Designing a safe remote work strategy

Cybersecurity at home

Over the past few blogs, we’ve discussed how we got to where we are with remote work as well as the challenges and considerations that are key to making a remote work environment permanent for your employees. In this blog, we answer the question, “Okay, but how do we do it?” It is not enough to simply allow your employees to go remote. Your company must ensure that employees can collaborate easily and that their technology allows them to be productive. You also must protect your data and networks from the risk that remote work introduces. In addition, creating a comprehensive remote work strategy as part of an overall strategic IT roadmap that includes timelines and budgets can help your business plan for the future without surprises.

Enabling collaboration and engagement

Collaboration tools are a crucial piece in keeping remote workers productive, creative, and connected to your company culture. There are several solutions available that enable employees to engage with one another. For example, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams include a comprehensive suite of tools that can improve your employees’ ability to engage with one another. Instant messaging (in chat rooms and between individuals), audio and video calling, rich online meetings, mobile experiences, extensive web conferencing capabilities, file storage, tool integration, and more make Microsoft 365 an ideal solution for those looking to make remote work successful.

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Keeping your company data and assets secure

Whether you implement a fully remote workforce, a hybrid approach, or just let people work from home when they or their children are ill or have other personal needs, security is one of the most important aspects of remote work to consider. When it comes to remote work security, the idea is that you cannot eliminate risk, so you must mitigate it.

One aspect of security planning for remote work is a usage policy. Usage policies are business rules and processes that employees agree to follow when working from home or in other remote locations—such as the use of laptops on insecure networks, the types of other devices that can be on the same network, password requirements, and more. The usage policy should be included in your remote work strategy and clearly communicated to employees during training. In addition, every SMB should have a security prevention, detection, and remediation tool, such as Microsoft 365 Security Plus, regardless of whether they undertake a remote work strategy. Ensuring your security tools cover not only your office network, but also your employees’ home networks is equally important.

Most home networks are insecure. They have dozens of devices connected to them—laptops, tablets, phones, TVs, printers, kitchen and laundry appliances, security cameras, smart home devices, virtual reality, doorbell cameras, and more. Every one of these devices is treated as an equal citizen on your employees’ home networks and each is vector that can be compromised and put your company data at risk. Your employees may also have other members of their household working from home, meaning that devices and data from two separate companies are sharing the same network.

As a business owner, you cannot require your employees to eliminate their smart homes, but you can design around it. Logic Speak is evaluating technology that provides a hardware layer of abstraction between insecure home networks and the employee laptops that access your company’s networks and data. With this technology, instead of connecting to their home wireless networks, employees connect to a device, which then connects out to the internet—segmenting your company data away from the other devices on the network.

Training is an often-overlooked piece of security. You can utilize training to not only teach employees how to set up secure networks in their homes, but also how to recognize attempts to breach your systems. While this type of training is rarely used in small businesses currently, it is more crucial when moving to remote work.

Enabling success

Throughout this blog series, we’ve covered important challenges, technology considerations, and security needs that must be addressed by SMBs that wish to implement remote work. Addressing these issues on your own can be daunting and is not likely within the budget or bandwidth constraints of your existing IT staff. That’s where a qualified managed service provider (MSP) can help. An MSP such as Logic Speak can help you develop a remote work strategy that encompasses all of the necessary considerations and technologies, with a strategic plan that includes timelines and budgets. Logic Speak’s Success department has vast experience in developing strategic IT roadmaps with expertise in standards and best practices, budgeting, and prioritization. They get to know your business, understand your remote work needs, and utilize a process-driven, strategic methodology to help you create your remote work strategy.

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