14 tips for staying secure at the home office

The cyber threat landscape is transforming and we need to stay alert and focused to not become victims of fraudulent attempts and scams–especially now that many of us are working from home. But how do we keep our devices and Internet connection secure from cybercrime when working remotely?

14 tips for staying secure at the home office

How is the security at your home? Have you made any updates, changes, or other security-related considerations as a result of the new normal, and the home office? 

“Security is everyone’s responsibility–and this applies to both working from the office and from home. Our employees’ contribution to this will be to make sure their computers are updated according to the requirements – and to read up on the information we provide them on security matters.” – Espen Håkonsen, CIO in Visma.

As an employee, it might be challenging to know how you can ensure cybersecurity when it comes to the devices you are using, your password management, and your internet connection. 

So, how can you improve your security at home?

How to stay secure when working from home

There are several ways to protect yourself from cybercrime when working from home. Here are some tips for how to protect the devices you are using, your Internet connection, and ensuring that you have a strong and solid password: 

Identify what devices you are working from

First of all, think about this: What devices are you using when working from home? Are you only using the company computer which has been acquired, configured, and managed by your company? Or are you also using your private one that you are responsible for?

Depending on the answer to this question, you should make some security precautions. Using a company computer may ensure that you have the necessary security measures installed, whereas if you are also using your private computer, this responsibility lies on you. 

Also, when working from the office and your office computer, you probably have access to a helpdesk if you need assistance in regards to security–which you can access remotely ss well. However, the helpdesk does not assist you with your personal computer. 

That means, if you don’t have enough awareness about cybersecurity and what initiatives to take at home to stay secure, you might lose this high level of security that you normally get when working on your company computer, from the office. 

Moreover, do you work on your iPhone or perhaps Android phone? Maybe also some kind of tablet? Remember that staying secure on such devices is just as important as staying secure on your computer–as the only difference between a phone and a computer really is the size. 

How to stay secure when working on different devices

  • Don’t let your kids and family use your company computer for their own activities

You never know what sites your family is visiting, what fun apps your kids download, or how well aware they are when it comes to security measures.

  • Treat all your devices the same

Being cautious and careful when using your mobile phone or tablet is just as important as when you are using your computer. That means, don’t download any app you come across that seems suspicious or not entirely secure, always care about your privacy, create strong passwords, and don’t share your devices with others. 

CIO in Visma, Espen Håkonsen, adds: 

“Make sure you connect to work with a properly patched company device. If you are connecting through a VPN, remember to disconnect when you are leaving your workspace for a longer period of time so that you don’t stay passively connected throughout nights and weekends.”

Read more: What is social engineering and how to prevent such attacks?

Ensure that you have a strong password

Password security is important, and it’s a fairly easy task to achieve. Our Security team recommends that you: 

  • Create a long password– a minimum of 15 characters 

The longer the better.

  • Create a complex password

A strong and complex password can for example be a sentence, with dialect and spelling errors that only you know about. Use a combination of numbers, signs, and capital letters. 

  • Always use 2FA where the option exists
  • Use password management protection systems
  • Always change the standard passwords when you buy a new device
  • Do a regular checkup on the complexity of your passwords on services such as “Have I been pwned” in order to make sure that you don’t use a common password that is easy to hack.

Also read: Password security tips from our experts.

Make sure that your internet connection is secure

How do you connect to the Internet when working from home? The router is crucial for your home office and it is essential to keep it secure. The right kind of router may even protect you and your devices from cybercriminals.

How? A router communicates between the internet and the devices in your home that connects to the devices that use the Internet (Visma computer, phones, tablets, laptops, and more.) It has this name because it “routes” traffic between the devices and the Internet. 

Additional patches and updates of the router could be necessary to assure that the known vulnerabilities are dealt with–this way they are less likely to be used by cybercriminals.

The good news is that the steps to secure your router aren’t too difficult or time-consuming, and they’ll significantly reduce your risk. 

Six steps to secure your router

Start by going to your router’s settings. If you don’t know how to do this, read on the actual router in your home, and find information about what brand and model it is. Then use your router’s brand and model to search the web on how to find the settings for this specific router. 

Then, do the following: 

  • Update the router 

Some routers are updated automatically but it’s still important to do regular checkups. By having the latest update, you’ve got the latest bug fixes and security patches, which means that you are protected against known cyber threats. 
The process varies from router to router, so check the router documentation or the official support website in order to find out how to do this.

  • Change the password

Your password should have a minimum of 15 characters. When you change the password, all your devices need to reconnect to the router–and unwelcome visitors are automatically kicked out.

  • Disable remote access

This function is designed to make remote access from outside your home easier. However, this also increases the risks and we recommend that you disable it to prevent any unwelcome visitors. 

  • Disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) 

This function can be used by cybercriminals to get access to the security settings of your router.

  • Disable Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS) 

With a Wi-Fi protected setup, also known as WPS, it is easier for unauthorised devices to gain access to your network. You should, therefore, disable this.

  • Organise your networks 

We recommend you to have one network for work, one for guests, and one for the rest of your devices.

You might also be interested in reading: Key findings on cybersecurity from the Hidden Statistics report 2020.

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