Working from Home Securely

Being aware of recommended security best practices while working from home is just as important as when you're in the office. In fact, in some ways it can be more important! Below are suggested best practices to make sure you and your data remain safe while working remotely, especially if you’re using a personal computer for work purposes:

  • Protect your device with a strong password. 
    • Emerson devices are password protected by default, with strict password requirements. If you’re using a personal computer for work, be sure to set a strong password to access your device. A weak password creates a vulnerability if your device is lost or stolen.
    • If you need to step away from your device, even for a quick second, make sure it is locked or shut down. This includes mobile phones you might use to check work email or make phone calls.
  • Secure your WiFi and Home Router with a strong password. 
    • Home networks may not be secured with strong passwords and many home routers have WPS enabled. WPS has been proven insecure and should be disabled. These instructions can help you to understand and disable WPS. Home networks should use WPA2-PSK for authentication. Contact your internet service provider (e.g., Comcast, Verizon) for more information on how to do this.
    • If you are connecting your work device to your home network, make sure that it is not visible to other computers on the network, and disable file sharing if you have to add it to your home group. You can disable file sharing on Windows machine using this guide.  Alternatively, if you are using a Mac, you can use this guide to disable file sharing on your macOS machine. 
  • Establish routines to keep files and documents secure.
    • If you do not have a private space in your house to work, be sure to collect your devices and any paperwork at the end of each shift and keep them someplace secure. This will also help to create separation between your work and home life.
    • Shred confidential documents before putting them in your household trash.
    • Be sure to back up your work and data to Box and/or Google Drive regularly.
  • Avoid device sharing when possible.
    • Try to avoid doing personal and business activities on the same device.
    • If your children are homeschooling, try to avoid having them use your work device for their curriculum. Malware accidentally downloaded by a family member could impact college related data.
    • If you have to make a work call from your personal device, type in *67 before the phone number to hide your caller ID.
  • Remain vigilant against phishing attempts, especially any related to COVID-19. 
    • There have been an increase in spoofed emails from IT Departments, HR departments about Work From Home policies, “fines” for breaking quarantine, fake testing or cures, and/or scams related to the stimulus check or the 2020 census that ask for Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Use the VPN whenever possible to access College Resources that deal with sensitive data. You can find instructions for downloading and using the VPN on the Emerson College IT Help Desk knowledge base. Definitions for what data are sensitive can be found Emerson's Data Governance Policy page.

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