Do you work from home? You aren’t alone. Remote work has become increasingly common in recent years. According to Pew Research Center, 35% of workers with jobs that “can” be done from home now work from home.

Working from home has its advantages. You don’t have to worry about commuting to and from the office. You can typically wear whatever you want. And the hours are usually more flexible. If you’re going to work from home, though, you’ll need to implement some safeguards to protect your data and devices from cyber threats.

Use a VPN

You should consider using a virtual private network (VPN) when working from home. A VPN is a piece of software that creates an encrypted and secure connection over a public network, such as the internet. You can use it to connect to your business’s network. Rather than connecting directly to your business’s network, you can connect to the VPN. The VPN will encrypt your traffic so that none of the data you download or upload can be intercepted.

Deploy a Firewall

A firewall is an essential cybersecurity tool when working from home. Firewalls are systems — or devices in some cases — that are designed to filter traffic based on rules. You can configure a firewall to allow and prohibit certain types of traffic based on rules. It won’t protect against all forms of cyber attacks. Nonetheless, a firewall is another layer of security that you can use to create a stronger and more secure work-from-home environment.

Update Software

Updating software is essential to maintaining a secure work-from-home environment. Outdated software often contains vulnerabilities — and it only takes a single vulnerability to pave the way for a cyber attack. A hacker may exploit a vulnerability in unpatched software, thus gaining access to your computer or data.

Regularly update your antivirus software, firewall and operating system to protect against cyber attacks. You can even set up automated updates and reminders to ensure that new updates are installed in a timely manner.

Create Strong Passwords

Always create strong passwords when working from home. Passwords, of course, are used for just about everything. Whether you want to check your email, connect to your business’s network or log in to an account, you’ll probably need to enter a password. The strength of your passwords will directly affect your level of security. Passwords that are long and complex are harder to crack than those that are short and simple. Therefore, you should always create strong passwords when working from home.