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Home Workers Computer Security – Best Practice

Posted on: 28th May, 2020

We’re all used to using a computer for work nowadays, but with the advent of Covid-19 LockDown many of us are now using our own, home computers on behalf of our employer.

This may seem like the pragmatic, sensible thing to do. After all, you have a computer at home, it’s not being used for anything else and it helps you to keep on top of your work.

But, there are downsides to this scenario which the employer would do well to consider and which the home worker would do well to draw attention to.

Working from home - PC security

For instance, who pays for the use of the computer? Or the broadband line? Who is responsible for any damage caused to the computer? Is the computer protected from malware & viruses? How is company data protected if it is on a private computer, which may be used by the whole family?

Is there a company procedure for what happens to any of the firm’s data when such an employee leaves the business?

Are there written policies in place; including agreements with the company on how you may use your own computer? If not, should the company be responsible for providing you with a dedicated computer for work use?

There are other considerations listed below:

  1. Anti-Virus software:
    Is your home computer protected by a sufficiently robust anti-virus system? Does it automatically update itself? Does it report any untoward activity to a more IT-savvy Techie?

    We supply, install & manage Webroot Endpoint Protection anti-virus software, which works differently to the rest of the available products. And we’d say it is better too. A great advantage is that it warns us if it believes that you may have an issue, rather than asking you questions that you don’t understand. We decide if any issues are worth bothering you with.

Windows 10 Updates
  1. Windows Updates:
    Is the home computer kept up to date with Windows Updates? These do not always happen automatically and can sit for months, waiting to be given the go-ahead to install themselves. In your usual office there may be an in-house IT Dept, or out-sourced support, keeping on top of such things, but who is checking this on your own computers?

  1. Strong Passwords:
    Who determines how strong the passwords are on a home computer? Does your company usually have a policy for such passwords when you’re in the office, which are not being enforced on your own computer?

    Many users will have the same password for multiple different accounts, across the web. Once a hack occurs, such as happened to EasyJet recently, the hackers may have access to your email address and password. They are likely to start attempting to accessing other websites using those credentials.

  1. Data Sharing:
    It is possible that you are accessing company data that is shared with other employees from the business. Copies of such data will be downloaded to your computer and who is then responsible for ensuring that the data cannot be leaked, even inadvertently?

Secure Online Data Backup in Alnwick
  1. Backup:
    You may well be creating new files and documents on behalf of the company. Who is now accountable for ensuring the data has been successfully backed up? Where does the backup live? Who has access?

These matters have to be prudently considered, not only by the employee but mostly by the company. Obviously the business must first survive the LockDown and the new way of working. The company may even choose to look more closely at following this model going forwards. If employees are able to work from home, without the time & expense of travelling to an office which puts considerable cost onto the business, why not extend the practice?

Without careful thought as to the many implications, these next few months and years could cause many new concerns that good businesses will wish to ponder.