Information Security for Home Offices of Small Business
A Stanford University study estimates that about 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full time. This trend is expected to continue through to the end of the year. Employees have moved from shared office equipment, staff, and documents to operating independently in their home office. With these adjustments come security challenges. Here are some solutions that may help minimize those challenges.
Challenge: Document Security
You can trust your family members, but what about their friends, your neighbors and service people who visit you? When outsiders enter your home, they may have visual or physical access to your work information.
Solution: Get Organized
Use a locking file cabinet. Work on one project at a time, minimizing how many files are in the open. Create an unshared, secure space in your home with a lockable door where your workspace, files and equipment can exist. Avoid discarding documents in a trash can or recycling bin. Use a residential shredding service instead of personal shredders so that your shredded material isn’t part of your public garbage pickup.
Challenge: Unsecured Networks
Your business is likely required to comply with secure network guidelines, but your home may not offer the same level of privacy. Hackers target public and residential WiFi networks. Neighbors or those passing by may be able to gain access to your network.
Solution: Secure Your Technology
Ensure your WiFi router is secure. Ensure firewalls are enabled. Use a strong WiFi password containing letters, numbers, and symbols. Use strong passwords on electronic devices and change them frequently. Use up-to-date antivirus software on all your devices and avoid unsecure websites and apps. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) at home or on the go. Use a hard drive shredding service for obsolete digital storage media to make your data permanently unreadable.
Challenge: Lost Documents
Though you may work at home, your job may still require you to travel by car or plane, meet people in locations like coffee shops or outdoors, or you may need to run errands to post offices and banks. Items and documents can sometimes be misplaced or left behind. They may get mixed in with newspapers or garbage at eating establishments, or worse, stolen by someone.
Solution: Be Meticulous
Take only the files you need. Secure papers in a binder, staple them, or keep them in a single folder or briefcase. Keep a checklist of what you brought and do an inventory check before you move on. Use a professional shredding service to destroy documents you no longer need.
Home offices are a common part of the present culture, and while you might not be able to have the full security you had at business office, you can still increase your home office security by giving attention to a few details.
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