Protect Your Company with a Remote Access Policy
Many businesses now offer the opportunity of telecommuting, where employees are allowed to work from remote locations, including from home. Telecommuting is often used as a tool to attract and retain the best employees available in the market. Using the best tools designed for remote access allows the employee to work from any location as though they were at their office desk. This helps to enhance employee productivity, while providing the opportunity to work from any location that has Internet access.
The ability for a business to successfully offer telecommuting options to their employees requires five key components. These components will ensure complete and full protection of company and personal information. They include:
1) A Remote Access Policy – An effective remote access policy must be created and fully enforced.
- Creating a Policy – It should be built on the highest level of security available along with the best remote access tools. It should completely define all the rules concerning accessibility into the company’s intranet server from remote locations.
- Enforcing the Policy – To be fully enforced, the policy should then be distributed and signed by every employee that has rights to remote access. There should be a specific group of individuals or an IT department that is in charge of enforcing, maintaining and updating the strict remote access policies.
2) Using the Best Remote Access Tools – The company needs to ensure that the remote access policy is maintained by using the services of the best remote access provider. The chosen professional remote access provider should offer complete security to ensure that all confidential data being transmitted from the office intranet system to any remote location remains safe in transit. This includes the need for SSL/TLS security protocols, which are typically utilized by online banking institutions and e-commerce sites. The provider will use the best data encryption (128-bit AES and others). It is important that the company review and evaluate all security protocols to ensure they are utilizing the best available.
3) Effective Log out Protocols – One of the strict procedures that should be directed for an effective remote access policy is the requirement that all access users fully log out of the system when done. Typically, a remote access policy will direct the IT department to incorporate an automatic remote access timeout tool after 10 minutes or 15 minutes of no action from the user. A remote workstation that remains fully connected to the company intranet with no user input can provide the potential of a security breach of sensitive information. It is essential that the remote access policies mandate that every employee fully log out from the remote location when finished.
4) Strict Accessibility Rights – It is important to recognize the employees within the organization that do not need to have any access from remote locations, and prevent the potential for them to do so. Likewise, not every employee needs to gain access to all information stored on the company intranet servers. By strictly limiting accessibility rights, and issuing access to files and folders that are specific to that individual’s requirement to do his or her job, the company can maintain higher levels of security, especially when sending confidential information to remote locations.
5) A Periodic Review of the Policy – The individuals or IT department in charge of maintaining the remote access policy need to fully review it every few months or so. A full review will include an assessment of every potential problem. These problems might include issues with the remote access tool, or any issues concerning access into the company infrastructure. Any updates to the policy should include feedback from company employees along with any developments or technological advancements in remote access security protocols. The more up-to-date the document remains, the simpler it will be for every company employee to understand his or her expectations regarding safety of company data and accessing the Internet from remote locations.
The ability to gain access into the company’s intranet system while at home, or on the road, can dramatically increase the flexibility and productivity of the work performed by every employee. However, it is crucial that the hardware and software used for the connection remain secure. Only this will ensure that confidential data has not become vulnerable, or that sensitive company data is not inadvertently exposed.
A fully developed and enforced remote access policy can diminish security risks to the company network. Anytime the business opens up its intranet system through an external connection, the greater the risk that is created. It is imperative that the company seeks out skilled expertise to maintain the highest level of security. This includes continually updating security software and limiting remote access privileges to only the staff within the organization that need access to pertinent folders and files.