How safe is your company information with the employees that work from home?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a large company or a small business, looking to grow. If you use remote employees to provide you with necessary services, you may be losing some productivity time yourself, wondering if you’re getting your dollars’ worth out of that employee, during a work-day when you really can’t monitor their activity. It’s an understandable reaction because it’s easy to picture your employee binging on Netflix on their couch rather than working.
But if slacking off is what you’re worried about, you’re overlooking the real danger of letting employees work at home. The problem isn’t whether they are getting work done, it’s that letting them work from home can possibly put you and your company in a compromised security risk or breach!
Thanks to significant advances in networking and mobile technologies, more people are working less and less from the office. Increasingly, we work from client locations, hotels, home offices and sometimes even from summertime beach getaways.
This current ability work from anywhere has enabled companies to keep the best employees, regardless of where they may live, and swelled the ranks of “virtual” companies, whose employees meet constantly online, but rarely in a physical location. But along with the swelling ranks of employees that are now working from home comes the risk that the data they are passing along back and forth to other staff employees, can be compromised.
But with this advantage, there is a new issue of keeping machines and data secure becomes more challenging. All those far-flung devices can become infected with malware that may also infiltrate the company’s network and make off with valuable company data. Mobile devices also are susceptible to data leaks because they can be lost or stolen, as well as more easily accessed by an outsider. When data disappears, financial, legal and reputational problems can quickly follow. Remember, with the growth and speed of social media today, there is no lag time between knowing your private company information has been compromised, and perhaps that also of your clients, and this can be made public in a matter of minutes instead of days.
Here are a few ways that you can help prevent remote access from your employee’s devices causing havoc with your companies resources, and in turn, compromising both yours and your client’s information.
Protect remote users’ devices.
Most data-stealing malware that infects PCs arrives via the web and email. In an ideal situation, you’d reduce the chances of a security breach by barring personal web browsing and emailing by workers on work computers. Unfortunately, in practice, it’s a very hard thing and a very costly thing to enforce. Ultimately, we want the machines to be able to go anywhere and still be protected.
To reduce the chances of a malware infection, use security software and practice good computer hygiene by using the latest versions of all applications and installing new security patches immediately. It’s risky to rely on workers to take care of updating applications, so activate automatic updates from software makers or use a patch-management tool — such as Windows Intune for Windows users to distribute updates to remote computers yourself.
To mitigate potential damage from a lost device, install whole-disk encryption software, which can keep unauthorized people from accessing any of its data. Also, install remote wipe apps on mobile devices so you can erase data if the device is gone forever.
Create a secure connection to the company network.
You could also set up a system to provide remote workers with secure access to your corporate network.
Traditional systems include technologies like virtual private network (VPN) software, which encrypts remote workers’ internet traffic, along with tools that make sure remote computers have security patches installed, are configured correctly and are monitored for signs of infection.
Many small companies ensconced in the Windows world use Microsoft’s Windows Small Business Server to enable remote network access and protect data, among other things.
The key is to make sure your remote employees, are doing their share of protecting their connection to the internet, with at least a router that provides encryption capabilities along with your companies necessary protocols in place.
If you’re looking for more information on how you can safeguard your remote employees access to your files. Give the team at Black Arrow Marketing a call and we can work with you to get the right level of security your looking for, especially if you’re a small business that is looking for safe, secure, growth!