Working from home advice

With many organisations encouraging their employees to work from home, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone about how to stay safe online.

Stay patched and updated

Many organisations have IT infrastructure in place to automatically deploy the required security patches onto your laptop or device. Unfortunately, your device may not be able to access those services, so it is up to you to ensure your device is always up to date.

  • Regularly update your Operating System (Windows, Mac, Linux etc). If possible set the system to automatically update;
  • Regularly update your vital applications, such as Microsoft Office, Chrome, Adobe;
  • Ensure your antivirus signatures are up to date.

Secure your network

It is essential to ensure the network environment you are using is secure. This reduces the risk of localised threats as well as malicious software that attempts to alter the configuration of your home router.

  • Ensure the Wi-Fi password is complex and was changed at installation (not using the password that came with the device). Many routers allow for different wireless names (SSID), change the password for each;
  • Ensure the home router administrative interface password is complex and was changed at first installation (not using the password that came with the device);
  • Don’t trust free or public Wi-Fi. If possible, use your mobile and tether.

Keeping your device secure

Having your device at home may increase the risk of physical theft and unauthorised access. We are not just talking about the bad guys either, never underestimate the damage of little fingers hovering over your delete key!

  • Turn on full-disk encryption if possible (BitLocker on Windows);
  • Install company approved Antivirus, or enable the one that comes with your Operating System;
  • Always lock your device when not in use;
  • Make sure the firewall is enabled. For extra security, select the “Public Network” option when joining your home network.

Keeping your information secure

Working from home means that you are now more likely to have printed copies of confidential information or backups of company data floating around your house. Treat your house like your desk at work and keep confidential information safe.

  • Only use your company laptop/device for work related activities;
  • Limit the printing of documents. When printing is necessary for activities such as signing, shred/destroy the document as soon as possible;
  • Maintain a ‘clean desk’ policy at home;
  • If you need to backup or transfer your files using USB storage, ensure they are encrypted/password protected.

Beware of scams

Unfortunately, the bad guys are rather opportunistic when it comes to a crisis. Whether it is a virus or an earthquake, you are almost guaranteed to see malicious emails being sent in an attempt to trick users into providing their details.

  • Always double-check the sender’s details on emails;
  • Never trust a link that asks you to log in to an account. If in doubt, call the sender to ensure it was from them;

Follow your company’s remote working policy

Many organisations already have a remote working policy which outlines the acceptable practices and security requirements. Ensure this is followed and seek your organisation’s advice if you are unsure of anything.