Note: This article originally ran in June 2021; however, with many of us still working from home, this information bears repeating this fall.
After over a year of working remotely, your supervisor and you may agree to have you continue working remotely for a portion of your time, or for all of your time. Taking this route comes with some responsibility to keep your computer and Western’s data safe. Below are some working-from-home computer security basics. If you have any questions, please contact the ATUS Help Desk.
Use your work computer.
Your work computer is professionally maintained with regular operating system and application updates, and with advanced malware and adware protection software. Newer systems are encrypted by default, and if you have an older system, you can ask ATUS to encrypt it. If you must use your personal computer for work, consider protecting your confidential data by using the University’s Microsoft Office 365 environment (OneDrive, SharePoint, or Teams) or by using a University-managed application such as Canvas or Banner.
Opt-in to multi-factor authentication (MFA).
MFA protects your identity by requiring two forms of authentication, something you know (a password), and something you have (a phone or hardware key).
Ensure your wireless router and network are secure.
- Replace your default router admin password with a strong password on your router configuration interface, and make sure your router’s firewall is active.
- Keep your router software patched just like your computer.
- Configure your wireless network to use a secure protocol.
- If your router supports WPA3, use this protocol; otherwise, choose WPA2.
- Lastly, remember that your Wi-Fi password should be strong, and that password length is the most important factor in creating strong passwords.
Enable a screen lock on your computer.
If you have other people living in your household, they could potentially view and perhaps even alter Western data if your computer is left unattended and unlocked. We suggest you use a screen lock after about 15 minutes of inactivity.
Never share accounts.
If you are using a personal device for work, never allow a family member to work on your system using the same account. The better option is to use your work computer.
Don’t use any personal accounts for University business.
Always use your University Office 365 account for all email and document creation. Most importantly, never store any University confidential data on a personal Office 365, Google, Dropbox, or other storage account.
Ensure your computer is physically protected.
Your computer should always remain in a secure place. If you are asleep or away from home, lock the room or your whole house. If you are using a mobile device, make sure it is always under your control.
Again, please contact the ATUS Help Desk if you have any questions!