Keep your computer secure at work

Applies to: SecurityWindows 10Windows 8.1 More

Making sure that you stay safe and secure when you use your computer at work is not just good for you, it’s good for business. Here’s how you can contribute to a safer and more secure workplace.

Tips to protect your business

Stay up to date: Make sure that you are receiving automatic updates from Windows Update, and that you install any updates that your company requires. Keeping Windows, Microsoft Office, web browsers, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and other software up to date will help protect your computer and your company.

Install with caution: Avoid installing any software from outside your workplace that is not approved or administered by your company. Unauthorized programs have the potential to create security vulnerabilities.

Keep strong passwords: A strong password is at least 8 characters or more, and contains a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Change passwords regularly and do not reuse old passwords or passwords that you are currently using in other places. For more password tips, see Protect your passwords.

Click carefully: Be mindful of suspicious links. They can appear in email, tweets, posts, online ads, messages, or attachments, and sometimes disguise themselves as known and trusted sources.

Beware of public Wi-Fi: If you connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network with a company device, you’re putting yourself and your company at risk. Find out if your company has a virtual private network (VPN) that you can access when you need to use Wi-Fi away from the office.

Back it up: If your company does not already back up your data automatically, find out how to do it yourself to help protect your work. The 3-2-1 rule helps: keep at least 3 copies in 2 separate physical locations, 1 of which is offsite. Consider keeping copies of your work in the cloud using OneDrive.

Ring the alarm: If you’re using your computer and notice something strange, let your company’s IT department know about it. This helps ensure that your company network stays secure. If you have been victimized by a scam or your files are held by ransomware, avoid dealing with the scammers directly.

Browse the web safely: Avoid visiting sites that offer potentially illicit content. Many of these sites install malware on the fly or offer downloads that contain malware. Use a modern browser like Microsoft Edge, which can help block malicious websites and prevent malicious code from running on your computer.

Be on the lookout for scams: Some scammers search social media for employment information and send emails that appear to be about work-related transactions. Be careful when responding to or acting upon unsolicited communication whether through email, phone, or SMS. The FBI regularly warns about business email scams and provides contact information for complaints and reports.

Avoid sharing work-related info on social media: Sharing too much detail about your work responsibilities and contact information on social media can attract scammers. They might leverage this information to send you targeted scam messages that appear legitimate.

Protect physical devices: Removable drives and mobile devices, including laptops and cellphones, are easily stolen along with all the data they contain. Keep these devices safe and stored properly, especially when using them in cafes or leaving them in your car.

Prevent and remove malware with Windows Security

One important step toward greater workplace security is to protect your computer against malware. Windows Security (or Windows Defender Security Center in previous versions of Windows) is built-in to Windows 10 and provides real-time malware detection, prevention, and removal with cloud-delivered protection. It is intended for home, small business, and enterprise customers. For more info, see Help protect my device with Windows Security.

Other ways to remove malware

If you encounter problems removing malware, try to contact you company’s IT department for assistance. They might need to immediately contain any breaches and ensure the rest of the company network is safe.

To assist all Windows customers, including those who are not running Windows Security, Microsoft provides several malware removal solutions.

Windows Defender Offline

Windows Defender Offline runs outside of Windows to remove rootkits and other threats that hide from the Windows operating system. This tool uses a small, separate operating environment, where evasive threats are unable to hide from antimalware scanners.

With Windows 10, Windows Defender Offline is built-in to the operating system and can run from Windows Security. It is provided as a separate download for previous versions of Windows.

Learn more about Windows Defender Offline

Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

The Malicious Software Remove Tool (MSRT) is released regularly through Windows Update and automatically removes the most prevalent threats. MSRT helps ensure that Windows computers, regardless of their antimalware solution, are regularly scanned for the most prevalent threats.

MSRT is also provided as a standalone tool that you can download. Customers who want to be able to address the most prevalent threats on demand can download and run the standalone version.

Download the Malicious Software Removal Tool

Microsoft Safety Scanner

Microsoft Safety Scanner provides full and comprehensive on-demand antimalware scans. It offers robust offline scan and cleanup capabilities. However, it does not provide the real-time and cloud-based protection that is available with Windows Security.

Safety Scanner covers both prevalent and less notable threats. It is recommended as a more robust alternative to the Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Download Safety Scanner