How Can I Keep My Computer Network Safe When Working from Home?

How Can I Keep My Computer Network Safe When Working from Home?

You will often hear the term “endpoint” when discussing networks. The endpoint simply refers to your computer or any other device that is connected to your network.

You can think of your computer network as multiple endpoints being connected to each other and the internet at large through wired or wireless connections. Those connections are like the superhighway that your data uses to transmit back and forth.

A network takes on a slightly different look than a business network when you are working remotely from home and there are more security concerns. 

For example, the PC you use for work is generally going to be sharing a network connection with residential devices. Some of these devices may be considered higher risk when it comes to the ability for a hacker to breach them. Smart doorbell cameras are a perfect example of these higher risk devices.

36% of companies have dealt with security incidents due to a remote worker with an unsecure computer network.

This means your computer network (specifically your work computer) should have certain safeguards and considerations in place to keep your business data safe both while “at rest” (stored on your hard drive) and when transmitted through your network.

How to Keep Your Home Computer Network Secure

You want to begin by understanding the different components of your computer network so you can then take steps to ensure they are optimized and safeguarded.

Here are some of the areas to consider:

  • Your work computer
  • Other devices that also share the same Wi-Fi connection
  • Your router & modem
  • Any local ethernet cable connections
  • Network settings on your computer

Computer networks facilitate communication between devices and the internet so to secure that network you will want to control those connections. Here are some ways to do that to keep sensitive work data from being compromised while you are working remotely from home:

Turn Off Discovery and Sharing on Your Computer

When a hacker breaks into one device in your home (or office) they will try to discover other devices on the same network to hack as well.

Devices on the same Wi-Fi network can find each other when discovery is turned on. A more dangerous setting is to have sharing turned on, which means you are allowing another device on your same network to share a folder or file on your computer.

Turning these settings off helps prevent a hacker jumping over to your device and exploiting a sharing permission.

Make Sure Your Router is Updated for any Security Patches

Security flaws in routers happen all the time and make them susceptible to being hacked. This is especially the case with residential routers which do not have the same security as business-grade routers.

People often forget to log into their router and check for any firmware updates. You should set a reminder to do this regularly so you can apply any critical security patches to reduce your network risk.

Any other devices on your network (voice speakers, smart thermostats, etc.) should also be updated regularly.

Segment Your Router with a Guest Network

Most consumer routers give you the ability to set up a guest network. This creates an entirely new Wi-Fi connection coming from your router that is separate from the existing one.

Using a guest network for your work computer and any other devices containing sensitive information adds another layer of security. Your work PC will be separated from other potentially riskier devices at your home which will make it more difficult for it to be hacked if another device on your network is compromised.

Use Malware/Virus Security Software

Threats are trying to get into home computer networks all the time. These can be from phishing email scams, malicious websites or internet adware. Your device should have a reliable antivirus/anti-malware solution to safeguard your computer against those network threats.

If you use a Windows 10 computer, you can enable multiple computer network protections including Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, ransomware protection and more.

Check with Your ISP to See if You Need a Modem Update

If your internet modem is more than 4-5 years old, it’s a good idea to check with your internet service provider (ISP) to see if there is an equipment upgrade available.

ISPs are continually updating their networks and equipment. However, if you do not ask, you might not realize a faster and more secure model is available. Providers often switch out a new model for an old one for no charge.

Use VPN Encryption When Connecting to Business Resources

Whether you’re connecting to an onsite server at the office or to a cloud business platform, you want any data being transmitted to be encrypted. This keeps hackers from intercepting and using that data. An example would be spyware designed to record keystrokes to steal login credentials.

Using a virtual private network (VPN) to connect through encrypts your traffic and also offers additional security by making your IP address hidden. Any sites you visit will see the IP address of the VPN server rather than yours.

VPNs also often include DNS filtering to help block malicious websites.

Keep Your Home Computer Network Efficient & Protected

Having a properly configured and secured network is just as important when it is at a home as it is at an office. Sound Computers can help you work more efficiently wherever you are.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 860-577-8060 or reach us online.

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