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With the rapidly-developing COVID-19 situation, remote workers could be, or already are, the new reality. But where does this leave companies who are not prepared for setting up a secure remote workplace?
This new reality creates questions about how the change in “office” location will affect your business’ ability to continue operations, how to protect your company data – or even how to start getting employees set up to work at home. Let’s start with guidelines on what should be included in a remote work set-up.
How to start the remote access process:
- Identify and prioritize new and existing business processes necessary to continue operations.
- Consider the hardware and software needed to accomplish these processes and keep data protected.
- Establish company polices to distribute to employees. Some standards/policies include information on confidentiality, acceptable use of firm information, equipment and communication systems, best practices for telecommuting, network requirements and cyber best practices.
- Identify and solve security issues, access issues and functionality issues.
- Communicate and educate employees on remote access requirements, processes and procedures.
For companies that do not have the people or technology support to help implement this environment, there are third-party vendors who can help with implementation, technology, and best practices support.
Tips for remote security
The most daunting concern on many business owner’s mind is how to keep company data safe and secure in a remote setting. While we are being inundated with news of COVID-19 and its impact on the healthcare system, economy and fellow citizens, many criminals are busy taking advantage of the distraction to formulate sophisticated virus-related scams and malware attacks.
Rules to keep company data safe and secure:
- Do not connect to public or unsecured Wi-Fi.
- Check that all equipment is fully patched and up-to-date.
- Implement two-factor logins to your VPNs and other systems.
- Inform employees that there are many phishing scams out there temping them to download malware. These range from virus “cures” to virus “supplies” to “breaking news” about the virus. Instruct employees to be very suspicious and contact the company point person if unsure.
- Mobile Wi-Fi (i.e., using your phone as a hotspot) is a more secure option than an unsecured broadcast Wi-Fi. Consider picking up the bill for employees who need this option.
- Convene a daily virtual stand-up with your IT team so they can communicate any known attempts or issues to your at-home workforce. This ten-minute virtual meeting will raise awareness with your workforce.
- Meet with your IT team and review your Cyber Security testing, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans. You should understand your response plan if something were to impair your ability to work.
- Double-check data backups and recovery procedures.
Enlist resources to fill gaps
Managing this threat at a time when you are focused on the “business of the business” can be overwhelming. If you don’t have the resources or technical capabilities to implement remote access and tackle security measures internally, consider enlisting the help of a third-party vendor.
Third-party vendors work with organizations to implement secure, remote work access environments. Consultants can provide implementation help, seamless transitioning, and cyber security for a remote work environment.
Determine the help you need:
KCOE ISG is a third-party vendor that is here to help with questions or implementation if needed. Contact your K·Coe advisor or a KCOE ISG consultant at 800.549.3312 to learn more.
In addition, K·Coe Isom is hosting virtual town hall webinars – where we’ll take live questions and provide guidance for your business during COVID-19. Visit the K·Coe COVID-19 Resources and Updates page to register for any of our weekly town hall meetings, or find official updates, employer resources, and guidance.
- Set your company up for remote work, including hardware and software.
- Set up remote cybersecurity protocols.
- Offer an immediate help desk for IT issues.
- Establish a baseline of needed policies for employees to follow when working remotely.
- Provide employee education on these new policies and procedures and cyber concerns.