Nearly a year after the pandemic closed business offices worldwide, remote work is the norm. Keeping your company’s computer network strong and secure is of great importance. Even now, businesses may want to revisit decisions made so quickly last March. Read on to learn about the most critical questions to ask in order to have a robust security plan for remote work.
Network Security Considerations for Remote Work
The usual security considerations remain important. First, how secure is your network against common viruses and malware? Ideally, definitions are as current as possible to catch the growing security threats. Is your method for access to the network still secure and efficient? Some companies can maintain a virtual private network requiring passwords; others may want to move some computing resources to the cloud. Still, varying levels of access may need to be determined, to keep data secure and bandwidth available for key business operations. For example, workers using video conferencing services need more bandwidth than employees who mostly handle email only. Another decision involves where workers will access your network; a company-owned PC connected to the company’s network is more secure than a worker’s personal computer or mobile device.
Train Employees to Keep Your Network Secure
As always, employee training needs to be part of a remote work security policy. Clear rules should be set in place regarding which equipment is used for work purposes. Employees need to be reminded to be on the lookout for possible security intrusions like phishing schemes to avoid ransomware. Passwords are another key to keeping the company’s data secure; part of training includes helping employees develop strong and secure passwords and to change them regularly. While employees are often considered a weak link in security, when properly trained they can be the greatest asset. According to Gartner, “Remote workers must ensure the same, if not a greater, level of security for all company networks and data access, documents or otherwise confidential information that might be displayed on a home office computer screen.”
Since remote workers expand the company’s security perimeter, you might want to re-evaluate your policies and practices. For help in refining your company’s security plan, contact us today.
Cloud computing, with its benefits, considerations and even risks, can be a way to transform your business. When considering your cloud strategy, it must aid and advance your business strategy with its mission, values and goals. Read on to learn more about developing a cloud strategy tailored to your business strategy.
Business Strategy Determines Cloud Strategy
Now might be a good time to closely review your business strategy, and what you hope to accomplish in the coming year. Do you plan to have workers continue remote work, for example? Then you might need to extend access to more people, which brings up bandwidth and security concerns. According to an article from Gartner, your cloud strategy “needs to align with and actively support [your] organization’s business strategy, regardless of whether your organization provides consumer services, business services, or other products.” Broad categories of considerations include:
- Risks associated with cloud computing–agility, availability, supply chain, security and compliance. Also, having a clear exit strategy (or even more than one) before committing to any project, can help you reach balanced cloud deployment strategies. Some risks may pertain more to certain industries (security risks may be the most important consideration for healthcare organizations in protecting patient data, for example).
- Route and approach to the cloud. Will your business opt for moving all applications to the cloud, or rehosting some and completely rebuilding others? And what sort of platform is the best fit, whether Software as a Service (SaaS) for rapid access or adoption of cloud infrastructure for building new functions? What will your business do about migrating current and legacy applications?
- Whether your business is aiming for cost savings with the cloud. Cloud, even with its benefits of flexible subscription models, and capacity for speed and innovation may cost more in the short run, especially if taking the rebuilding route to cloud adoption.
- Understanding of shared responsibilities between the customer organization and cloud service provider (CSP).
- How adopting cloud, at whatever level, will change your IT department. New skills and certifications for staff may be needed.
Cloud adoption–even complete digital transformation–brings with it risks and questions that must be balanced with its benefits. For help in reviewing your business strategy and developing your cloud strategy, contact us today.