Prepared For A Long Term Work From Home Scenario?
In March and April of 2020, most businesses moving towards a work from home organizational model thought it would be a temporary adjustment. However, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the globe and COVID-19 cases are on the rise in nearly every state in the U.S., business owners are beginning to realize that having their teams working from home is likely to be the new normal.
Is your company prepared for a long-term work from home scenario? Here are 4 things to make sure you have on board.
1. A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, creates a private, secure network using a public connection to the Internet. It masks your IP address and makes it difficult for the online activity of anyone using your network to trace. A VPN is designed to offer businesses an additional security layer when protecting important data, like customer identifying information, health insurance information, medical records, and financial information. Discuss with your IT professional about implementing a VPN for your company if you plan for your team to continue working from home and accessing your network from various locations.
2. Password Management Software
One of the biggest risks to a company’s online security is actually one of the simplest to fix. Employees often choose weak, easy-to-remember passwords that hackers can bypass without issue. This is particularly true when your business operations require the use of multiple applications that each require a login. A password manager can help you generate complex, hard-to-crack passwords that your employees don’t have to keep track of. The password manager auto-fills the information, and each employee only requires one (very secure) password.
3. Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication
With passwords becoming so easy to crack, many businesses have started to use two-factor or multi-factor authentication to verify users. Essentially, this means that a user will need to log into your network using a password, but also a second form of identification, such as a code texted to their mobile device. Other ways users can be authenticated include fingerprint technology, verifying a telephone number, or even advanced biometrics.
4. Extensive Employee Training
Your employees are your largest risk when it comes to protecting your company’s sensitive data. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all employees are malicious and will steal data if given the opportunity—quite the opposite. Many staff members responsible for data breaches did so accidentally by responding to a phishing scam they believed was genuine or failing to update their password frequently enough. Ensure your employees receive extensive, ongoing training on how to identify suspicious network activity and mitigate risks in their day-to-day work. Your employees should always be up-to-date on spotting the latest security risks and what to do to eliminate them.
Is Your Business Prepared to Work from Home Long-Term?
Even if working from home isn’t critical for your business, if you have the means and ability, it’s in the best interests of yourself and your staff to do so. Changing the way things have always been done can be hard for companies and their employees, but in 2020, switching to virtual workspaces is more important than ever before for everyone’s health and safety.
Many businesses suggest that even though they anticipated their teams working from home for extended periods of time being a problem, they were surprised to learn that employees were more effective, more efficient, and happier on the job. It looks like working from home isn’t going to end anytime soon — is your business prepared?
Michael is the President and owner of tech42 LLC. He has more than 20 years of cross-discipline experience in the information technology industry, and has worked both as a network engineer and software developer. He is a passionate student of the interaction between technology and business and leveraging that knowledge to help tech42’s clients achieve both technology and business success.