Published on June 15, 2021
In March 2020, when teleworking became mandatory for all as a result of the pandemic, several companies had to quickly and urgently adapt to this new reality. This solution, which was supposed to be temporary, is now here to stay. Several businesses have already announced their intention to adopt a hybrid format—a combination of working from the office and working from home.
To make this practice a sustainable one, it is important to reflect on security beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Solutions to safely work remotely are not always easy to find. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for businesses, but with three essential criteria in mind—simplicity, security, and control—making the right choice is easier.
Complete, customized availability
The company’s resources need to be accessible at home, just as they would be at the office. Employees need to have access to resources available on localized servers at the office, as well as the servers in data centres or cloud-based applications. Inversely, IT managers need to keep an eye on the safety of information and the infrastructure, even if it suddenly explodes and goes beyond the company’s physical limits.
At this point, there are two possible approaches, observes Pascal Allard, General manager, Product strategies and client solutions at Fibrenoire. “Employers have two choices: either they fully equip their employees from A to Z, providing them with all the tools, which they can manage remotely, or they let them use their own IT equipment. In both cases, they must ensure access to the company’s tools and data is protected and secure,” he says.
In a webinar explaining various solutions for teleworkers, we go over what these choices mean for both the company and its IT managers. From the VPN gateway giving access to the company’s servers to cloud security applications ensuring the legitimacy of online activities, there are several factors to consider.
Configuring a workstation remotely isn’t always easy, and it’s important to know what can be supported physically within the company. We also want to guarantee a complete tele-presence.
IT managers are also required to define which applications, websites, and other services are authorized and which need to be blocked during working hours. The marketing team may need to have access to Facebook and Instagram, but not all employees need to access social media as part of their work. Quite the contrary, in fact…
Office-grade security levels
Data security must not be taken lightly. In the best of cases, you need a reliable authentication process giving access to encrypted data that will pass through a secure gateway. “Ideally, businesses should adopt a systematic verification model in which each user, each app (cloud or not), and each system is authenticated and secured systematically,” says Allard.
The systematic verification model, also known as zero-trust access, grants users limited access to the resources they need, and nothing more. This practice both limits data management risks and improves the overall performance of the IT infrastructures, as it prevents abusive or unnecessary activities in a space shared by several users simultaneously.
One of the first steps for adopting such a level of data security is a strong authentication process. At this stage, two-factor authentication is the norm. This is an identification protocol that confirms the user’s connection via a text message or email. The only downside: these options are not foolproof—a specific authentication app is recommended. They generate a code confirming the user’s identity with a higher level of security than emails and text messages. The goal is to authenticate users via something they know (such as a password) and via a known device they have on hand (a code or a mobile device), making it much more challenging for an ill-intentioned individual to get through.
At the same time, employees need to have some freedom in their activities. “It’s unimaginable to think that we could manage every single detail of employees’ work. Not everyone has the same habits, schedule, or needs. In terms of IT, the teleworking environment must be seen as an extension of internal IT services, and therefore apply the same levels of security and transparency,” adds Allard.
Unified communications beyond video calls
In 2020, video-calling apps jumped in popularity given the increased teleworking practices. The majority of these apps partially meet business needs and are essential. However, they are far from meeting the communication needs of a remote worker. Can you always guarantee you are offering quality customer service? Will your employees have access to all apps and data easily and safely?
Thankfully, there are unified solutions that group all these forms of communication under a single point of contact. From a single workstation, for example, you can reach an employee at the office, at home, and even on the road, on a mobile, tablet, landline, or computer. Plus, such a solution makes it possible to send all missed calls to a single voicemail, which is also significant.
The same logic applies to IT communications. Your employees are not IT experts, but they need to use their personal computer, if they have one, as if they were at the office. This could mean that they’ll need network parameters identical to those at their regular workstations even though they are at home.
This could also mean that they will need to up their residential Internet connection to ensure the company’s applications are accessible and functional. Sometimes, for instance with public cloud-based tools, this is fairly easy because they aren’t demanding in terms of bandwidth. In the case of tools and databases hosted on the company’s servers, the bandwidth rate is just as important as its responsiveness: the data needs to load quickly to avoid wasting time, which can create major productivity losses. You can consider offering an exclusive Internet connection to employees who need to share their connection with other family members, which can potentially affect Internet speeds.
To discover : Our solution for teleworkers