Remote Work Policy: Why Your Organization Needs One

Prior to Internet communications, places of business had standard working hours, usually 9-5. The once normal eight-hour workday has morphed into an “always on, always ready” day, so much that if businesses haven’t gotten on board with modern communications, they’re not likely to stay relevant to compete.

But is all of this a good thing? Working remotely is beneficial to both the employee and the employer. Statistics all say good things; research suggests that workers without workplace flexibility would be willing to make substantial trade-offs to have access to telecommuting and/or flex hour programs; they were more satisfied and productive in the workplace when they have flexibility and control. In the call center, managers take advantage of the employer/employee benefit of working remotely, but how can an employer keep tabs on their security if they’re logging into work files from a remote location?

Studies show that most companies think mobile workers increase their security risks. An iPass survey –“2018 Mobile Security Report” found that the majority of CIOs suspected their mobile workers had been hacked in the last 12 months. 67 percent of respondents believed most Wi-Fi-related security incidents occurred at cafes and coffee shops, and nearly half of the CIOs surveyed said Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives had increased security risks.

Use Software, Safe Connections

The main risk for workers is the vulnerability of their data when sharing it online. In a conventional office, workers communicate in onsite meetings and brainstorm at the water cooler, while in the freelance world, most contact between employees and workers is online.

Make sure remote employees have access to the right communication tools. Teleconferencing, online-meeting and file-sharing services foster collaboration among remote teams. Confirm that everyone can stay in touch easily and access the information they need quickly and securely.

Ensure work data and personal information are separated, preferably on different machines.

Never send or open sensitive data over public Wi-Fi. Don’t trust unsecured Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and switch them off when not in use. Always connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that internet traffic is encrypted, especially if connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Connect to the VPN before connecting to Wi-Fi; even the couple of seconds it takes to log into a VPN is a potential window of opportunity for cyber criminals.

After completing a project, ensure a client’s data has been properly erased after encrypting it and backing it up to a secure location. Never use external devices to store sensitive data unless it is encrypted.

The key to managing security for remote workers is to institute enforceable security measures right now, even if it costs a bit of money up front. After all, cyber criminals are not going to give up any time soon.

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