The tides of reality are changing. Workers today search for a new lifestyle that takes them away from the brick and mortar office walls and back into the comfort of home. The reality is remote workers are growing more and more common. The demand for a flexible working lifestyle is leading business discussions this year. But with such a strong change in work lifestyle, new challenges arise for companies to adopt to this new world. How do we protect our data online remotely?
According to the Global Mobile Workforce Forecast Update, employees working remotely is suppose to increase to 42.5% of the working population by 2022. Almost half of the working population of the world will most likely be using a personal computer to access company files and information from multiple corners of the globe. Positively, working remotely is said to bring worker efficiency, a happier lifestyle and more global talent opportunities for companies; however, like any major change, key steps need to be taken to ensure that the company continues to run smoothly. One of these key steps is information security.
With this new work reality, companies need to adopt their information security to become more remote worker friendly. The game field is changing. With remote work, workers are taking important company information outside of the safety of company servers and locked company doors. Now that information can be accessed anywhere from a laptop, security needs to move to the individual computer systems that remote workers have decided to use to conduct their work. Companies must conduct training exercises and provide the right technology for employees to be successful at security remotely. This new environment will need to be secured well.
What actions can we adopt to secure this new future?
Secure your Workplace
Information security starts with the environment that you surround yourself in. Companies need to work with remote workers to ensure they are providing themselves a safe working environment that stays away from prying eyes. This can be achieved simply by educating the employee on choosing a quiet, closed-door area to conduct their work. Public areas are fine, but here companies need to look into installing remote desktops. This helps when an employee leaves their computer to grab a coffee, the desktop automatically disconnects after a time of non-action thus not allowing other eyes to see information. Further, it’s important to encourage employees to install a strong password on their computer. So when the employee leaves, two security steps are created.
Limitations to Connecting to Public Wi-Fi
Public wi-fi is one of the easiest places for malicious activity to occur. An unsecured network is a network that doesn’t require any password or credentials to access it. These networks leave the users open to password theft, credit card theft and man-in-the-middle interceptions. Now, this sounds like a risky situation for your company data. It’s important to train remote workers on the vulnerabilities of public wi-fi, and discourage them from connecting during work.
Personal Company VPN
A VPN is a private and controlled network that connects you to the internet. This connection is encrypted making it more difficult for outsiders to eavesdrop on personal information. It’s one more step in securing your network when having remote employees.
Encourage Regular Updates on Employee Computers
Protecting your company online starts with regular and informative communication about information security with your remote employees. Encourage employees to keep computer software up-to-date on their personal devices. Out-of-date computers is one of the top ways that malicious criminals can find vulnerabilities in your system and exploit it. Don’t let these criminals take advantage of the situation when regular computer updates can help. To be successful, form weekly online security email newsletters and keep information security communication open between the company and remote employees.
Remote worker monitoring is quickly developing into a needed tool for tracking time, productivity and the success of employees. Monitoring can have great advantages for both employee and company. Employees have facts and information to support their case for a raise, or dispute a time card. Businesses benefit from having available user data to determine how to streamline projects, and protect company assets against malicious activity. Teramind offers the remote employee monitoring software to help companies adopt to this information security future.
In a short time, almost half of the working population of the world will be taking their work online. It’s more important than ever to adopt your information security strategy to remote workers. Take these considerations in mind, and leave your own suggestions in the comments.