Guidelines & Tips for Employees Working Remotely
This is certainly an unprecedented time in our recent history! Most of us have never had to experience businesses and other infrastructure being closed by government mandate. Many businesses have been caught off guard by the recent Corona Virus (Covid-19) outbreak including even those that had disaster recovery plans. Those plans typically included working from another location. No one really expected not being able to use another location and not being able to congregate together. This has added a new level of challenges to businesses striving to continue to work. Thankfully today’s technology is keeping many businesses (including ours) up and running…albeit in a different way.
Working remotely, whether short-term or permanent comes with many perks, but it also poses many new risks for the security of your organization’s data. For example, if an employee-owned device (laptop, PC, etc.) is connected to the company’s network and contains a virus or malware, it could be spread to your company’s network. Additionally, many of those employee-owned devices are shared with multiple family members. You don’t really want your kids to have access to company email and files!
As you begin to navigate through the journey of working remotely, we’ve developed a list of guidelines and tips to assist you to work from home in a safe, and functional manner.
Note, this list is intended for guidance and information purposes only. If you have any questions regarding working remotely, please reach out to us at 330.499.1599 and we would be happy to have a conversation with you.
Guidelines & Tips
SECURE WORK SPACE
- If you do not have a home office area, try to find a quiet corner of your house to setup your temporary office in. A finished basement, guest bedroom, or dining room are good locations. A room with a door is especially ideal for privacy and quiet during those conference and video calls. Of course I think most people will understand if they hear your kids or pets in the background!
- Ensure you lock your devices (laptop, PC, etc.) when not in use. For a Windows device, simply press the Windows key and “L”. This returns the device to a login screen where a password must be entered and the best part is you can leave your programs and files open. Close everything and power off at the end of the day. Laptops and devices should be physically secured out of sight and/or in the trunk if it must be left in a vehicle unattended.
- Avoid using your personal devices for work-related business. Your company should be prepared to offer laptops, tablets, or allow you to take your equipment home when feasible.
- Safely perform conversations without visitors eavesdropping or shoulder surfing. (OK this was before they closed down restaurants and coffee shops. I don’t think your pets will give away any trade secrets…unless you own the Bush’s Baked Beans dog. Your children though may be a different story?)
- Protect the data you are accessing by using a VPN or other secure remote access platform to log into the company network. This is especially critical for employees who are required to be HIPAA compliant, PCI compliant, etc.
- Restrict the use of devices containing business-relevant information. Do not let family members, friends, or anyone but yourself use company-owned devices or personal devices used for business purposes.
- Use strong unique passwords on all your devices and accounts to prevent unauthorized access.
- Change default Wi-Fi Router passwords. You don’t want your neighbors on your network.
- Enable WPA-2 or higher encryption.
- Ensure your local router firmware is up to date.
- Ensure all personal devices are secure with company-provided antivirus and antimalware software.
- Be extremely cautious of email phishing scams. Many are already using this outbreak to scam individuals and businesses.
We will carry on and weather this storm together! Network Design Consultants is prepared to help your business in any way that we can. Most importantly stay safe and stay healthy!
As the owner of Network Design Consultants, over the last 11 years I have had the pleasure of meeting many hard-working business owners while assisting them with their IT systems. In my spare time I love to enjoy the great outdoors, travel, serve in my local church, and sneak in a little golf. I reside in Jackson township, (Canton) Ohio with my lovely wife and two beautiful daughters.