We recommend Google Chrome Remote Desktop for quickly and securely accessing your work device from home or while you’re traveling. Here's how to set...
Remote Work Security Basics: How to Keep Your Business Safe
Ensuring your business is set up for employees to work remotely is now a necessity. But how do you ensure remote work security?
Work from home is here to stay.
The COVID-19 pandemic made remote necessary for businesses to keep functioning. Even after businesses reopened their offices, fully remote and hybrid remote work has become common and expected.
Ensuring your business is set up for employees to work remotely is now a necessity. But how do you provide remote work security?
Remote Work Security Basics
You may have considered transferring your files to a flash drive or other external storage device to get work done away from the office. We recommend this solution only if you’re working with small files that don’t include private information.
Be careful, as these devices could be lost and then found by someone who would exploit them.
Instead, we recommended these solutions for working from home securely:
- Use a Virtual Private Network
- Use remote desktop apps
- Use web-based apps
- Use communication apps
1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Security
You need to access files stored on a computer at your office when working remotely. VPNs create an encrypted tunnel between your computer and your company’s office network, keeping your data secured.
Your business is likely already using a network router with VPN capabilities. To find out, Google the make and model of your router with the word “VPN.” You’ll be able to confirm whether it’s capable of doing a VPN and find the steps to log in and enable it.
Once your VPN is set up and running, you’ll be able to log in from a remote computer and access your business’s private network via the VPN tunnel.
One issue with a VPN is that its performance depends on your bandwidth and connection speed. The tunnel ‘size’ or bandwidth is limited by the size and speed of your personal and business internet connections. Bottlenecks can form and lower your speed if too many people use the VPN simultaneously because each person takes up part of the tunnel. It’s possible to increase your bandwidth, but you’ll need to pay your internet service provider for a faster connection.
For a VPN, you’ll need high-speed cable internet at the minimum. DSL through a phone line will probably be too slow. If your internet speed is 5.0 Mbps or higher, you’ll have no trouble downloading large files and streaming HD video calls through a VPN. To test your speed, Google “internet speed test” and click “run test.”
2. Use Remote Desktop Apps
Remote desktop apps work by displaying the screen from your work computer on your home computer. We recommend Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop. It’s a free download you install on all computers you need to access.
Once you open the app and log in, you can control your work computer from home. You’ll see your start menu, desktop, and work computer files, just like you were sitting at your work desk.
3. Use Web-based Apps
You’re probably used to using apps like Microsoft Word, Exel, and Powerpoint on your work computer. Likely, you don’t have this software available at home – it’s pricey.
Luckily, you can use web-based versions from Microsoft and Google. The service you choose depends on your current workflow. If you’re used to the Microsoft suite of programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook, you can use Microsoft 365. It lets you use these apps in your web browser without downloading the software. Your projects will save to the One Drive cloud for easy storage and sharing. Log in or create a free account here to get started.
On the other hand, if you’re used to Gmail and other Google products, they offer G-Suite. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are the equivalents of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Your projects will still integrate with Office if your collaborators use the other platform. Click here to log in or create an account.
4. Use Communication Apps
When working remotely, talking to your co-workers isn’t as easy as walking into their office. Email comes to mind, but these are easy to miss and can get buried in our inboxes. We recommend specialized communication apps like Slack, Zoom, Teams, and Meet.
Slack is an interoffice instant messaging app. You can send messages to individual co-workers and groups. You can create separate, secured channels for different departments so sales, marketing, and leadership can have their own conversations.
Zoom is a video-conferencing service similar to Skype and Facetime. Since webcams come with most laptops, video conferencing is accessible for your office. Those without video capabilities can call into a meeting using a phone. Once you install the app, joining a meeting is as easy as clicking a link. You can share your screen and record the meeting to share with those who can’t attend.
If you’re already working in the Microsoft ecosystem, they offer a service called Teams. Microsoft Teams has similar features to Slack and Zoom combined in one service. It’s the fastest way to get your staff working remotely if you’re using Microsoft products already.
For those using Google, Meet allows you to communicate by text or video conferencing. Like Zoom, Meet lets people join meetings using their webcam or phone. You can share your screen, send messages, record a meeting, and more.
5. Use Antivirus Software
Antivirus software detects malicious files like trojans, worms, and ransomware before they can poison your computer.
We recommend Vipre for small businesses with 10 computers or less. It will detect a virus, take corrective actions, and send you an email explaining what occurred. It’s compatible with Macs and PCs.
For larger businesses using cloud storage, there are cloud-based antivirus solutions available.
We Can Help You With Remote Work Security
Remote work opens up potential security problems. Ensure your business is protected and your data is safe.
To get your office remote-ready, contact our IT technicians at firstname.lastname@example.org.