Can you trust a home computer to run your business while working from home?
What is a trusted computer?
Strict definitions aside, a trusted computer is one that is provided, configured, and managed for a specific purpose. In a business, it’s a critical tool provided at great expense to access the systems and information you need to do your job effectively and securely based on company policies.
Often this is an enterprise-class computer or device with the following specifications:
- supported operating system
- enterprise-grade anti-malware
- management agent
- patched with latest security updates
- installed with the applications necessary to do the job
What is an untrusted computer?
It’s a computer that you did not provide and do not manage and is in an unknown state. You don’t know if it meets your specifications. While it may meet some of your specs, if it’s also used as the household computer for school and games, it may have other applications or malware that you’d never allow on your business network.
How can I securely work from home?
There are a couple of options.
- Provide a trusted computer for your team that needs to work from home. Treat it like you treat the rest of your computers. Set a policy that it is only to be used for business purposes.
- Take an untrusted computer and configure it to be trusted. This includes installing a management agent, anti-malware, all security patches, and the latest software. Run full virus scans so it’s malware free and ensure it’s running well.
Much depends on your budget and lead time. With today’s rush to work from home, you may not have the time or money to provide a trusted computer to take home. You can have your IT provider move an untrusted home computer to a trusted state and add it to your regular managed service and asset list.
For an employee-owned device, you’ll need permission to do this. It may be for a few weeks or longer. It’s pretty crazy out there with lots of uncertainty. Take bold actions now to limit problems later. Be well!