Working from home has seen a big push by companies that have been keen to keep their workers safe. As a result, IT departments have often had to completely reorient themselves to staff using PCs from a home office unsupervised, not having easy access to the hardware to upgrade it, or to liaise in-person to troubleshoot.

It’s certainly a challenge for companies with remote workers that need to keep security high regardless of their location. Here are 5 security tips to do exactly that.

1.      Make Virus and Malware Security Non-negotiable

As the experts at will tell you, security for the network is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s possible for the use of an old PC logging in from afar to create a security risk for the company’s network due to poor security practices. All PCs, tablets, and smartphones must be company-approved and configured virus and malware protection software installed to avoid most of the potential risks. Also, make this non-negotiable for all remote workers.

2.      Add a Software Firewall on Every PC/Mac

A firewall is a type of software or piece of hardware that acts as a safeguard against hacker intrusions. Windows, for instance, comes with a firewall to protect your business from some of the worst threats. There are others designed for corporate PCs with added features that are more configurable too. Every PC or Mac needs to have one installed.

3.      Set Up a VPN for Remote Workers

A virtual private network (VPN) is designed to create a virtual tunnel. Once created, all internet data is sent through this tunnel over the internet. The data is encrypted so that it’s next to impossible to understand it even if the data is intercepted while it is being sent.

The company must provide this service because it needs to be compatible with all the systems, software on the desktop/laptop, and cloud services in use. A VPN can cause issues with logins and accessing information, which is why the IT team needs to test, configure, and troubleshoot a specific VPN service provider to ensure compatibility for all remote workers.

4.      Embrace the Cloud

Using cloud computing solutions allows for all remote workers to access appropriate files when and where they need them. By keeping them centrally located and not on their PCs or workplace-supplied laptops, it makes it virtually seamless for other workers to pick up where they left off.

Furthermore, ongoing backups of previous iterations of a file can be stored by a business cloud provider like Dropbox or OneDrive. This avoids new file versions becoming corrupted and there being no measures in place to handle that.

5.      Create Contingency Plans

Use contingency plans to plan for a host of different scenarios. Whether a plan covers a remote worker who cannot access a key online tool, a forgotten password or has difficulty using the approved VoIP solution, it all needs a measured response. While some situations will need trial and error to work the problem, the IT team should have some standard solutions in place for the more common issues.

Using remote workers even if they are employees poses some unique problems compared to having staff all working from the office. The IT department must get their arms around this new reality to avoid serious missteps.