In Winter Weather Use a Home Office: Safe, Secure, and Comfortable!

Posted by Sabrina Sturm Wed, 23 Jan 2013 12:03:00 GMT

Many people love it, many people hate it: Wintertime. While frost, snow and icy temperatures transform the landscape into a winter wonderland perfectly suited to snowball fights and sledding, a large part of  the population curses this weather – at least, when they have long commutes to and from work. Snow and icy roads always bring with them an increased risk accidents, traffic jams and more commuting time: taking away from the time you have for your family. No wonder that one or the other colleague may have a bad mood right from the start and you might want to avoid them. 

 

Work From Home More Often

 

A simple measure can help here: Work more often from home and spare yourself the trip to the office on such days. This helps not only employees, the company also profits – from increased productivity. Because if you believe that a grumpy employee works at the highest possible level of productivity, you’re wrong. It’s better to grant the employee one or two days in their home office and increase employee satisfaction.

Hereby, it is of the utmost importance that IT security has top priority. With modern ideas and solutions, the security of sensitive data need not suffer when an employee remotely accesses centralized data and applications.

 

IT Security Must Have Priority – Also in Home Offices

 

Besides all the convenience, high IT security for home offices is a must. Hereby, modern solutions bridge the gap between comfort and usability on the one hand, and security and centralized administration on the other. When selecting a remote access solution, one must consider the following aspects:

 

VPN solution: SSL or IPsec?

 

Principally, SSL solutions are preferred for connecting home offices to the enterprise network, as these require neither software installation nor administrator rights on the client device. Centrally configured in the company network, the user can comfortably login to the Internet via a computer at home.

 

How do I administrate the solution?

 

Of primary importance is the availability of central administration, configuration and control. Many SSL/VPN solutions allow exactly this: the software is centrally installed and configured just once in the enterprise network – the user gains access over a Web interface. For troubleshooting, the IT administrator can remedy problems from the central office.

 

Which authentication method to use?

 

The simplest solution is definitely a login with username/password. Depending on the IT security guidelines and desired security level, authentication via Smartcards or tokens may be considered. If you want it to be very easy – and nonetheless secure – you can decide for a Single-Sign-On solution such as Kerberos.

 

Who may do what? The assignment of roles and rights

 

One should clearly understand that, under some circumstances, it is not a good idea to allow every employee complete access to all resources – that only leads to unnecessary security risks. It’s better to carefully consider which employee may have access to which files and data and then define corresponding roles and rights for each worker (or worker group), in keeping with the slogan: “As little as possible, as much as necessary.”

 

Which additional security features can be recommended?

 

Next to the above-mentioned criteria, many modern remote access solutions have other security features on board, which can further increase data security. For example, some solutions provide an integrated Compliance Check that inspects the device in accordance with defined rules before access is granted (e.g., whether an up-to-date anti-virus program is installed). Only when the inspection results positive is access to centralized resources granted. Likewise, an Anti-Split-Tunneling function offers the advantage that the user, while connected to the company network, cannot open a second (parallel) Internet connection. This helps prevent malware from infiltrating the enterprise network.

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