How to Remote Work Like a Boss
With remote working becoming our new normal, there are a few things you need to do to be safe and effective.
Some professions like nurses, firefighters, mailmen and clerks will not be able to change to a ”work-from-home” mode as the world around us changes. However, a large number of us have the luxury to continue our work based at home. This helps employees and companies carry on being productive even though government or company policies reduces access to the office. This is, of course, a huge advantage for those companies throughout this crisis that we are currently in, and a way to keep the employees for now and the future.
For the employee, switching to working from home could cause problems you’d never think of. Are you missing the chat with your colleagues at the coffee machine? How to refrain from grabbing something every hour from a stack of candy meant for the kids on Saturday? What about that waking up of your body 7 o’clock bicycle ride to the office that’s no longer there? Different types of challenges that are very individual. Some people might even notice that they produce much more when working from home, something to think about when society goes back to normal.
Employees as well as companies will also face technical issues with this new situation. Some companies have equipped their IT environment to cover only a fraction of the total amount of employees working from home, maybe only sales personal that are often out traveling. Now, all of the sudden, everyone needs to connect from home, could the VPN termination handle that increased load? Here are three things that I think all companies should consider.
Make sure that your system will allow and can handle the increased amount of VPN connections. It might be tempting to save some money by having a system where only 50% of the employees can connect at the same time, with an internal policy that employees should only connect while accessing internal systems or resources. The only thing this will create is frustration among employees and push them to not use VPN, thus making them bypass all the security you have implemented in your firewalls.
Multi Factor Authentication – MFA
When you allow people to work remotely remember that the identity is the perimeter. Studies show that more than half of all intrusions are made available through stolen passwords. Trusting everyone in your company to authenticate their VPN using username/password will expose your network to more threats than you want to know. Applying an MFA solution to your VPN access will increase your protection but also, if done right, simplify access for the users.
Application Control/Traffic Shaping
If you haven’t applied Application Control or Traffic Shaping already it’s time to do that now. All traffic from VPN attached users must now pass the firewall and internet connection twice—first from the VPN client to the network and then back out to internet. Even if you have a buffer when it comes to uplink/downlink speed from your internet provider, remember that all traffic sent over VPN is encrypted. On the client side, this is usually not a problem for the end device, but on the VPN termination that has to encrypt/decrypt several streams at the same time, it will hurt performance. To protect your business critical traffic, make sure to block unwanted applications/protocols or at least apply traffic shaping on these to make sure that they won’t consume all your resources. It’s probably more important to make sure that Microsoft Office 365 or your order handling system are available than that your remote working employees should be able to use YouTube or Facebook.
The tips above aims not just to make sure your level of security stays acceptable, but also to make sure that your employees are given the opportunity to continue producing without adding a layer of technical obstacles while working from home.
Read more about Clavister’s VPN solutions and our solution to remote working using our Elastic Security for Business Continuity here