Six Business-Critical Considerations for Securing your Remote Workforce

Written by
Jason
Published on
November 19, 2020 5:16:36 PM PST November 19, 2020 5:16:36 PM PSTth, November 19, 2020 5:16:36 PM PST

What a wild year it’s been. Among a host of other things, working from home is now a standardised practice for a lot of workers and businesses across Australia. Although workers will eventually return to the office, numbers suggest it will be much more of a hybrid-arrangement based on flexibility and personal preference. Gartner recently reported that pre-pandemic, 30% of employees were likely to work remotely some of the time, but post-pandemic that number looks like rising close to half with 48% of employees looking for a flexible arrangement.  

Irrespective of what the future might hold, one thing we’ve learnt for certain is how quickly Australian businesses can adapt in the face of disruption. But as business leaders and IT managers were engrossed in the race to facilitate remote work, certain questions and issues around security went unanswered or got missed.  

Now is a good time to address them. Below is a summary of questions you can use to evaluate your current practices and learn what you can do to improve.

 

Are your staff properly equipped to do their jobs securely? 

In a recent survey conducted by HP, 96% of respondents are now working from home, but only half say they have everything they need to work productively.1 If you have staff using personal devices for work practices, the likelihood of them possessing enterprise-grade security is small. HP EliteBook PCs powered by Intel® Core™ processors come with hardware-enforced security tools that are up for the fight.


Do you have visibility across your entire device fleet? 

HP research ranks having to manage more remote devices as one of the top 5 biggest challenges for IT managers right now.2 With more devices comes more possibility of missing something. Additionally, many businesses don’t have the right systems in place to correctly monitor and manage their devices remotely. All devices need to be up to date and regularly patched. Are yours? 


Are you aware of the circumstantial threats? 

The second biggest challenge currently being faced by IT managers is dealing with COVID-19 specific security risks.3 Cyber criminals are preying on the public’s thirst for information relating to the pandemic. Studies have found websites related to the health crisis are 50% more likely to pose a threat compared to other domains created during the same time-period.4 Are your staff educated on the current situation? 


Are your staff educated on best-practice for using collaboration tools? 

There’s been a notable rise in phishing and spyware instances. There are a number of practices you should have in place to mitigate these risks. All video conference calls should: 

  1. use password protection 
  2. leverage a ‘waiting room’ function that allows for potential guests to be vetted prior to entry 
  3. Lock meetings once everyone has joined 
  4. Disable private chat functionality  

Do you have these protocols in place?

 

Have you taken all the new IT vulnerabilities into account?  

With your staff working remotely, there’s a good chance they’re accessing business-sensitive information on an unsecure or less-secure network than that of the corporate office. Default passwords, and open and free ‘guest’ networks pose a security risk when anyone can connect to them. If possible, we recommend each employee leveraging a network solely for work purposes that has a suitable VPN included, eliminating the possibility of personal household devices compromising the work network. Are they using printers at home as well? Do these printers have the right security measures in place?


Do you have scope to correctly monitor and manage your remote workforce? 

Prior to the current norm, it was already universally known that IT teams on the whole, were under resourced and time-poor with shrinking budgets. But with them now being asked to manage a remote or hybrid workforce can be incredibly time consuming and detracts from their ability to drive growth and differentiation. Competing priorities rarely equate to ideal outcomes. Working with a trusted IT partner can offset this though, leaving your resources free to focus on the tasks that really matter.


At Landmark Computers, we are strongly recognised as one of Australia’s best-in-class IT procurement specialists, providing the right tools for the right jobs. And we’re proud to announce that we now offer managed services in addition to our procurement capabilities. 

If you’re struggling to get on top of your remote workforce, lack the necessary resources to maintain security practices, or need advice on identifying the right technology for your staff, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Melbourne’s most trusted IT store since 1994.

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