You’ve set up your home office with the proper computer, printer, private business line, and wireless network, but what about software? Chances are that new computer came with some pretty good standard programs; you would be hard-pressed to get any work done without Windows, e-mail, and a word processing program, but don’t overlook these important additions:
Foregoing antivirus protection means putting yourself at risk of losing valuable files and projects-in-progress. Nobody should take that chance. Norton or McAfee are highly recommended antivirus programs for home-based offices. Any network over five computers will need a heftier business program.
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Your computer is susceptible to hackers and tech-savvy thieves who may be out to steal your information. A firewall acts as a security guard to inspect network traffic passing through your CPU and hard drives. Most home businesses lack firewall protection or, if they have a firewall, have failed to set them up properly. It’s vital to correctly configure your firewall, so enlist the help of a trained expert if necessary.
As an added layer of protection, store important documents and files on an online backup service. The annual fees are minimal, although they are starting to go up as demand increases, and your files are available anywhere there is an Internet connection, even from your mobile device.
If you would rather not pay for online storage, another solution is to set up a separate e-mail account. E-mail yourself any documents you wish to save. For hard copies, scan the documents and then send to the e-mail address. Once there, file the documents into special folders. Your e-mail has become your online backup.