Working from Home - IT Security Best Practices

Working From Home

When working from home, you may use personal devices to complete your work for WesternU. In this articles are best practice and tips to help you remain safe and secure when handling important documents, sites, and files.


To ensure that your security settings and programs can stay up to date, it is important that your computer has installed all updates available to it. 


To check for updates in Windows, open Settings and click Updates and Security. In the next page, click "Check for Updates". If any updates are present, allow them to download and install. You may be asked to restart your computer to finish applying settings.


There are 2 places to check for updates on MacOS. the first is for applications by opening the App Store and clicking on the Updates tab. Here will list all the available updates to your applications. 

The second place for updates are MacOS updates. These can be accessed by click the Apple Menu in the top-left and selecting Software Updates. This next screen will let you know if there are any pending updates to the MacOS software and will give you the option to "Update Now" if any are available. 

Antivirus Software

Having an antivirus software on your device is always heavily recommended. The information below can be used to ensure that you are protected on your personal computers.


For Windows computers, the best Antivirus software is Windows Defender. Defender is a built-in software that works well with Windows and provided excellent security for no extra cost. 

The control panel for Defender can be accessed by opening Settings, selecting Update and Security, then selecting Windows Defender. Newer versions of Windows may call it "Windows Security". In this panel you can turn on security, check for updates, and manage alerts andsettings for all security-related features in Windows.

When Defender is active, you will see a white shield in the tray of your computer. Clicking this icon will open the control panel for the program. 

Defender can be enabled by uninstalling all other Antivirus software on your computer (McAfee, BitDefender, AVG, Etc.). Once Windows sees that there are no antivirus programs present, it will automatically enable itself and begin working. 

If you have a pre-existing antivirus on your computer, please ensure that the software is up to date and fully enabled. If you previously had a free trial of a program that came with the device, it is recommended to uninstall it and allow Defender to take it's place. Once Defender is enabled, it will begin to update using Windows Update.

To run a manual scan with Defender, open Settings > Update and Security > Windows Security > Virus and Threat Protection > Quick Scan. It is recommended to run a manual scan at least once a month. 


Yes, Macs can get infected too!

For MacOS computers, Sophos is a recommended antivirus software as there is no built-in option. Sophos is a free software that will run in the background of your device to keep it safe and secure. There is a paid version of the software, but it is not required. 

Sophos can be downloaded using the link below, please note that you will need to create an account before you can download the software.

Sophos Home for Mac

Once downloaded and installed, allow the program to update and it will begin to run in the background of your Mac. You will see a new icon for Sophos on the top-right of your screen (Shield with an S in it), this means the program is open and your device is secure.

To run a manual scan with Sophos, click the icon at the top of your screen and select Scan this computer. It is recommended to run a manual scan at least once a month. 


Antivirus programs are great at protecting your computer from Viruses, but Malware can also effect your computer's health and security. Malware can run undetected by antivirus, so an additional program can be used to find these types of files. 

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) is a free software that can scan your computer for Malware to keep it healthy and safe. There are paid versions for both Windows and Mac computers, but they are not required. 

MalwareBytes can be downloaded using the link below:

MalwareBytes Anti-Malware

Once downloaded and installed, opening the program will allow you run a manual scan to find and clean potentially unsafe files. These scans are quick, and it is recommended to run a manual scan at least once a month. 

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Article ID: 108920
Fri 5/29/20 2:28 PM
Tue 8/2/22 2:44 PM