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Securing Your Devices While
Working From Home: 7 Pro Tips

See also: Working From Home

If you are working from home, you are likely enjoying the newfound freedom this style of work brings. However, there are also new challenges that you must face. Besides figuring out how to keep your home life and work life separate, you must figure out how to keep your personal computer use and your work computer use separate.

It can be a challenge to learn new software for videoconferencing and connecting remotely to your organization’s server. As you are going through getting your work from home system set up, security should be foremost on your mind. The following are seven security tips that can help you protect your devices from cyber-attacks.

Home worker on a Zoom call.

1. Keep Your Device Secure with Strong Passwords

One characteristic of a strong password is including at least eight characters. The longer your password is, the harder it will be for nefarious individuals to break.

Your password should be a mixture of characters. It should be comprised of uppercase characters, lowercase characters, numbers, and at least one special character.

A strong password should be difficult for others to guess but something that you can remember. If you need to write your password down, it is not strong. Anyone who finds what you wrote down will be able to gain access to your device.

Some experts recommend creating passwords that are phrases that mean something to you but would mean nothing to others. For example, “T1m&istHe1r&1nWichW&brn” is an adjusted form of the saying, “Time is the fire in which we burn.” Some letters have been capitalized, others have been replaced with numbers, and others have been replaced with special symbols. It would mean something to you but would be very hard for a random individual to guess.

2. Use a VPN

VPN on a mobile device

There are several steps that you can take to keep your network secure. One of the best steps is to use a secure VPN. A secure VPN for Windows is not free. In fact, free VPNs can make your device less secure. You want a quality VPN that has an excellent reputation for keeping online activity private from hackers and ISPs. Your VPN should not keep logs and should come with a variety of security features, such as a kill switch and full disk encryption. Before the purchase, make sure that the VPN provider is compatible with different operating systems, such as VPN for Windows, Mac, etc.

3. Keep Your Laptop Safe

You could work to keep your network safe, but if you don’t secure your laptop, someone could gain access to your personal and work information. We have already discussed the importance of having a strong password. This also applies to your laptop.

It is also recommended that you have a password-protected screensaver. This way, if you leave your laptop unattended for a couple of minutes, people who walk by can't see what you are doing.

Another way to protect your laptop is to encrypt your hard drive. A password may not be enough to protect the sensitive information on your computer. If a hacker could steal your laptop, they have all the time in the world. They can remove your hard drive and then read the files directly from it.

You can prevent this by encrypting your laptop hard drive. If you want to add another layer of protection, you can include a second factor to your disk encryption.

4. Keep Sensitive Files Securely Stored

There may be a time when you will need to transfer confidential information from your office to your home. You might do this using a USB or another storage device.

If possible, the storage device should be password-protected. You should keep the storage device locked away in a safe place in your home. You could consider purchasing a safe or choosing a secret hiding place that thieves would not consider looking if they broke into your home with the goal of accessing your work-related information.

5. Use Your Work Device Only for Work

You should make a clear distinction between the devices you use for work and the devices you use for personal matters. Your personal computer is going to have several non-essential applications installed on it. These make your life enjoyable, but they increase the risk of your device becoming infected by malware or other dangerous programs.

Close-up of male hands typing on a laptop.

Your work computer is likely equipped with security programs, including a VPN, designed to keep your device and the information on it safe. Your work computer likely has the documents and programs that you need to complete your job. Using your work computer for work allows you to extend the cyber security of your organization to your home.

Working from home means that there’s a chance that family members may want to use your work computer. Your work computer may have better features or be more power than your personal computer. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your work device is always safe, and this means limiting who can access the device.

6. Stay Healthy

This might not seem like it’s connected to cyber security, but it is. Working from home is a disruption in your routine. Coupling that with the stress and worry caused by the coronavirus pandemic and economic challenges means that it’s easier for you to get sick. If you’re sick and under stress, you might find it difficult to concentrate. Distraction leads to errors, including cyber security mistakes.

Therefore, it’s important for you to look after yourself. Get a good night's sleep. Establish routines. Stay in contact with friends and colleagues. And schedule work breaks throughout the day. If you are able to relieve some pressure and anxiety from yourself, you will be more productive, make fewer mistakes, and be more alert to potential cyber security risks.

7. Keep Your Home Network Secure

This starts with keeping your router secure. Do this by turning on encryption. WPA2 and WPA3 are the most up-to-date types of encryption.

When you enable encryption on your router, you prevent outsiders from being able to read information transmitted to and from your router. If these encryption options are not available, see if you can update your router’s software. If this is not an option, it would be worth investing in a new router.

Working from home has created several benefits and unique challenges. By following the above-mentioned steps, you can keep your devices secure while working from home.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis

The Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis

Based on our popular management and analysis content the Skills You Need Guide to Business Strategy and Analysis is a straightforward and practical guide to business analysis.

This eBook is designed to give you the skills to help you understand your business, your market and your competitors.

It will help you understand why business analysis is important for strategy—and then enable you to use analytical tools effectively to position your business.

About the Author

Kate Noether is a PR Specialist, SEO expert and all-round tech enthusiast. Apart from that she enjoys biking on weekends and spending time in nature.