Remote access technology is helpful for companies in all industries. In addition to allowing for a more fluid work environment and higher levels of collaboration, remote access also removes many of the traditional barriers from business and allows companies and employees in various locations, time zones, and stages of work to communicate with one another and access the most current versions of documents regardless of their location.
Remote access technology does, however, come with its own set of risks and drawbacks. Fortunately, there are ways you can ensure that you’re taking advantage of remote access technology without putting your information at risk.
1) Establish a Remote Access Policy
If you’re going to utilize remote access for your workplace as a whole, it’s wise to ensure that all of your employees and associates are on the same page. The easiest way to do this is to write a remote access policy that spells out the level of security remote access devices must have as well as where, when, and how an employee can access company information remotely.
This policy should be given to everyone who has remote access rights and should be read and signed. In addition to education and clarification, the point of the policy should be to remind employees that while remote access is an outstanding technology, it is a privilege rather than a right.
2) Ensure the Remote Access Tools are Secure
When choosing a remote access provider, it’s important to ensure that that provider offers end-to-end security and that there are no “leaks” through which your data can escape or be compromised. Look into common security protocols and different types of data encryption to ensure that you are utilizing a system that works for your security protocols and company needs.
3) Make Logging out Mandatory
No matter how great your remote access policy or security protocol may be, it’s all for naught if employees forget to log out of the remote access tool. Forgetting to log out leaves the tool vulnerable to prying eyes and improper use. Therefore, it’s important that employees always log out of the tool, especially if they are accessing it via a public computer.
Although many remote access tools have an auto-logout feature that kicks in after 10 or 15 minutes of inactivity, this window easily provides enough time for a person with ill intentions to misuse your data. Therefore, employees need to know that to earn and maintain remote access rights, they must log out of the remote access tool of choice immediately upon finishing their work.
Ensure that employees know they must log out to take a break and that they must never leave a computer unattended while they are logged in to the system. While these precautions may seem overzealous, they are an effective and important way to ensure that your remote access activities remain secure.
4) Restrict Remote Access Rights to a Handful of Employees
It’s likely that not everyone in your company needs to be able to access data remotely. Therefore, you should ensure that you restrict remote access rights to the employees who truly need it. Think of remote access like a password – it’s more secure when fewer people have it. The employees who should have remote access rights are the ones who frequently travel or have a remote work contract with the company.
You should keep a running list of the employees who have remote access rights and should update it as circumstances changed. It’s also wise to do yearly remote access audits to ensure that each employee with remote access rights is using them correctly.
Additionally, ensure that employees that no longer need remote access (either because they no longer travel or because they have taken an in-office position) don’t maintain their remote access rights after their circumstances have changed. While this may seem overly harsh, it is an important part of maintaining remote access security.
5) Update Your Remote Access Policy Annually
As circumstances within your company change, your need for and utilization of remote access is bound to change as well. To keep it current, review your policies annually to ensure that they are still in line with your company’s needs, staffing and business direction. Updating your remote access policy documents on an annual basis serves the purpose of keeping your policies current while also informing everyone in the company exactly how remote access rights and responsibilities should be handled and what is expected in order to earn and maintain them.
While remote access is absolutely a technology that smart companies should take advantage of, it is one that needs to be taken seriously and approached with a mind for safety and security. Fortunately, these five tips can help you ensure that your remote access program isn’t inadvertently becoming a data breach.
For more tips on how to ensure your company is staying secure online or for more information about remote access solutions, visit Allied Telecom today.