On the technology side, all laptops that are being used from “outside” the corporate firewall and network should be outfitted with antivirus software (from a vendor like Symantec or McAfee) that’s update regularly and properly configured. This software will filter both incoming and outgoing data and “block” messages and information as instructed.
Companies with multiple home-based employees should also consider setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which creates a secure conduit through which data can travel back and forth from the corporate network to the user.
Data encryption (to keep unauthorized users from seeing sensitive files) is also important, as is vigilance over the equipment itself (the locking out of unauthorized laptop users or thieves via a password-protected system, for example). Home-based computers should be equipped with malware, spyware and intrusion detectors, auto-update settings should be enabled to ensure that virus definitions and patches are current (and stay that way), and employees should be backing up their data every night to a secure location.
Ignore these steps, says Farnsworth, and you open up your network to threats like computer viruses, phishing attacks and hackers, all of which are waiting to pounce on unsecured IT systems. You could also risk isolating clients and business partners that share data with your firm. “The concept of securing home-based workers is both doable and controllable, but it requires a different model, and an approach that encompasses both the employee and the network itself,” ” says Farnsworth.
Home-Based Computer Tips
–Screen all remote workers carefully
–Train workers on company security policies and rules
–Use tools like antivirus software and VPNs to protect your network
–Don’t be afraid to put policies in place to protect your company