Transitioning to remote work is challenging for both parties: employees who were not previously involved in the remote work have to learn how to properly manage their time, focus on the tasks ignoring home distractions, and maintain a work-life balance. Employers, on the other hand, need to put a lot of financial and organizational efforts in order to build the remote infrastructure.
Here comes the collision of productivity and security of remote employees, that business owners need to address:
When it comes to data sharing in remote environments, companies often use conventional file-sharing services like Google Drive or similar to collaborate on shared files. While they are easy to operate, usually it’s not limit the number of simultaneous edits. It may turn the collaboration into a mess, and slow downloading for spreadsheets saturated with formulas. Moreover, you don’t have control over the system monitoring and users who access the files. In such cases, the chances of data leakage are increasing.
Solution: Adopting a reliable distributed file system (DFS) solution speeds up file access, increases the protection of personal information, and gives you control over file management. You can find more information, including, the benefits of secure cloud file-sharing services, on this page.
Using external resources during work-time may distract employees from their tasks. Apart from pretty innocent resources like Youtube or Netflix that serve as time killers, there are malicious websites that automatically download viruses and adware that put your system at risk.
Solution: Apart from installing firewalls and antivirus software, limit the number of external resources inside the network to minimize the risks of infecting the system. If your company handles communication with customers or vendors, instruct your employees to use a virtual machine when checking external links.
Permissions and password management
Managing permissions and passwords may be a time-consuming process for your system admins. It may take from several hours to the whole day to arrange all the required accesses for a person who either joins the team or enters the new position in the same company. Regular password rotation and revoking access when someone leaves become an additional headache to your admins.
Solution: setting up the active directory to have centralized control over the password policies (to regulate strength requirements, password expiry period, password history checks to reject previously used passwords), permissions, and roles when all the required resources become available automatically after assigning the corresponding role, as well as automatic cleanup of the unused accounts.
P.S. Don’t forget about the least privilege model when your workers are granted only with minimum accesses that allows them to perform daily tasks.
Using personal devices
Many remote workers use personal devices to access corporate resources, and sometimes they do not pay sufficient attention to malware protection, use weak passwords and forget to perform regular updates that may negatively impact the security of the working environment, as unprotected devices.
Solution: One of the solutions will be to limit the device usage only to corporate devices that will be corresponding to all the security standards. If you allow workers to use their personal laptops, make sure to develop a Bring Your Own Device policy (aka BYOD) setting up the requirements to use only licensed software, the latest OS version, and antivirus. Also, don’t forget about the regular security audits for external devices.
The remote work is not going away anytime soon, on the contrary, after the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 25% of companies will be switching some of their employees to permanent telecommuting. That’s why we need to adapt to the new reality.
Introducing the aforementioned solutions to your remote workspace does not only encourage your employees to be more productive but also ensures the security and integrity of your network.