Security Tips for Working From Home

Woman working form home desk

By now, we’re all intimately familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of working from home. You may have been working from home for most of the pandemic, are a hybrid employee, or simply take your work or devices home for breaks and weekends. Whatever your unique situation, you probably have direct experience walking the increasingly fuzzy line between the domains of “home” and “work.”

Whenever you work from home, chances are you’ll need to use digital information resources, such as your WUSTL Box, email, Zoom, or Teams. At home, you’re in charge of your network and device security. Keep your work-life balance strong, avoid bringing unnecessary work stress into the home, and protect your data and systems by adopting the security best practices listed below.

  1. Review Guidance from the Office of Information Security
    Our office frequently develops helpful guidance to meet the needs of our community. On our website, you’ll find informative guidance and resources for telecommuting, step-by-step guidance for device security, and a number of other topics. Please follow this guidance and reach out to us at if you have questions or suggestions for additional security guidance.
  2. Use WashU-Provided Tools and Services
    The Office of Information Security reviews enterprise applications, tools, and services to ensure they meet security requirements. Don’t sign up for unvetted “free” applications. They might have weak security, steal your data, contain malware, or just not really work. WashU employs experts and allocates funds to ensure our community has access to the right tools for the job. Enjoy this great benefit of working at WashU! Make the smart and easy choice by using vetted applications such as WUSTL Box, Outlook, OneDrive, and Teams in your work, whether you’re at home or on campus. Simply log into WUSTL One for access to hundreds of university-provided applications.
  3. Keep Work Data on Work Devices
    Avoid using your personal device to handle work data. WashU IT manages university devices to ensure they are encrypted, run antivirus software, block malicious sites, and stay up-to-date with the latest security patches. If your device is lost, stolen, or compromised, the university can better help you if you’ve been using a WashU device.
  4. Keep Household Members and Visitors Off Your Work Devices
    Although work and personal life are now commingled in an ever-evolving dance, try to keep your work devices off the dance floor. You may personally have access to protected data and critical systems, and your household members are likely not authorized to view or access those data or systems. They probably have benign intentions, but they could easily accidentally delete or modify a file, download corrupted files, or install malware. Protect your professional assets and reputation by using your device’s lock screen and passcode, don’t allow others to use your device, and physically secure it when not in use. You should also set up guest user accounts on your personal computer so that if someone else needs to use it, they won’t have full access to your data and settings.
  5. Secure Your Home Network
    Avoid using public and unsecured networks. Use a password on your network and turn on encryption. To make these adjustments, log into your router using your IP address. The user manual for your router should include detailed instructions. You might also want to create a guest network for visitors to avoid disseminating your main home network password.