Network Security Concerns for Remote Workers

The idea of the office is one that has changed significantly over the years. Thanks to mobility and better connectivity, workers can send invoices on the train, meet with clients on a screen in a hotel room, and work on cases at home. The boom in the remote work space allows more work to be done, it is cutting costs, and yes, it is leading to significant security concerns. Matthijssen reviews common network security concerns with remote workers.

The virtual office is one that involves many players and devices. One of the most common policies in the modern work space is BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. This allows users to work from their own devices, it permits cohesive connectivity without meeting in the flesh, and it reduces infrastructure expenses. As companies reorganize infrastructure and remove company-owned devices, they need to have a plan in place that does not lose sight of the increased vulnerability and potential for loss.

Common Threats for Remote Workers

Remote workers are not tethered to a desk, which means their devices can be stolen, hacked and lost. Lack of encryption, failure to use device passwords, and unsecure network access puts not only the client and client data at risk, but the factors expose the company as well. No business or industry is immune. Threats can even be something as simple as kids at home and shared family domains. If your company permits or encourages remote commuting, your office must take steps to ensure the integrity of EVERY transaction and device, and the company’s image.

Ways to Improve Network Security

Three strategies aid in protecting your company’s remote security, and each won’t kill your company’s budget.

  1. Require passwords and multi-step verification

Passwords, passwords, passwords. The first line of defense against outside intrusions is a PIN or password. Company’s must set password requirements. There must also be a lockout feature or deactivation feature that kicks in when a password or PIN is typed in incorrectly a set number of times.

Many applications require a two-step verification process that requires two verifications into the app before access is granted. For example, after a user enters the password correctly, a separate code or alert is sent to a registered mobile number. The code must be entered or the user must allow entry from the smartphone.

  1. Move to the cloud

Web-based cloud solutions and applications can improve your company’ remote security, and the cloud is compliant with various industry regulations, such as HIPAA. It is important to recognize that we are talking about business-grade cloud programs and applications, not personal cloud services. The cloud requires passwords for access, data is not stored on a device, but encrypted and stored online, and managers and owners can control employee access.

  1. Establish guidelines for connectivity

You spend a great deal of time revamping and testing your office’s network security, but what are your strategies for ensuring safe network connectivity outside the office? A company must draft security policies and standards to which all users must adhere when out of the office. The policy must state that users cannot access free Wi-Fi, unsecured connections, or Bluetooth connections they do not recognize. Users must secure their own networks at home as well.

The professionals at Matthijssen can help you review your company’s existing policies for remote workers and make suggestions for a safe and secure environment.