For many businesses, allowing employees to work from home instead of the office began as a temporary solution to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has proved itself to be more than just a short-term problem, and these temporary solutions are becoming more permanent. As many companies settle into long-term work-from-home situations, business owners have realized that they need specific systems and protocols to support this new workplace dynamic.
Home networks pose unique challenges to running a business. Internet speeds can vary wildly depending on your area and your ISP, which can make it difficult to connect to work calls and accounts. Home networks are also prime targets for hackers and can open up new vulnerabilities in your company’s cybersecurity protocols. To keep you working smoothly and safely, we put together the top four best practices when it comes to your work-from-home IT.
Home Users Should Only Connect to the Business Network with Approved Devices
Businesses that allow employees to work from home need a policy in place to make sure these employees only work off of approved devices. The best way to make sure each employee has a computer they only use for work is for the business to purchase a laptop for every remote user. While this may be a bit of an upfront cost, it pays off in your long-term business security.
Each user’s laptop needs to be fully managed by your IT and preloaded with EndPoint Security software, which will help prevent traffic to and from malicious web sites. Your company should also require a VPN to connect to the work network. Once a home user’s computer is connected to the office network, you can filter content and block those computers from connecting to known “bad” websites. Keeping all work activity on these devices protects your business from many end-user cyber attacks.
Learn more ways your business can optimize your work-from-home IT
Work-From-Home Employees Need Reliable, High-Speed Internet
When every employee is working off of a different home network, their internet speeds and connection quality are likely to vary greatly. Businesses need to establish a baseline home internet quality for their employees to make sure they can effectively access business networks and communication systems. Some of our own clients have had issues connecting to their office network, only to realize that the real issue was their home internet connection. As a result, many businesses now require a minimum bandwidth speed to work from home.
A good firewall, like Digital Agent’s LockNar solution, can make home internet connections faster and more efficient. LockNar can block traffic based off of Geo-IP locations, allowing us to pinpoint and block all traffic from a specific country—for instance, China. Offering strong firewalls to work-from-home employees is a great way for your company to improve the quality of workers’ home internet connections across the board.
Make Sure the Wireless Access Points for Home Networks are Reliable and Secure
Many employees may prefer to use WiFi over a wired Ethernet connection. While being able to take your work from room to room is a great perk, it does come with additional cybersecurity risks. A wireless connection is only secure if your home WiFi has been vetted, and a wired connection is always the best solution when possible. At the very least, your home WiFi should have a complex password.
Multi Factor Authentication and Keyword Managers
Security is like an onion, and the more layers your company has, the more secure it is. But too many layers of security can get in the way of your business’s efficiency and productivity. Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) is an easy way to add an effective layer of security. It helps protect against unauthorized logins and requires users to verify their identities before logging in. MFA should be taken advantage of whenever possible, from the corporate network to your personal bank account(s).
Keyword managers can help users maintain and regularly update complex passphrases. A minimum length of passphrase should be 12-14 characters, with longer being better. A passphrase like “blueREDgreenpink2020!!” is a strong passphrase and easier to remember than a random string of characters. Even so, a keyword manager is a great way to securely keep track of long passphrases.
As you and your business make key decisions about how your workplace will continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to put these work-from-home protocols in place. If you would like to learn more about how your business can adapt your cybersecurity practices to a work-from-home environment, reach out to your Digital Agent today.
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