How to Keep Your Network Secure When Employees Work from Home

When the pandemic hit, a business owner I know scrambled to get his employees up and running at home as quickly as possible. 

Fire up those computers. Connect to the business-critical software. Get to work. Keep the business running. 

We all have to keep our businesses running…

…but working from home creates unique security challenges that threaten your business. 

When this owner asked us to perform a security audit for him, we discovered vulnerabilities that put his business at risk of a devastating crash. 

So it goes for many businesses that shifted quickly from the office to work-from-home. The IT team may have taken short cuts that valued speed over security. In many businesses, employees shifted from office to home with NO guidance from the IT team. 

If that sounds familiar, you may be vulnerable to hackers who can take down your systems, steal your data, and hold your business hostage. 

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to perform security checks, uncover vulnerabilities, and plug the holes. 

Here are 4 tips to protect your business and keep everything running smoothly. 

Develop Security Policies

Distribute them to all employees and follow-up to confirm compliance. I visited an online forum the other day where hundreds of people were complaining that they received zero guidance from their employer about security. If you’re not establishing policies and instructions, your employees are likely anxious and frustrated. Most importantly, their home network and your business network are at risk. Show them what they need to do and make sure they’re doing it.

Ensure Employees Work from a Company-Owned Computer

This should be your policy even when employees return to the office. You have no control over computers employees own. With company-owned computers, your IT team can install the proper security systems, including antivirus software and firewalls. And with remote monitoring, they can troubleshoot issues, manage software updates, and backup critical data. Your security policies should prohibit use of the computer by non-employees. That means the employee’s can’t use the company-owned computer to shoot or watch TikTok videos.

Train Your Employees to Be Security Aware

This is another practice you should employ even when your employees return to the office. Topics to cover: How to avoid phishing scams, WiFi security (reset the default administrator password, enable WPA2 encryption, etc.), password management, etc.

Require a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If employees connect to your internal office network from home, you must require them to do so via a VPN. Some companies use tools like Microsoft Desktop and other Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) applications to give work-from-home employees network access. Without a VPN, that’s a risky move. I know a company whose RDP connection was compromised and it spent several days (and too many dollars) dealing with the security breach. A VPN could have prevented this.   Even if your data is in the cloud, your business is more secure if employees use a VPN service such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. 

This may seem like a lot to tackle. But here’s the good news: 

With the right help, you can pull this off with much less time, effort, and cost than you might imagine. 

And when you pull this off, you’ll avoid security breaches that turn into time-consuming, expensive recovery missions. 

STR Technologies can implement and manage all of the steps recommended above. To discuss the possibilities and arrange a preliminary security review, schedule a free consultation at: