Change the codes regularly and keep it in good use.
Consider Insurance: While this is more of an after the fact measure, insuring your equipment (either separately or through your homeowner’s insurance) if it is expensive can help take some of the bite off of a bad event. It usually isn’t too expensive for the piece of mind you get.
There is no single method to secure your home office reliably; you will need to take a series of measures to fend off potential threats at every point of entry. Once taken, however, you will be able to rest more easily knowing that you have taken the steps required to work securely from home, and that is indeed worth a great deal of trouble.
How do you secure your home office? How many of the above measures do you already employ? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.
Bio: Kevin Conner is the founder and CEO of Vast Bridges, a customer acquisition and lead generation company in the home services arena. Since 2011 more than 10M consumers and businesses have used Vast Bridges’ web properties to search for Internet and TV service. His strengths lie in creating a strategic vision and leading a team to successfully execute that vision.