Working Remotely :: Getting Started & Security MeasuresIT Resource
As the COVID-19 virus spreads worldwide, businesses are facing significant and unique challenges. Government entities and healthcare officials are urging people to work from home, however, this can present a series of obstacles for companies who are not already set up to do so on a larger scale.
The coronavirus will impact the economy as a whole and supply chain disruptions will make certain industries more vulnerable. The inability to get parts, changing costs of supplies, and facility/office shutdowns will provide an exponential ripple effect through multiple industries. While the ultimate outcome of the coronavirus outbreak is uncertain, making it impossible to predict the impact it may have, we can offer guidance and assistance in certain areas to ease the transition and limit the disruption to daily operations.
Since there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, the CDC has laid out suggestions to help stop the spread of the virus. The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus – which ultimately means avoiding contact with others and staying home. Here are a few key things to consider when preparing employees to work remotely:
- Having enough laptops, monitors, phones, and other equipment for remote workers is essential.
- Workers will need the appropriate licenses for software or Virtual Private Network.
- Do you have the appropriate amount of internet bandwidth to support the influx of employees working remotely?
- Finally, remote desktop is a great option to help facilitate the transition to working remotely.
Having the right hardware, software, infrastructure, and security measures in place will make all the difference. This is a lot to navigate, but by having an outside partner who understands your specific situation will allow for smoother operational practices as you prepare for the weeks and months ahead.
Cyber Security & Awareness
The influx of employees working remotely increases the risk for security breaches and cyber attacks. These work-from-home programs allow for enhanced business continuity, but they also pose increased cybersecurity risks by creating additional, and potentially vulnerable, avenues for malicious activity. This is a crucial time to review your current cybersecurity protocols and determine whether they must be enhanced prior to introducing a work-from-home environment. At a minimum, businesses should require two-factor authentication for accessing company networks, email, laptops and mobile devices.
It’s also important to note that when we face crisis situations, we see a tremendous spike in malicious activity, including malware attacks and phishing emails. Cyber criminals use this time to take advantage of people and companies who are vulnerable. Security awareness training is the best way your business can prepare for heightened security measures. Phishing emails are constantly evolving, with hackers getting more clever and deceptive by the day. Your employees can never know too much about safety and security – especially now. Security awareness training can be set up remotely, providing employees crucial knowledge when it comes to identifying a potential scam.
Finally, employees working remotely are more likely to forward emails containing company information to their personal email accounts; or store company information on unprotected laptops and mobile devices. This makes security awareness training and reminders about company policies even more critical.
When you plan for every “what if” scenario, you can mitigate certain situations that would typically derail your company. These are the important things to consider as you prepare for a work-from-home environment:
- Can each employee laptop/device connect to the organization remotely?
- Does each employee have access to email and all necessary files to do their job?
- Can everyone access voicemail from their home phone or personal cell phone?
- Do we have enough licenses for everyone to work remotely?
- Do we need to purchase any additional equipment to get people set up?
- Does everyone understand security protocol to prevent malware attacks and phishing scams?
- Do you have two-factor authentication set up?
- Can essential functions like payroll, HR, purchasing, operations, quality control, legal, and engineering still function?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it may be in your best interest to consult an outside IT partner. We understand this is a time of uncertainty for many organizations and individuals, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out, we’re here you help and support you. If you want to get started on a fully remote workforce strategy to conform to the need for isolation while still maintaining business, reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.837.6930.