Allowing employees to work remotely from home or other off-site locations can increase productivity for workers, reduce costs for the company and create beneficial flexibility to keep operations going if something happened to your business’s primary physical location. However, remote work, or telecommuting, needs to be conducted carefully with the help of established company policies in order to protect workers, your clients and your company.
Information security is the largest challenge for companies with remote workers. Physical loss or theft of devices containing data or access to data is much more likely. Remote workers will usually be in possession of laptops and/or mobile data drives issued by the company to allow them to work with the same systems and information as workers located in-house. The protection of building security, key cards and the watching eyes of other employees will not be able to protect their equipment.
Another aspect of security to be cautious about is using company-issued equipment for non-work related tasks. If laptops are accessed by family members, they could potentially download a virus or spyware. The same could happen if an employee got lax and used their company equipment for personal use. Companies should also be aware of how any sensitive data or documents will be stored and disposed of. Physical print outs especially need to be disposed of properly.
To protect your employee and your company’s interests, be sure that all equipment requires passwords and encryption for access. A thorough policy should be established regarding the line between personal and company property and activity for remote workers to prevent missteps from happening. When establishing the employee’s remote worksite, be sure that any wireless connection is secured and that your company has a policy about using unsecured connections (such as at hotels and other public spaces) for work tasks. Companies can also set up Virtual Private Network (VPN) access for connecting to the company’s networks, to ensure that access is secure.
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