Keys to a Secure Remote Work Program
Allowing employees to work remotely from home or other off-site locations can increase productivity for workers, reduce costs for your company and create beneficial flexibility to keep operations going if something happened to your office location in the event of a disaster. The benefits seem endless! However, remote work, or telecommuting, needs to be conducted carefully with the help of established company policies to protect workers, your clients and your company.
For the organization, one of the most tangible benefits of remote workers is the decrease in costs associated with having on-site employees. Workspace real estate can be reduced or kept at current levels, while still allowing your staff to grow. Companies can reduce utility expenses, reducing their overall carbon footprint. In addition, your employees can enjoy a savings on gas, car maintenance expenses and meals.
Many employees flourish in a remote work situation. The flexibility it allows can increase morale and help balance work and home life, resulting in increased productivity. Remote work options allow a company to employ talent from all over the world.
Enough of the benefits. What’s the largest challenge for companies with remote workers? Information security. Physical loss or theft of devices containing data or access to data is much more likely. Remote workers will usually be in possession of laptops and/or mobile data drives issued by the company to allow them to work with the same systems and information as workers located in-house. The protection of building security, key cards and the watching eyes of other employees will not be able to protect their equipment.
Another aspect of security to be cautious about is using company-issued equipment for non-work related tasks. If laptops are accessed by family members they could potentially download a virus or spyware. The same could happen if an employee got lax and used their company equipment for personal use. Companies should also be aware of how any sensitive data or documents will be stored and disposed of. Physical print outs, especially, need to be disposed of properly.
To protect your employee and your company’s interests, be sure that all equipment requires passwords and encryption for access. A thorough policy should be established regarding the line between personal and company property and activity for remote workers to prevent missteps from happening. When establishing the employees remote worksite, be sure that any wireless connection is secured and that your company has a policy about using unsecured connections (such as at hotels and other public spaces) for work tasks. Companies can also set up VPN (Virtual Private Network) access for connecting to the company’s networks, to ensure that access is secure.
Contact the ‘A’ Team for more information on protecting your business’s best interests and planning for business continuity and growth.
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