Data Security for Your Home Office

Working out of your home offers a lot of benefits, especially for small business owners, consultants, and freelancers looking to save money on rent and leases. However, a growing concern for small business owners and the clients they serve is around data security. Businesses and contractors alike often develop, send, and store sensitive information so it makes sense to take data security seriously. So let’s look at a few ways to keep your data secure when working from home.

Install Antivirus Software

At a minimum, you should be protecting your digital hardware with antivirus software. PcMag recently rated 40 antivirus software solutions and recommended four providers with prices ranging from $18.99 to $29.99 a month. They also evaluated several free antivirus solutions with two solutions that made their Editor’s Choice recommendation. So no matter what your budget, there’s no reason not to protect your work.

Use a Secure Router

Another simple way to protect the data you handle is to ensure you have a secure router. It’s not recommended to use the one provided by your internet service provider since those usually have limited security. Look for routers that have a blacklist of risky websites and designed to offer protection if you use a VPN. And update firmware when available. Then, be sure you choose a strong, unique password to access your internet connection. Consider using a phrase as your password to further reduce its hackability.

Use a Secure Cloud Storage and Backup Provider

Having multiple versions of files is not only a productivity nightmare, it’s also a security risk, since different versions may live under secure environments. A cloud storage provider will not only help manage version control but should reduce the possibility of someone making a duplicate copy and storing it with limited security.

It’s important to note that storage is not the same as a backup. Backup solutions automatically back up files while also encrypting them. Ideally, you’ll want both so you can be sure your files are safe from any threat.

Limit Access to Physical Workspace

It may seem like overkill to limit physical access to your home office, but it’s usually a very simple way to eliminate another threat. It’s good practice to have work-only computers and other devices that cannot be accessed by your friends and family. Similarly, you should lock printed files in cabinets or invest in a safe to ensure a wayward guest doesn’t see sensitive information. If you don’t have one already, a paper shredder is a must-have for every home office looking to reduce their risk of security breaches and hacks. And if you’re really concerned, or work for a high-profile client, you may want to consider installing a video surveillance system around your home.

Even if your clients don’t require you to use all these layers of security, a few precautions on your part now will go a long way to helping minimize risk to you and the businesses you serve.

By Andrew Patricio

July 23, 2018