Working from home offers employees greater freedom, better control of their own productivity and greater flexibility in how and when they can get their work done, making it a tempting offer for many offices. However, allowing employees to work from home also comes with security risks that businesses have to plan for.

Online security outside of a business office can be a tricky beast to maneuver, however it’s still very possible to adequately secure a home office for business purposes. Preparation, education and technological literacy are key. Here are five tips for creating a secure home office.

  1. Use antivirus software

Critical to the security of your home office is the security of your computer. Be sure that whatever laptop or desktop you use at home, it has strong antivirus protection, as well as a good firewall, installed on it. This can help prevent the catastrophe that can be installing a virus onto your home network, as viruses can destroy hard drives and databases, and can affect multiple devices on a network that is not safely secured.

Your antivirus should have any options for checking for new updates turned on, and run a manual check whenever you encounter suspicious computer behavior, to make sure any possible viruses or worms that infect your computer are eradicated as quickly as possible.

  1. Encrypt your Wi-Fi

If your WiFi network has not been secured, anyone can connect to it. When anyone can connect to your network, it can take a serious toll on your internet connectivity, including slowing you down significantly, but it can also put your network at serious risk.

Anyone who can connect to your WiFi has access to your network, and for your home office, that means company files and documents are at risk and unsecured. In addition, it also means that their internet browsing will be linked to your IP address, your home and potentially your company.

More than once, people with unsecured WiFi routers have found police knocking at their door for illegal internet activity that someone else was conducting while taking advantage of an unsecure internet connection. Be sure to secure your internet connectivity with a privacy guard, for your own safety and the safety of your network.

  1. Use a secure workspace

Your network isn’t the only thing that needs to be secured. Your workspace should be protected as well. That means your router shouldn’t be easily accessible or visible, your devices should all have strong password protection on them, locks should be installed wherever possible, including on your computer, and your workspace should be kept private.

Others shouldn’t have access to your devices, and they shouldn’t be able to access your workspace. You should also pay close attention to the USB ports on your computer, and ensure someone cannot do any damage by plugging in a USB with a virus installed on it when you’re not around, or installing a device without your knowledge.

Safety throughout your house is crucial to a home office. Ensure that all locks work, install cameras if necessary and make sure that guests do not have access to ethernet ports, where they can directly plug into the network.

  1. Secure your files and equipment

Make sure all your devices have strong, difficult-to-guess passwords, and protect files when possible with additional password-protected encryptions. Make sure your computer is set to hibernate or turn off automatically after a certain period of inactivity, to avoid accidentally letting someone onto your computer during a bathroom break.

Use hard disk encryption software to protect your hard drive, and make sure to closely follow any company policies for storing, protecting and transmitting documents. Be sure not to accidentally disable or uninstall any firewalls or antivirus protections.

  1. Use a VPN

An excellent way to secure an employee’s home office is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect from others hijacking your network connection or eavesdropping. A VPN allows an employee to connect directly to a company network from home without having to install and use their own home network, which have gaps in security even if an employee tries to manually secure it.

Although a VPN is an ideal option for network security for remote employees, all these steps to secure your home office can contribute to a safe remote work environment that adequately protects your company information while allowing you to take advantage of the freedom and flexibility that working from home can provide.

Author's Bio: 

I’m a social entrepreneur and a strong believer in using people-to-people networks through the use of technology to improve people’s lives. Think locally and impact globally – building community through business.