Tips to secure your WFH devices

With the possibility of further lockdown measures being imposed where we once again may have to work from home, we have collected some useful tips to secure your own WFH devices. If you use your own devices to connect to your business’ systems, these tips will help to protect both yourself, and your organisation from cyber attacks. 

WFH starts at the office

Before setting up anything, you will need to check with your organisation, and find out if they have a policy in place. If they do, this is where you should start. When you are handling any of your organisations information or data, it is crucial that you follow good practice. This counts whether you are working on  a desktop, a phone, a tablet or anything in between. Therefore, if your organisation has their own ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policy you should always follow this. If not, the following advice will set you up to work securely and protected from home.

Keep your devices up to date

Rule number one, is to keep your devices up to date. That includes both laptops, desktops, tablets and smart phones. Usually these will all give you a notification when any updates are available- they must never be ignored. 
Whether it is your own or your organisations device, updating software and applications remains the most important thing you can do, to protect yourself from cyber attacks. The importance of updating these (also known as patching) is further explained by our cyber security expert Umesh, i
If you find yourself with a device that can no longer be updated- you should let your organisation know, as these will be at very high risk of cyber attacks. 

Choose a strong password

80% of data breaches happen because of a weak or stolen password. As your passwords are the direct key to all your online accounts and personal identification, you must always make sure that you have a strong one. We made it easy for you, and you can find our guide on how to create a strong password which is easy to remember here. 

Regularly change your password

No matter how strong your password is, it is still necessary to update it on a regular basis. Your organisation might have this as a part of their protocol, if not a password should be renewed as a minimum every three months. Make sure you follow the guideline of how to choose a strong password when it is time to change.

Use approved software

Most organisations have a list of approved software you can use on your devices. Therefore you should always check in with your IT department or follow the guidelines of your organisation before you download any applications or software. Finally make sure that all applications you download to devices come from manufacturer approved stores, like Apple App Store or Google play.

Have antivirus installed and keep it up to date

You should always have proper antivirus software on your devices. Ideally you should check in with your IT department to make sure you have installed the right programmes. If you do not, then they can install the correct one for you, and in that way make sure your organisations devices is protected. 

Switch on your firewalls

When you are on a network, you need to have firewalls to protect your device. Most big operating systems already have firewalls included, but you will need to make sure it is switched on. If you don’t know if you have it or not, always check in with your IT department to make sure all settings are correct and your devices are protected.

Back ups in the Cloud

Use Cloud storage to make sure your data is always backed up. Your organisation will probably already be providing you with this, and you should make sure to always use it when storing work files. In case anything should happen to your devices, your data won’t be lost and you will be able to protect  your business’ assets. In case the accident happen and you click on a malicious link anyway, follow our guide on what to do here.

Don’t share your account

Are you sharing your device with your kids and their Zoom classes? If you share your device with anyone, you should create a separate account for them to use. In that way you can avoid any accidental loss of sensitive information by family members. Importantly, you should never share your account details with anyone or write it down anywhere. 

Have a safe Wi-Fi

Make sure your home’s Wi-Fi is protected by a strong and secure password. You shouldn’t be sharing this password with anyone outside your household. Additionally you should never connect to free and open Wi-Fi’s when you are out of office. These are not secure, and therefore sharing your mobile data would be a safer option.

Are you receiving Phishing emails?

Phishing emails is one of the biggest cyber security threats organisations face. The risks have only become larger during the year of 2020, when many of us started to work from home. When you receive an email you should always check an extra time before opening it, or click a link you receive. If you are ever in doubt- do not click on it, but send it by your IT department first. If you are not sure on what Phishing is or on how to spot a Phishing email, follow our guidelines or ask your IT department to arrange awareness training for your organisation. 

Get Awareness Training

20% of UK businesses do not provide their employees with regular awareness training on emails. Make sure your organisation is not on the list and provide your team with awareness training, so they will be able to protect the business’ assets from their home.

Know what to do in case of a loss

If you have a device stolen or loose it in any other way- make sure you report it to your organisation right away. Then your IT department will be able to take over the device and wipe it down. 

Remember the physical assets

By following these tips, your devices will be secure, and you can work safely from home. Now you should implement good practise with your physical assets such as USB sticks or print outs. 
Whether you are in the office, working remotely or at home you should never leave USB sticks, or any form of medias unsupervised. Good practise is to always pick up your printouts right away, and finally never leave your device unattended. Remember to lock the device whenever you walk away from it, no matter how short time it is. 

For more tips to secure your WFH devices have a look at our cyber security articles:

Final tips to secure your WFH devices

Once you have made sure that all your devices are protected you can temporarily check the cyber security box on your to-do list. However, cyber security checks on your devices are never fully done, and you will have to revisit it on a regular basis. 
So make sure that you check this list from time to time, while keeping your devices up to date, have a reporting antivirus system and regular backups running. Whether you are working on your organisations devices or using your own as a part of their BYOD policy; make sure to always follow your organisations guidelines, and check in with your IT department if ever in doubt. 

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