Keep Business Technology Safe While Working Remotely
The COVID-19 pandemic forced thousands of companies and millions of employees to adapt quickly. In many cases, businesses are operating with mostly remote workplaces.
In the rapid shift to working from home, employees are grappling with unfamiliar patterns of work life. They may be supervising homeschooling for children while managing their health and financial concerns. At the same time, they are grappling with new technologies that were mostly unfamiliar a few weeks ago.
In the scramble, companies also have had to reconsider policies and procedures. Employees are now using home WiFi networks to access company files and servers. They’re using their own devices and technologies, which may not have the same capabilities or security that business-issued equipment does.
The silver lining in the rapid shift? It’s possible and keeping companies operational.
“Remote work also presents unique opportunities in the face of crisis, such as a natural disaster or an epidemic,” notes a recent Business News Daily article. “The ability of many workers to perform their job duties entirely from home can help protect both the public health and the continued success of the business.”
What Do Businesses Need to Consider for the Next Pandemic?
It all adds up to a host of questions companies need to address, both during the current crisis but also in preparing for future public health incidents that may require a dramatic change in working conditions. Cybersecurity has to be one of the primary drivers in answering these questions, ensuring that business technology and data remain protected.
Company leaders should consider the following:
- Which employees need to work from home? IT and cybersecurity staff may need access to systems stored onsite, while some employees may need to enter the office to access secure files that cannot be accessed via home WiFi.
- Do they have the technologies available to work effectively? In some cases, employees working from home have been able to use company-issued laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and other equipment. But many employees may not have the technologies, including enough bandwidth or modern home computer systems, to work effectively. The company needs to plan for these contingencies and keep employees productive, whether working with company-issued or personal technology
- Can your company network service and cloud solutions support the extra demand of a mostly remote workplace? The current stresses on access to company and cloud services are unprecedented. Poor access restricts employee productivity and adds to their stress levels.
- Is licensing for firewalls and servers adequate to allow employees to access software applications? Check your contract language and contact vendors, many of whom may be flexible during these unprecedented circumstances.
- Are there files or information that employees working remotely should not access? Restrictions that may be in place when accessing systems from the office should carry over to remote work configurations. Now is the right time to check if there are permissions and protocols to block access to sensitive files. Companies also need to check if the issue is the files themselves, accessing them using less-secure personal devices and home WiFi networks, or both.
- Can meetings and collaborations happen using Microsoft Teams or videoconferencing platforms like Zoom? Usage for these two apps has boomed since the pandemic took hold. It means unfamiliar technologies that can lead to security issues if not configured and used correctly.
- Can your business phone system support a remote workforce? If your business phones cannot handle remote work, you may need to switch to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) cloud solution to provide anytime and anywhere access.
- Are your employees trained? Employee training is the first and primary line of defense to preventing cyberattacks, which are on the rise during the pandemic. Employees need to know how to spot phishing attacks and what to do with suspicious emails or texts.
Is your company prepared for changes in how the business operates? At Menark Technologies, we’re here to serve you during these challenging times with managed IT, strategic technology consulting, and cybersecurity solutions. To learn more, contact us today.