Organizing Your Home Office: 3 Easy Tips to Keep Important Documents Secure

18 January 2016

Nowadays many homes provide space for a home office. They can be used as libraries, as the hub for important personal documents, or as an actual office for those of us who telecommute every morning. Whatever you use your home office for; most likely it stores some sensitive data.
So it's important to safeguard that data. If you do telecommute you probably follow some basic security procedures for work documents made by your employer, but do you secure your own personal documents too?

Here are three easy tips to help you keep your important documents secure:

  • Lock it up: One of the first things you should do when establishing a space to be your home office is to make sure it has a door you can lock from the outside. Investing in a lock can save you thousands of dollars down the line by securing both your valuable technology, like your computer or printer, as well as your documents, from burglars. If your desk does not sit behind a door, consider storing your documents in a locking file cabinet or a safe at the end of each day.
  • Shred before garbage day: While your office likely has protocols in place to dispose of its documents safely, many telecommuters simply toss their documents in with the household trash or recycling. However, identity thieves often count on people to do exactly that, and search through garbage looking for intact documents full of potentially useful information. To mitigate this risk, add a cross-cut shredder to your home office. Rather than long strips, these shredders turn paper into small, confetti-like squares, making their contents far more difficult for even the most determined fraudster to decipher.
  • Anti-malware software: Connecting your work laptop to the internet at home opens it up to any malware programs that have infected your home network. Malware (short for “malicious software”) can compromise the data stored on your computer without ever alerting you, sending it to cyber criminals who can sell it or use it to commit ID theft themselves. Anti-malware programs defend your documents from troublesome software, making them a crucial part of ID theft protection for individuals who use their computers to store or access any type of personal information.

If you just recently established a home office or had not previously used any measures to secure your information at home, consider signing up for professional identity protection services. These services can provide credit monitoring and notify you of certain activities in your credit files that may indicate fraud.