As the “shelter-in-place” orders rapidly clamped down on our mobility, the massive and sudden shift in how we worked forced employers and employees to scramble. Equipment and security became the key issues to address.
Most of the equipment issues our clients faced revolved around laptop computers. Because of last year’s chip shortage, computer manufacturers were already behind in building enough machines to meet the market’s needs. Those needs shot up as COVID-19 hit, making computers as scarce as toilet paper. Simply, there are just not enough business-grade laptops to go around. In some cases, our clients have gone to consumer electronics stores to buy home-use laptops for employees and have us set them up.
In our view, that’s better than just having employees use their personal devices to log onto a business network and access files and apps. Unless an employer knows exactly how a computer is set up for security and how secure the employee’s home network is, that employer is rolling the dice.
Many employers have VPNs (virtual private networks) to protect the security of computing from the office to their servers or cloud servers. But that only covers the traffic between their covered computers and the server. Those who regularly work remotely use the VPN, but their computers and devices should have security measures installed, and the users should have been trained in internet security.
When your employee sets up a computer or device at home and logs into your network, here’s the worst-case scenario. Your employee may not have up-to-date anti-virus and malware protection software installed and running. Your employee may not have an adequate firewall – or any firewall – installed and running. Your employee may not have a secure Wi-Fi network. If your employee’s security system is like Swiss cheese, you can be sure a hacker will find a way to tunnel into your corporate data.
Fortunately, we have found a workaround.
Working with your employees, we can install VPNs and we use your ISP’s (internet service provider) IP address as an external IP address when your employee logs into your work network from home. That helps keep the connection secure. Then, we use Microsoft’s Remote Desktop to connect the home computer to your office network and the employee’s office computer. That allows employees to work just like they were in the office.
The keys to making this workaround successful are making sure that all the office computers are on and that someone can monitor the office computer system to make sure everything is functioning properly.
If you haven’t taken these steps yet, call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to schedule the work and to run through a checklist of things to be done before we begin.