Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, July 3, 2013
There’s no denying that a home office has a huge amount of advantages associated with it. But there are also a lot of pitfalls you have to accept at the same time. After all, having an open connection to your computer at work has the advantage that you don’t have to actually be physically at your computer at work in order to use it. But it’s a two way street, and any kind of problem on your work computer can make its way back to your computer. And this is only the start of the potential problems of the setup.
Any time you establish a VPN connection with another computer and use the files there, you can have some risk of contracting whatever virus is present on that computer with the one you have at home. This is significant because viruses tend to travel through office networks. So it’s not entirely unthinkable that a virus could end up on your work computer by travelling over the network from some other computer, possibly due to another employee being careless with virus protection or Internet habits. Not everyone is careful about not going to sites that are going to automatically download Trojans to your computer and any computer connected to yours through the network.
A VPN connection is only as secure as its encryption. If you are using a service with poor encryption someone could intercept your information en route between your computer and the one at your office. If you have very sensitive data this could be a serious problem. As a result, it’s important to make sure that you’re extra careful when it comes to VPNs and security. For example, if you’re using a VPN with very good encryption, yet you’re using unsecured WiFi, this makes the security essentially useless since it’s trivially easy for anyone nearby to connect to your computer through the open WiFi network and potentially get access to all of your files and private data, depending on your settings.
As a result of all of these threats, it’s important to make sure that you practice good password rigor when it comes to any sort of VPN connection with your work computer, for example. It’s a good idea to frequently change your passwords, to use 8 or more characters, to use capital letters and symbols, and so on. If someone manages to crack into your computer they will have access to not only your computer here, but also any computer your home office machine is connected to, including your computer at work. Your coworkers will appreciate the effort you put in as well, since any breach in the network could affect them as well.
Overall, home office security is even more paramount than it would be normally for private computer considering the stakes involved. Many companies have non-disclosure agreements after all, and if the data protected by such agreements gets out, you could be in a lot more trouble than just from simple computer viruses.
This is a guest post by Lindsey McMahon. Lindsey likes to talk and write about anything to do with computers, recently he became engaged in computing security, and is now employed by http://us.norton.com/antivirus/.