IT Solutions for Your Telecommuting Employees

In 2019 it’s likely your employees are requesting the ability to work some or all their time from home. A 2017 study by Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the number of remote (telecommuting) employees increased from 39% to 43%. Interestingly, that remote workers were more productive and engaged. It also found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities were a major factor in whether the employee decides to take or leave a job. How do you set up your IT and phone systems to allow maximum productivity and security?
IT Solutions for Your Telecommuting Employees

How to Implement a Successful Telecommuting Plan

A successful telecommuting IT strategy for your company involves a combination of the following:

  1. Ensure your employee’s home or remote office has access to a reliable high-speed/broadband Internet connection.
  2. Choose a secure virtual private network (“VPN”) provider with multi-factor authentication for your employee’s remote access to your network.
  3. Alternatively to a VPN connection, many companies are choosing to put their data, email, and software on a hosted cloud. This way all employees have reliable and easy access to the business systems.
  4. Insist on high physical security standards in your employee’s remote work location.
  5. Switch to a more flexible VOIP phone system. This allows for advanced features like cell phone apps for receiving work phone calls, voicemail, call forwarding and easy teleconferencing.
  6. Select an employee networking app like Slack and utilize a video chat system that provides easy, productive ways for your team to connect with each other.
  7. Make sure you have an easily accessible and manageable project-tracking software.

Cybersecurity is a Necessity

A good cybersecurity plan is necessary. As an employer, you have less control over the devices your employees will use in their remote capacity. Monitor your employees’ devices to ensure they have as many security tools as possible. This can include anti-virus, firewall, encryption, multi-factor authentication, and patch management. Double check that your employees’ home Wi-Fi routers are not set on the provider’s default password. The use of hardware tokens that provide temporary passwords for access are considered strong authentication tools. These tools are difficult to hack even when your employee is using public Wi-Fi. They may be warranted depending on your business.

Make Sure to Educate Your Employees

Educating is critical. Most likely your employees are not well versed in security. It may be easy for them to miss updates and patches, inadvertently disable a firewall, or fail to encrypt documents. Having an IT service provider provide 24/7 monitoring and help desk can secure their devices and provide them immediate access to support when needed. Teach all your employees electronic security best practices to prevent the risks associated with phishing and social engineering attacks that leave your network vulnerable.

Physical Security is Just as Important

Do not forget the physical security of your employees’ remote workspace, which includes any access to sensitive documents or information that could occur with someone’s physical access to the home. Before allowing your employees the benefit of working from home, establish home office physical security standards that protect any sensitive information. Request that your employee enables tracking software on mobile devices that can be used to locate and wipe clean a lost laptop, phone or tablet.

Important Data Should be Trackable

Credentialing reduces data risk. Segmenting and credentialing your data and applications ensures your remote employee can only access information required for their work. More advanced security would put in place monitoring. This would then keep track of when an organization’s most important data has been accessed by your employee.

Telecommuting is Quickly Becoming More Popular

More and more Tampa Bay area companies are offering their employees to work some or all of the time from a remote location or their home. Tampa Bay is in the top 10 Metro Areas with growth in the country. The traffic is increasing your employees’ commuting time. With some IT and data security processes put in place, most companies will be able to offer some form of telecommuting. Companies can then benefit from higher retention, engagement, and productivity from their employees.

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