Security For the Home Office
Whether it was put to good use before or not, these days everyone is making the most of their home office. At AV Architects + Builders, we encourage our clients to take security seriously when working from home. We took some time to talk to Frank Noone of Degree Six, an IT support and service provider for some important tips and tricks on security.
People who take their laptops and mobile devices with them know to keep track of their devices while out of the office. But sometimes this caution gets relaxed in the safety of home, and diligence remains important. You need to keep your work device secure from other people in the house including children and spouses. Having someone grab a work laptop just to quickly look something up online can be a serious breach. It only takes a second, a single click, to create a very bad situation. Also, if you are using a home computer to remotely access the office, make sure to carefully log in and out, especially if it is a shared computer.
Many people do not realize that the best connection they can use is a wired one. A wired network connection is a private dedicated connection from PC to the network. A wired connection reduces the access points for a hacker, which increases security. Wireless signals can and do pass through walls and are accessible outside of your home. So, it is possible for someone in the suite, apartment, or house next door to be connected to your wireless network.
If your home is not wired in a way that allows you to have your main workstation directly wired, make sure that your wireless network is secured. This means that your network has a password set and encryption is enabled. If your device supports having a guest network, then turn it on and lock it as well. When visitors come give them the passwords to your guest network and not the home or office network.
When connecting to the office or even a web site always verify you have a secure connection by checking your software connection in addition to having wired/wireless security access. The process is simple: when you are browsing the web and you go to a shopping site or your banking site, look for the little padlock in the address bar that says it is secure. Any page that has a place for you to type in information like a sign-in or a payment page should have a padlock. There is a great browser extension called HTTPS Everywhere which works with Edge and Chrome browsers that can encrypt communication to pages that do not have the padlock. I highly recommend adding it to your browser.
Passwords are a necessary evil as the most basic form of security, but they can be easily hacked and most often that is the end users’ fault. Passwords are only secure when they are long enough and complex enough to be difficult to crack. They must not be used in multiple accounts and they should be changed regularly. This creates the problem. It is too hard to remember a unique password for every site and system we use that is longer than 12 characters and is complex using a variety of case, numbers, and symbols. If you only must remember one username and password to access everything, then it is easy to create and remember a single long complicated password.
Degree Six recommends using a password manager for both personal and business. A good password manager requires that you remember one password for the password management system. Then it will help to create, track, and enter your passwords for you. The tool will automatically generate a complicated password for you when it sees you attempting to create an account. Then it will encrypt that username/password combo and store it for you. When you return to the site the tool will enter the username/password in the appropriate fields so that you never even need to know what that password is let alone remember it.
Most businesses dedicate a significant amount of time and money to make sure their technology is secure. Working from home should not make those efforts ineffective. If you follow these basic security protocols, your home should also be “cyber safe.” Having a private, wired, secure place to do you work is the ideal. Reach out to Degree Six for more information on IT and remote access security. If you want this for your home, and you dream of building a custom, modern home that meets all of your needs, contact AV Architects + Builders for a consultation today.