In these trying times, companies of all sizes across every industry have been forced to embrace remote working, and this has raised no end of challenges for those in charge. But of all the tests businesses face, safeguarding remote network security is by far the most significant in ensuring business continuity and stability.
Here, we provide practical steps on how to set up remote network access for employees, including tips on how to bolster security while facilitating full collaboration between teams.
- What is Remote Network Access?
- Things to Consider When Setting Up Remote Access
- How to Set Up a VPN for Secure Network Access
- Cloud Options for Remote Working and Access
Remote network access enables your staff and teams to access your business software, systems and communication tools when they aren’t connected to your network or at your business premises. This provides the flexibility for your workforce to operate from anywhere, without compromising on access, collaboration and productivity.
Here are a few examples of how remote network access can assist workers:
- Allows them to access internal business communications, for full out-of-office collaboration.
- Allows them to send and receive emails on their standard channels and platforms.
- Allows staff to access company data, systems and software on any device.
Many businesses already provide seamless remote network access for their employees, specifically those whose personnel regularly travel for work, or those which offer flexible working. However, for those businesses new to off-site working, there are a number of things to consider when phasing the facility in.
Security is of the essence when setting up remote access for your employees. With the potential for multiple individuals to be accessing systems and data across a range of devices, it’s crucial that you take steps to bolster network security to prevent breaches and data loss.
Safeguarding the security of your network is easy when everyone is in the office. Operating on a local area network, your assets are protected by firewalls, activity monitoring and other security features. This isn’t the case with remote working, meaning extra steps must be taken to guarantee the safety of your network.
There are several things you can do to bolster network security for remote working, including:
- Introducing security protocols like two-factor authentication
- Ensuring everyone’s devices have adequate antivirus software and firewall protection
- Creating a robust backup and recovery process
- Creating a specialist VPN for remote worker network access
Most, if not all, businesses rely on file sharing and data access – but how can people access company files safely if they’re not in the office? Reliable, efficient and secure file sharing is one of the most difficult aspects of facilitating remote working as a business, but there are solutions available that support peer-to-peer file sharing.
The first channel to consider is setting up a secure VPN. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to restrict access to your network for staff only, whilst allowing for full peer-to-peer file sharing. A VPN essentially creates an encrypted connection between your workforce, so any files they share between networks and devices are less likely to be compromised.
Alongside a VPN, there are a range of cloud services which facilitate easy and secure file sharing between teams. Dropbox, Jira, Office 365 and G Suite are some of the platforms which offer file sharing and collaboration options between teams, though you may need to pay for some features depending on the frequency at which files are being shared.
Transparency and Ease of Access
Remote working requires transparency and communication between teams, and clear instruction from you and other senior members of staff. When an entire workforce is operating remotely, there are many challenges which you may not encounter in a standard workplace environment – so complete transparency is key.
Make sure your personnel are given the tools, platforms and expertise required to connect to your network and collaborate with other team members effectively. Laptops and devices should be preloaded with the relevant antivirus, security and networking features, and staff properly instructed on how to securely connect and interact with company systems.
Setting up a VPN is one of the best ways to guarantee the security of your network when staff are working remotely. However, setting up the VPN itself can be challenging, with additional hardware and data platforms required to ensure all company systems are encrypted and protected.
If you have IT resource, building a tailored VPN for your company systems offers the very best way to maximise data security across your network. This does, however, require serious investment, but may be the best solution for businesses that need rock-solid security across their network.
For smaller businesses which lack IT resource, there are a number of off-the-shelf VPN providers out there that provide adequate encryption and security for a small number of devices and users. Prices vary depending on the plan you opt for, but investing in a pre-made VPN is certainly a good option if your business requires some level of network security among remote teams.
Since the emergence of the cloud, a growing number of businesses have moved to cloud-based platforms for file sharing and collaboration between individuals and teams. Cloud software provides a low-cost way for remote workers to access data, systems and services without the need for a VPN, while also providing the benefit of increased collaboration and communication between teams.
From project management to auditing, there are endless ways to put the cloud to work for your business. What’s more, in your position as administrator, you’ll enjoy a complete overview of how different personnel are interacting across the cloud network, from the files they’re sharing to how they’re interacting with one another and working as a team.
CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working alongside big-name businesses in a range of industries. To find out how we could help your business, or for more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846