In recent years remote online jobs have become much more common. Additionally, the freelance marketplace has become more robust, with many people choosing the freedom and flexibility that lifestyle offers. This trend is only expedited by the wide range of online jobs available to choose from.
However, security is something freelancers need to get used to. Traditionally, office safety and security is the responsibility of the employer. When you start working from home, however, these things fall onto your shoulders. You will start wondering whether you and your property (whether virtual or physical) is safe.
Alternatively, it may not be something you think about too often, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t vital. You need to be prepared for potential problems ranging from cyber-attacks to burglaries to children using computers they shouldn’t be using.
Why Do You Need Home Office Security?
Working from home places you at a higher risk of your office being broken into. Burglars often choose smaller targets where security is not as hard to bypass. They also know that you might have valuable equipment stashed away in your office. This equipment should be safeguarded and a good home alarm system can go a long way towards making your office a safer place.
Cybersecurity is also a major concern, and in most cases is what people should be concerned about (it’s what we’ll be focusing on primarily in this article). Without the necessary countermeasures, you may be vulnerable to viruses, scams of various types, or cyber-attacks.
Here are some ways you can keep your office and valuable data safe:
Separate Your Office from Your Home
When you work from home, whether you have a family at home or not, it is important to keep your work devices in a safe place where they won’t be disturbed.
It is recommended that you create a dedicated office space for yourself. Not only will you have a more productive space, but you will also have more control. Here, you can set up all your devices and have all your work documents and files available. Being able to lock the door to your office is another way of making sure that your work is secure.
This concept should extend to your devices. If at all possible, try to have separate sets of devices for work and personal use, so a cyber attack from one end doesn’t ruin you completely.
Back Up and Encrypt Your Data
When it comes to backing up your data there are several different options that you can consider. You could use devices like external hard drives, backup services, or types of cloud storage. Each of these has its own pros and cons, but they all work well and will do the job so long as you are careful about access.
Yet don’t rely on just one system to keep a backup copy of your data. Depending on your budget, you should back up your data via several methods and make regular updates, so you don’t have to worry. We recommend one external and physical option and another that’s offsite (fires do happen, and a cloud backup can make such an event just a little easier).
We also recommend encrypting data that you back up. Password protecting your flash drives can be an option, and multiple verification measures on your cloud storage accounts can go a long way.
Protect Your Internet Connection
Installing a firewall on any device that uses the home Internet is a smart thing to do. All it takes is one slip up in the network to compromise all your work. You should also create a strong password for your network and change it regularly.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are great for an additional layer of security, especially when you’re working on the go. There are plenty of excellent options, but as a general rule, we recommend avoiding free products and those that don’t have so many servers with good access to your region.
Remember Basic Security Practices
While you may have heard the following tips before, you probably should double check that everything is in order where your home office is concerned:
- Be wary of viruses and malware, especially on your work devices. They can infect your computer via phishing scams, questionable emails, pop-up ads, and other routes. Use your better judgment when seeing something new online.
- Make sure your passwords are effective and that you change them regularly. Alternatively, consider using a password manager such as LastPass to make things easier for yourself.
- Have security software installed on your computer, and don’t be too cheap with it. Some free software can be fine for your home computer, but your livelihood deserves something a bit better.
- Educate yourself as to common phishing scams and how to avoid them. Social engineers create new tactics often, so you’ll need to be one step ahead.
It is essential that you make sure that your home insurance covers your work assets. This way, if your assets are stolen or damaged by a natural event, you will be able to replace them and continue working as soon as you get your replacement equipment. You may also want to get specific insurance for your home office, depending on the cost of what you are working with.
There is a lot when it comes to protecting your home office, but once you have the above practices in place they can easily become second nature and give you the peace of mind to continue to work hard at what you do. We hope this information has helped you and that you will be able to work stress-free in the future.
Do you have any tips you would like to add or do you have any questions? If so, please leave a comment below and join the conversation.