Allowing employees to work remotely can open new doors for your company, as long as nothing else creeps in the doors behind them. Remote work allows for higher levels of productivity, as well as expanding your range to cover highly talented workers who may be located far away from your offices.
One of the biggest potential issues of allowing remote workers is the potential treat to your security. Since these people are in their own environments, you’ll need to change the way you approach security.
- Give Them The Same Software You Use at the Office
Consistency in security measures makes it easy to unify updates and maintenance. If your remote employees are using their own devices to work, give them access to the same antivirus and antimalware software your whole office uses. It’s easier to make sure everyone is on the same page, and you’ll know that your IT team and thoroughly protect everyone.
- Using a VPN
VPNs have two distinct advantages for remote workers. For one, they protect traffic securely by putting everyone into the same private tunnel, and they also can help bypass region restrictions. Some content can’t be accessed from everywhere, no matter how innocuous it seems. Even streaming services like Netflix might require a VPN to bypass region restrictions outside the US. If some of your resources or materials are specific to your region and your employees are out of the country, they might need to use VPNs to bypass blocks safely.
- Limit Access to Information They Don’t Need
Controlling the amount of sensitive data your remote employees receive can reduce the potential of that data falling into the wrong hands. If they have everything and their device becomes compromised, the problem is a lot more serious. If they only have what they need, it’s easier to do damage control.
- Discourage Them From Working On Their Phones
It’s a lot easier to steal or misplace a phone than it is with a computer. Your employees take their phones everywhere, and all they need to do is lose it or forget it one time in order to compromise everything that can be accessed from that phone. Encourage them to keep their devices in their home office or other secure areas where other people won’t be able to access them.
- Use the Cloud When You Can
When you put work materials on the cloud, you have a lot less to worry about. Cloud based services can be accessed from anywhere, and the providers are responsible for keeping all of that information safe. Many small businesses turn to Cloud based alternatives to satisfy security concerns.
- Follow Password and Email Policies
You probably have your employees change their passwords every few weeks just to be on the safe side. Make sure your remote employees are doing the same thing. Have them choose passwords that incorporate numbers and symbols, as well as both uppercase and lowercase letters.
You’ll also want a policy about email attachments. Let them know who they can and cannot open email attachments from. Nobody knows what may be lurking in those files until after they’ve been downloaded and opened.
- Train Employees in Security
By training your employees in security, you’re giving them the tools they need to be proactive about security concerns. Teaching them a few good sense policies, as well as how to spot anything suspicious, can save you in the long run. Your remote employees won’t be able to interact with your IT specialists as easily as your office employees, so make sure they know enough to navigate the basics on their own.
It’s best to leave no stone unturned when it comes to the security of your business. Make sure you regularly speak to your remote employees about your security policies, and create a manual they can refer to if they have any questions.
About the Author: Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.