Is your home office safe and secure?

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As we all know, working from home is something many of us have got on board with over the last couple of years. The advances of technology now offer us the capabilities to thoroughly get work done as though you were in your office at work.

Although, with you being in your own home, it is easy to fall into a routine of leaving vital information out in the open because of the ‘unlikeliness’ of any data breaches. Yes, working from home may have a huge amount of benefits in terms of lifestyle, but you’re still dealing with potentially sensitive data and real security requirements. Having the freedom to define your own schedule and working environment doesn’t mean you can afford to let security standards slide.

Therefore, with it being ‘Home Office Safety and Security Week’, we thought it was only right to offer some tips on how to ensure your home office is safe and secure for you to work in.

1. Start shredding

Even though the majority of us work digitally on a daily basis, there will always be a chance you have a good amount of paperwork hoarded on your desk or stored in lever arch files around the room. Having loose papers and documents surrounding your home office is straight away risking possible data breaches from identity thieves, as these papers could contain sensitive and confidential information regarding your company, clients, suppliers etc.

Unfortunately, getting rid of loose papers is not as easy as deleting a file on your computer, so if you haven’t already, it is advised to invest in a shredder. If you get yourself into the habit of regularly clearing out your files and disposing of it securely, you won’t have to worry about data thieves having physical copies of your sensitive information.

2. Protect your devices against viruses

Laptops, phones and even tablets will be used for work purposes by all of us on a day to day basis, but that doesn’t necessarily make your devices completely safe, whether you’re at home or at your work premises.

In most circumstances, the laptop or computer you are working on will have been set up with anti-virus software on the day of purchase, although this isn’t the case for every piece of technology. It might be an idea to check all your devices on a regular basis for any virus detections or if there is a chance the software will need upgrading anytime soon.

Remember even major tech companies have hit some major glitches in the past when it comes to security, so you can’t always trust that your devices are as safe as they seem.

3. Invest in a fireproof safe

When it comes to the end of a working day, whether you are working at home or at your work premises, it is easy to forget to securely put away important documents, flash drives, hard drives and even passwords. The best solution for storing these kind of devices is to put them in a fireproof safe, where only you and trusted sources have the key to access what is stored inside.

Using a safe not only keeps all of your devices in one place, it also protects them from data thieves or getting into the hands of the wrong person. In a household, it is easy to confuse hard drives and flash drives, and this could mean confidential data is at risk of getting lost or broken if it is not correctly labelled and stored where you have control.

Investing in a safe may not seem like a ‘must-have’ purchase, but it’s always better to play it safe than having to experience a tragedy and have all your data lost.

4. Keep your computer password protected

This may be a logical tip for keeping your devices protected, but this goes further than just your typical password to log on to your device. Keeping sensitive data in files on your computer is just as risky as writing them down and leaving the note on your desk. What is advised is to keep the highly sensitive data in a digital file that can only be accessed with yet another password. Changing your passwords every month or so is also ideal, just to be on the safe side.

When it comes to passwords being entered to access online sites, you should be even more cautious. Internet apps such as Google Chrome have a feature that can save your passwords after the first time they are entered. As much as this is handy for your personal information, the feature can be risky for work related websites that hold all of your sensitive information.

5. Keep work and personal devices separate

As much of a hassle as it is to have two of everything, keeping your work and personal devices separate is key to withholding sensitive work-related data. It may be difficult to use a separate phone for all of your business calls, but you should definitely consider keeping all other work and personal devices separate, such as your laptop, PC or tablet.

It’s also important to keep family and friends from using your home office, especially without your presence. Lending a friend your laptop for a few hours may not seem like a big deal at the time, but you never know what private files might be accessed or if a virus may be picked up during the short period of time of them having your device.