With so many people working remotely, it’s important to set up and utilize IT security and privacy protocols that you would typically have in the office. There are a number of protocols you can put in place that cost little or nothing, but provide that extra layer of protection to mitigate the risk of data breaches and malware.
We’ve developed a home office security checklist and provide tips and best practices to help you integrate some of the most critical tools to stay safe and secure while you work from home. Check back frequently – we will cover a new topic or two on this checklist every few days.
HOME OFFICE SECURITY CHECKLIST
- Secure Your Wi-Fi
- Protect Internet Browsing with a DNS Provider
- Update Your Operating System to the Latest Version
- Install and Use the Latest Antivirus/Malware Protection
- Develop Strong Passwords and use a Password Management Tool
- Move Administrator Rights to a Separate Account
- Use Cloud Backup
Secure Wireless & Internet
Most home offices don’t have the benefit of cloud-connected router hardware, such as a Meraki firewall, to help keep their wi-fi safe, but there are several ways you can make your home-based wireless network more secure.
During this time, several family members may be working or learning from home, putting a strain or your router and potentially exposing your data. Unfortunately, consumer-based wi-fi routers from cable providers or big box stores come with serious security flaws unless you take a few security steps, which we list below. The best way to mitigate the risk of a data breach or malware, is by either upgrading to an enterprise-grade router or considering mesh wi-fi. Mesh wi-fi networks allow you to add additional units to expand coverage throughout your home to ensure your devices can get on at the fastest possible speeds. Since mesh wi-fi is driven by cloud-enabled software, it continuously scans for problems and blocks threats at the DNS (Domain Name System) level.
If you are not in a position to upgrade your wi-fi router at this time, here are some steps you should take immediately to help secure your network:
Change the administrative credentials from the default username and password. The instruction manual or a quick Google search should show you how to do this for your model.
Change the default network name, or SSID, to something unique but without a name that identifies you.
Enable WPA2 wireless encryption so that only authorized users can use your network.
Install new firmware when it becomes available to ensure the latest security patches. Log into your router's administrative interface routinely to check if there are any updates. Newer routers, including most mesh routers, will automatically update the firmware.
Set your router to use the 5-GHz band for wi-fi instead of the more standard 2.4-GHz band, if possible, since the 5-GHz band has a shorter range.
Securing your wi-fi goes hand-in-hand with using safe DNS. DNS services offer added security and protection that haven't yet been implemented by many Internet Service Providers’ (ISP) DNS servers. OpenDNS and Google Public DNS, for example, provide detection and filtering software to prevent harmful content and malware.