What Is The Ideal IT Set-Up?
Since the pandemic has led to worldwide shut-downs and many companies have asked their employees to work from home either temporarily or long-term, the right work-from-home IT set-up has become more important than ever. Below you will find everything you need to know to make your new home workspace a place where you can not only be productive but also keep your body healthy in the long run.
While working from home is hardly a new phenomenon, coronavirus restrictions and social distancing rules have not only impacted the employees’ everyday life, but a lot of companies have also discovered that there is no real need for large and often expensive office buildings. Simultaneously employees have had the opportunity to experience a commute free life which leaves them with additional time and money to spend with their loved ones every day.
The Ideal Home Office Setup
As a response to these sudden changes, many people have decided to set up a “makeshift home office”. While this might have worked wonders during the pandemic, it definitely won’t be ideal in the long run. Try to incorporate as much as possible of the following tips in order to create a safe, fun, and effective IT set-up and workspace.
- Good Internet Service
To ensure a productive and issue free working day, you should make sure your home internet service is sufficient for the type of work you are doing. Most urban or suburban areas tend to have at least one high-speed internet provider. Around 50Mbps can be seen as the minimum speed which allowed a trouble-free working day. Having said that, however, the more people are using the internet at the same time, the more you want to invest in a higher-speed internet service.
Additionally, the bandwidth within your home is also important. The best and most ideal connections are wired Ethernet connections. While basic tasks can be done on Wi-Fi, video and bandwidth-intensive work should be done one a computer connected to the router with an Ethernet cable. In both cases, make sure you have modern equipment which supports 100Mbps for wired connection and at least 802.11n for wireless ones. Nowadays, almost all routers with Wi-Fi are dual-band and are supporting newer standards such as 802.11ac and 802.11ax which are most recommended.
Are you having issues with your Wi-Fi? Our well-trained IT engineers have years of industry experience and are able to make adjustments to your Wi-Fi set up and plan on a case to case basis to ensure you have a stress-free work environment.
2. Network Security
Public Wi-Fi Networks
With people now being able to work from all over the world it can be tempting to work from your favourite coffee shop. However, you should avoid public Wi-Fi networks as using them could make your device vulnerable to significant cybersecurity risks. This is because countless people have access to these networks and they very rarely have a firewall or encryption in place that protect your data or online activity from being stolen. If you have no choice and you have to rely on public internet connections make sure to enable a VPN.
While public networks can generally be seen as unsafe, home networks can also be unprotected when not set up properly. Firstly, it is important to set a strong password for the router and not rely on the default password which often consists of terms like “admin” or “abcde”, as this would leave your home network highly vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Secondly, it is important to make sure to avoid work-related files and folders being available to other computers connected to the home network. An additional layer of security can be put on by simply disabling the option to share files on home networks using the devices you work with. Through this you can increase the security of your IT set-up immensely.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Virtual Private Networks are a way to provide your device with a relatively secure internet connection. It enables employees to connect to their office networks as well as use different applications or online services while being protected from prying eyes.
Hereby it is important to acknowledge that many third-party VPN service providers will not encrypt your data all the way from the original source to the destination. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the official guidelines of your company on how to set up a remote VPN connection. This is something Astec IT can help you with in order to make sure your privacy is protected at all times within your IT set-up.
3. Data Encryption
It is almost impossible for businesses lacking adequate levels of preparedness to avoid cyber threats. Did you know that the use of relative extensive encryption could reduce the financial burden a data breach can have on your company by around £280,000? Therefore, encrypting all the sensitive data, especially the ones shared through email communication, on all your work-related devices is important. If you are working on your private computer, that is even more of a reason to make sure all the data is encrypted to ensure it cannot be intercepted or misused by a third party.
Besides that, make sure that all the devices that come in touch with your work are set to encrypt all sensitive data just in case they go missing or get stolen. Similarly, all your devices need to be set up with a strong password, PIN, or biometric security such as a fingerprint or face recognition to ensure a safe IT set-up.
4. Device Security
Keep Your Work Limited to Your Work Devices
While it might seem tempting to use your personal mobile phone to respond to emails before officially starting work or using your personal computer to quickly check some data, this can be an immense security threat. Unless you have no other option than using your personal device and you have set it up with a secure Wi-Fi connection, a VPN, anti-virus software, system endpoint protection etc. avoid using personal electronic devices for work purposes.
If you are looking for someone to help you set up your work or personal IT set-up with protective measures to increase your and your company’s IT security, then Astec IT is the right place. Contact us to receive a free consultation.
The use of two-factor authentication will make sure that access to your device is only possible after successfully validating two pieces of evidence with the help of an authentication mechanism. The use of such a mechanism can drastically reduce the risk of one of your devices being compromised. Hereby, the device owner will receive a temporary one-time code which has to be used as a key or pin to sign in.
5. Proper Monitor
One of the most important aspects of the ideal long-term home office setup is having a proper monitor. We suggest getting a large monitor (maybe even two) just like you would have had in a corporate office. A good suggestion would be 25- to 27- inch models with a medium to high price range. Generally, you want to avoid the cheapest monitors since they can strain the eye when being used over a prolonged time due to their lower resolution and fuzziness. The display resolutions which can generally be recommended to achieve the desired sharpness consist of QWXGA, QHD, WQHD, or 4K UHD.
Additionally, it is important to be aware that the display connector can limit the screen resolution. On many computers, the video subsystem limits HDMI 1.x resolutions to 1920 x 1200 pixels. This can make large monitors appear a bit fuzzy. Therefore, check your computer’s video specs and get a monitor which has the capability for the display resolution to match the maximum capacity. If you decide to purchase your own computer, you generally want to buy one which supports HDMI 2.x or 3.x, DisplayPort, or USB-C connectors in order to receive the best video quality. Having said that, however, focusing on getting a good monitor which specs meet or even exceed what the computer can deliver might be the best option, especially for those with a work-issued computer.
Not only the specs of the monitor are important but also the height of it. When sitting and looking straight ahead your eyes are supposed to be at the height of around 25 to 30% below the top of the monitor screen. This should help you avoid hunching your back and potentially injuring yourself. If your monitor is not adjustable then you might need a riser to adjust it to the height you need. A riser can also be helpful as it can provide extra shelves for storage purposes.
Moving from an office which potentially had on-site IT support to working from home can be difficult. It is common to face problems such as connection issues, problems with the home-computer, printer, or cloud set-up as well as face potential security concerns of accessing important data from a home network. This is why having access to trained IT engineers and helpdesk support is so important.
To make your every-day life of working from home as stress-free as possible and keep your company data protected from cybersecurity threats, Astec IT is offering remote and on-site IT support for businesses. This can not only make the lives of your employees working from home easier, but it can also lead to higher productivity among workers and reduce risks of security breaches. Astec IT offers a premium 24/7 IT support service, so you do not have to worry about any IT concerns when working from home or an office ever again.
For more information about the best ergonomic practices within a working-from-home set-up, stay tuned for our next article.