Many people have to work from home or telecommute for one reason or another. But while you might not be at your desk, that doesn’t mean you’re free from the need to take care of yourself and maintain good safety practices. Here are some ideas on how to make sure working from home is safe and secure.
1) Ensure Physical Security
Lock doors, windows, and any other points of entry where someone could access your property without permission. Install a home security alarm system with cameras if possible so you can see who’s coming in before they get there – this will also help deter potential thieves or burglars. Make sure all outside lights are turned off during the evening hours unless you want to give away your location (turn them back on before you head out).
2) Take Care of Personal Security Issues
Keep anything that has your personal information – social security number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, etc. – hidden somewhere not accessible by anyone else (be mindful of roommates or significant others who may be looking for something). Don’t include any identifying information about yourself or your location online, and if you do include it in documents, remove any personal details such as phone numbers and addresses. When possible, use a PO Box for things like bills so they can’t be traced back to your home.
3) Know Who Can Access Your Information
Keep track of all programs that may record keystrokes, such as IM chat clients or sticky notes, and ensure they are disabled when you’re not using them. You should also be aware of anyone accessing your computer who may have the potential to see sensitive information, such as family members or roommates. Try not to leave your computer unattended while logged in just in case someone does decide to snoop, and change your password regularly so unauthorized users cannot gain access to your information.
4) Be Aware of Vulnerabilities
You should never give too much away about yourself if someone asks questions about where you work or what you do out of the office – especially since they may not be asking for innocuous reasons. Don’t disclose any personal information even if it feels like a casual conversation – you don’t know who is listening. If someone asks to use your computer, do not allow them to unless they have some legitimate reason for doing so or go with them if necessary.
5) Safeguard from Natural Disasters
In the event of a natural disaster that requires you to leave your home, you should make sure all of your information is safely backed up in a secure location. If possible, keep copies in a couple of different places so they don’t all go down at the same time. Before leaving for work, put important documents and other items in your car so you have access to them when you need them.
6) Take Care of Your Computer
Make sure your computer has all the latest security updates and anti-virus software installed to keep yourself protected against malware or other threats. You should also make an external backup of everything on your computer onto an external hard drive in case anything goes wrong. If you’re working with sensitive information, consider encrypting certain files, especially if you’re using public computers.
7) Check for Privacy Concerns
Keep an eye out for potential security leaks, such as Google Drive or Dropbox folders in your Web browser that you don’t remember creating or software on your computer that is updating in the background without your knowledge. If you notice anything like this, consider shutting down any programs with access to your information immediately, change all of your passwords, and re-check for security updates.
8) Don’t Endorse or Adopt New Programs without Thinking First
If you are not sure about a program that has been suggested by another employee or received in an email, check with the IT department before downloading it. They may have some insight into its security issues, especially if it has been reported to have some problem in the past. In certain cases, they may even hold impromptu training on how to use it or be able to provide you with a virtual tour so all of your questions are answered before you download it.
9) Notify the IT Department if You Notice a Problem
It’s important to let your company’s IT department know immediately if you notice any suspicious or problematic activity on your computer. This way, they can take the proper precautions and help prevent others from being affected by whatever issue there may be. They may also be able to fix it remotely if necessary.
The safety of your home office is paramount to the success and health of your business. The tips provided in this article should help you stay safe while keeping up with all that’s expected from today’s digital marketer or small-business owner.