Covid-19: Working from home

March 2020

In order to work successfully from home, you need the internet to work. The faster your connection, the better.  If you live alone and if your work is mostly text-based, a connection of just 5Mbps should be enough.  But now the coronavirus is keeping you at home and you most likely have a partner who’s also working online plus children who are either learning remotely or streaming Netflix, you’ll need much more - at least a 25Mbps connection.

 

If your home Wi-Fi network is not allowing you to do your job effectively, talk to us!  We can recommend a package of measures to help.  Often the solution is making sure you have the right kit for the job.

 

One annoying limitation of Wi-Fi networks is their signal reach.  The range of a typical Wi-Fi network sometimes doesn’t cover a house properly.  Fortunately, Wi-Fi networks can be boosted, meaning that their signal strength and corresponding coverage area can be increased.  One solution, which we recommend to our clients, is the installation of business-grade wireless access points.  A wireless access point is a device that creates a wireless local area network.  It connects to a wired router, switch or hub via an Ethernet cable and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area.

 

Making sure you have the right router is really important.  There are fundamental differences between a home router and a business router.  We strongly recommend investing in a business-grade router if possible.  They provide virtual private networks (VPNs) that can handle more users (anywhere from 5 to 100), while offering much stronger security than consumer models do.

 

Something else that can affect the quality of your broadband is ‘contention ratio’.  Contention ratio is a count of how many households are using the same broadband line as you.  If your contention ratio is 50:1, for instance, that means fifty households are using one line.  When a lot of people are connected to the same line as you, it can potentially drag down your broadband speeds.  It is not always a good idea to go for the cheapest broadband package.  We would recommend paying more for a business-grade connection with a reputable Internet Service Provider where the contention ratio is lower.

 

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is setting up a home office with the right tools, but once you’ve got everything in place, it’s easier to get your work done.  Our recommendations include, in addition to a laptop, at least one monitor so you have a bigger screen to work from, as well as a decent keyboard, mouse and printer.

 

And finally, you need to consider cyber security and data backup. 

 

 

 

 

 

Think very carefully before clicking on a tempting link purporting to be from the World Health Organisation, or similar, with positive information about the cure for Covid-19.  Chances are it’ll be a hacker preying on your understandable anxiety about the coronavirus pandemic.

 

As millions of us scramble to make sense of the coronavirus outbreak, and home-working becomes the new normal, criminals are seeking to capitalise on the widespread panic.  New coronavirus-themed phishing scams are leveraging fear, hooking vulnerable people and taking advantage of workplace disruption.  In the last few days, the government’s National Cyber Security Centre has published a home-working guide that offers tips for organisations introducing home-working as well as highlighting the tell-tale signs of phishing emails: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/home-working-increases-in-response-to-covid-19

 

Expert cybersecurity tips for home-working

  1. Enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible

  2. Have a VPN solution, which sits on the PC, laptop or mobile device and creates an encrypted network connection

  3. Does your current cyber security policy include remote working?

  4. Only use work devices – communicate with colleagues using IT equipment provided by employers.  There is often a range of software installed in the background of company IT that keeps people secure.

  5. Tighten up network access – without the right security, personal devices used to access work networks can leave businesses vulnerable to hacking.

Are you cyber secure?

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