By Hannah Meredith, Acting Information Security Education and Awareness Manager

Like a lot of us, I began working from home full-time this year. It took me a few weeks to get into the swing of things, but now I really enjoy it – especially when I get an extra two hours travel time back each day!

Before March, there were lots of things I’d never considered about working from home, such as how uncomfortable dining room chairs are, or how hot your laptop gets if you try to catch some of the (very rare) Manchester sun whilst working. Something many of us probably hadn’t thought about is how we’d have to adapt our working habits to help protect Co-op information in our new environments!

When we’re in the office, we have security guards, ID passes, secured WiFi networks and locked drawers to help us protect Co-op information… but when we’re at home, more of the responsibility is shifted onto each of us to ensure we keep this information safe.

Trying to work more securely at home has meant that I’ve needed to change a few of my ways of working. For example, I used to print off any policies I was working on, so I could write notes all over them, but I stopped doing this when I began working from home – knowing that, unlike in the office, there was nowhere safe for me to store or dispose of these documents after I’d used them.

Instead, I started using the new Microsoft Office 365 tools to make notes and now I find it so much easier to find what I’ve written, rather than having to trawl through my scruffy notebook to find something I wrote four months ago! (Plus, I’m being more environmentally friendly in the process.)

Some of the other things I’ve been doing to help protect Co-op information, and I’d encourage you to do too, include:

  • securing my home WiFi network by changing the default passwords on the router (that’s both the network AND the administrator passwords)
  • storing my devices somewhere safe overnight (e.g. not in the front of my car or next to a downstairs window)
  • not letting my partner use my Co-op device (even when his laptop broke and he thought I was just being mean) 

If you usually work in a Support Centre or Funeral Home, we’ve included a whole section on working from home in your annual information security training. You’ll need to complete your training in October, so look out for it on MyLearning.

If you have any questions about working from home securely (or anything else information security related) you can contact our Information Security Team at askinformationsecurity@coop.co.uk. If you have access to Yammer join our InfoSec Bytes Yammer group here.

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