Although work from home (WFH) was gaining in popularity in London and the UK well before Covid-19, the subsequent pandemic and lockdowns has turbo-charged the numbers of us working remotely. While today’s technology has made the switch to working from home possible, that same technology is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack when we use that way.
The old technology adage – ‘If you connect it, protect it!’ – is doubly important when you and your team work remotely. In fact, if you hook up a poorly protected device (from a webcam to a smart speaker) to your network at home, you put all your business IT, data, IP and confidential information at risk. So in this article we’re going to provide no less than 10 ways you can protect your work from home setup.
Why it’s important you implement these 10 ways to protect your work from home setup
Every time you connect a poorly-protected device to your home network, you inadvertently provide an opening cybercriminals can exploit to gain a window into your digital world. They know how to leverage that vulnerable device to plan and attack more important kit, such as your laptop. That’s why it’s important you understand and action these 10 ways you can protect your work from home setup and that’s exactly why we’ve covered them in this blog post, where you’ll discover cybersecurity tips and hints.
1. Don’t connect devices you don’t need
When in doubt, do nowt. So if you don’t need that device, remove it from your network. If you use it but no all the time, power it down or unplug it at the wall when it’s idle.
2. Know how to install updates and do so
We know all those updates, patches and fixes supplied by hardware and software vendors are tiresome, but they’re usually designed and delivered in response to a known security risk – so take a few minutes to learn how to install them AND do so. It’s effective and free.
3. Find out how to configure each device’s security settings
If you want to use a device on your home network, make sure you know what security settings are available and how to configure them to optimise your defences. This is usually quite straightforward and you can often find guidance on the device vendor’s website or other trusted online sources.
4. Change all default settings
Many devices come with pre-set features and settings activated. Cybercriminals know and can exploit these. They include remote troubleshooting features turned on, default passwords set and universal plug and play enabled on some routers. So before you make any device live, change all such default features and settings.
5. Check the amount of data you’re sharing
If you have a device connected to an online service (say, for booking travel or hotel accommodation), make sure you know how much data you’re sharing with it and how often. Of course, you have to share some data with such services to enable them to do their job but never give away any more information than you have to.
6. Two into one does sometimes go
With some home routers you can divide your Wi-Fi into two networks, each managed separately. So when you’re working from home, put your personal devices onto the ‘guest’ network and your professional (or work) devices, such as laptops, on the other network.
7. Turn on ‘Client Isolation’
Today’s more sophisticated home routers have a ‘Client Isolation’ option that shields each device on your home network from the next. This reduces the risk of a security loophole in one device being used to attack another on the same network.
8. Spot and stop the threats
Many cyber attacks such as Phishing rely on human error. Hackers can spoof e-mail addresses, website domains and even something like Google’s two-factor authentication form to fool you into making an error. The rule is not to open any attachment or click on any link from any source you do not recognise. When it comes to cybersecurity, there really are no stupid questions, only silly mistakes, so call or e-mail any message sender to verify their credentials.
9. Practice safe password protocols
We know passwords are the bane of modern life but they matter and are a fundamental building block of your work from home cybersecurity. So make them long and use multiple characters. What’s more, please avoid the following: complete words, the usual unsafe variants (such as ‘Password1’) and implementing the same password for numerous devices and apps.
Tip: use a Password Manager; they can help you create, remember and share (with applicable colleagues only) suitably complex passwords.
10. Know where to turn to for help
If you’re suspicious about any activity or any e-mail (text message or phone call) you’ve received, know where and who to report them to. This would usually be your company’s IT department or outsourced IT support team.
And if you and your team often work from home, the good news is that you don’t need to be a combination of IT manager, tech support guru, penetration tester and network engineer because here at WFH IT Support (that’s short for Work From Home IT Support!) we’ve got all the capabilities you need and we’ll be delighted to advise and assist you.
We specialise in IT support for businesses whose people work at home or remotely – wherever they are in the UK – using Cloud-based solutions, such as Microsoft 365 or Google G Suite.
Part of the totality services team, technology professionals who have earned two consecutive Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google and a 98% client retention rate, we can help you and your people work remotely – effectively, productively, safely and securely.
So please just give us a call for a friendly, confidential, no obligation chat about your work from home IT support requirements.