Security sure looks different when you go from the corporate office to home. No showing a badge to get in, nosy coworkers sneaking glances at your screen, or strangers who might make off with your things. But if you think the worst security breach that can happen is Mittens tap dancing on your keyboard, you’d be wrong.
Working from home is no excuse to let your guard down—digital or otherwise. See how you stack up when it comes to securing your home office with these handy tips.
1 – Avoid common scams (and the really clever ones too)
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and scammers. We know what you’re thinking—you’re far too clever to fall for a scam. We believe you! But in a workplace where every communication is digital, a falsified email, text, or chat can sneak past your defenses.
Scammers constantly evolve their tricks. Even classics like “your boss texts you to buy a paycheck’s worth of gift cards” can seem legit when your communication method has changed from shouting across the room to texting.
Stay informed of current scams with a reputable source like USA.gov’s Common Scams and Frauds. Although it’s user-curated, Reddit’s r/scams subreddit is enlightening—you can learn about new scams in real time as victims post. As we learned from G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle.
2 – Make your home your fortress
You’re home—what’s the worst that could happen? Honestly, you don’t want to find out. Don’t get complacent with security standards just because you work in comfy pants.
- – Secure your home network. The FTC has some great advice on how to do this. At the very least, make sure your router and network are password protected—and not with the passwords that came out of the box.
- – Comply with your company’s security standards, even if IT isn’t checking up on you from afar.
- – Use strong two-factor authentication and consider a hardware authentication device like YubiKey. (And store said key in a different location than your computer).
- – Have strong passwords for everything, and consider changing them every 30 days.
- – Regularly install updates to software and operating systems. Set a realistic weekly update time on your machine and don’t defer the update.
- – Use a sliding webcam cover. If cyber criminals hack your webcam, they see nothing. Take that, bad guys.
- – Beware the overshare. Use a digital Zoom background or carefully curate what your coworkers can see during a huddle. (This goes for both sensitive assets and dirty desks littered with old coffee cups and used tissues).
- – Keep prying eyes and pesky hands (or paws) off your data by logging out of your workstation at the end of the day.
- – Enable your device’s Find My Computer, full disk encryption, and the ability to perform remote wipes. Prepare for the possibility of burglary or theft, however unlikely it may seem.
3 – Be cautious when you’re working in public
When we say you can use Parsec work from anywhere, we mean it. But the flexibility to work remotely might put you in some questionable situations.
- – If you are using a public or untrusted network, ensure that you are using a Point to Point VPN to tunnel all of your traffic to and from the office.
- – Seriously, don’t work on a public network. But if you absolutely must, check out the FTC’s tips on staying safe while using a public wifi network beforehand.
- – Don’t handle confidential assets or sensitive information if others can see you working—even if you have a tinted privacy screen. This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be tempting to WFCCIP (Work From Chic Café In Paris).
- – Never leave devices in your car or unattended in public. Not for a quick nip into the shop or a dash to the bathroom (even if you ask someone to watch it). They will not be there when you return.
- – Separate work and play. It’s tempting to use your work devices when you’re taking a break, but non-work activity can open the door to security threats or questionable websites.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because you’re working from your happy place. You’re likely connected to a literal worldwide web, and you might find out the hard way that some spiders are venomous.