Are Your Employees Working Remotely, Safely?

By Chad Stigant|21 September 2018

The trend to remote working is highly beneficial for both employers and employees. Remote workers (whether working from home, from a client’s offices or from hotels or cafes) are more productive, they often have better work-life balance, and they can also save their companies money. 

IT Are you Keeping up with the Pace of Change?

According to a Canada Life survey, home or remote workers rank their productivity at 7.7/10 compared to those in the office, ranking themselves at 6.5/10. Remote workers, even those who only occasionally work this way, also have lower levels of stress. 

Employees with the option to work remotely are also less likely to look for other employment. Businesses save money and benefit from a more productive workforce, a more creative, solutions-focused team of employees. According to a Cisco study, 90% of managers “believe that workers are more productive when given the flexibility to choose when and how they work.”

However, these benefits aside, security is always going to be a concern for managers and IT teams. How can you make sure remote working won’t compromise information security and data?

In this post we share 4 ways to get the benefits of a remote workforce without compromising security and IT Risks.

If you would like to find out more about how to increase the mobility of your staff, and how to align your organisation’s IT infrastructure with remote working, please get in touch with our team.

We can advise you on appropriate solutions such as cloud platforms, and discuss further ways to increase productivity, reduce risks and ensure your business is compliant with data protection regulations and other regulatory requirements. 

How to keep remote workers secure 

#1: Know what devices they're using

Employees are more inclined to use a device familiar to them than a works device: a laptop, tablet or smartphone. It makes it easier, keeping texts, apps, email and work-related services on one or more devices that they use all the time. 

The challenge can be keeping those devices secure. Accessing work email, productivity apps, shared drive or customer data over an insecure network is opening the door to a potential data breach. Even home Wi-Fi networks aren't failsafe, and public networks are even more vulnerable. Staff access should be secured through an encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN), making access as secure for those working off site as for those employees who are working on site. Are your employees working remotely, safely?

#2: Secure app/email and server access 

To keep internal and sensitive data safe, you should know who has access to servers, emails and shared apps. Maintaining admin level identify and access control, and a digital trail, should safeguard your organisation from any potential data breaches and, a threat that companies sometimes have to deal with; internal data theft. 

These controls will reduce the risk of an unhappy employee stealing data, such as taking customer details to a competitor and putting your business in breach of GDPR.

#3: Proactive IT security 

All too often, cyber attacks occur after malicious software - such as malware - has been roaming around inside your systems for a while. With modern security software, it can automatically identify unusual activity and resource use and then react to neutralise the threat.

When staff work remotely there is a greater risk that something could slip through the net and cause damage. Reduce the risk by deploying cyber security tools that monitor and proactively identify and prevent cyber threats escalating. 

#4: IT support 

Remote workers need the same level of IT support as those working from the office. If something goes wrong, they need to know that IT support can fix the problem. Make sure your internal or external IT support team can provide a resolution to support tickets, calls or emails just as quickly as though the employee is in the office. Preventing IT risks for business continuity is important for companies.

At the same time, ensure IT support is providing the most up-to-date self-serve options, including AI-powered messenger bots and resources that can help staff solve problems themselves. Remote workers want to be more efficient. With robust IT support, you can drive forward your whole team's productivity.

Remote working is a trend more employers are embracing. It improves productivity, morale, and gives staff the ability to work the same number of hours whilst fitting in other commitments as needed. Flexibility helps everyone. Companies immediately notice a productivity boost.

As a manager or business owner, you can help your team help you, with tools that make remote working more efficient and safer. Working with a trusted IT partner can equip you with the information and systems needed to keep remote workers and the data they can access safe and secure, whilst giving them the support necessary to keep working in case anything goes wrong.

Contact our team if you would like to discuss any of the subjects covered in this blog post in more detail.

To find out more about IT infrastructure and cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure download our Enterprise Cloud Strategy guide. 

Further Information

Enterprise Cloud Strategy

Guidance for enterprises looking for proven methods to take their application portfolio to the cloud.

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