Remote working is becoming increasingly important for companies. The spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 accelerated the phenomenon – which was already underway – and over the last two years, companies have been able to see that what appeared to be the consequence of an emergency (remote working) can actually be considered an opportunity to be exploited, to be transformed into a standard operating model for the future.

However, it is important to note that working from home represents a way of working that requires specific focus from an IT security point of view. On the one hand (for managers), this translates into the need to ensure the company retains valid IT security measures and tools, and on the other (for collaborators and employees) the responsibility to implement the appropriate best practice measures to ensure the security of company data, materials and documents.

But what exactly is remote working? Ways of using so-called “agile work” may vary from one company to another; as the expression itself suggests, however, the meaning of “remote working” and that of “flexible working”, “intelligent”. This general definition usually refers to the possibility for companies to continue to manage their businesses by providing employees– or some of them –the right tools to operate remotely (typically from home, but also in other places), without having to go to the office.

It goes without saying: that it’s important to remember that the entire work organization must be structured in a “smart” way, i.e. ensuring that exchanges and flows can take place efficiently, even if the resources are not physically located in the same place (but this has more to do with management needs). From this perspective, there is also the much more complex matter of the need to retain cohesion, objectives, and the company’s own identity intact.

For businesses, the advantages of remote working for individuals are clear: as long as it is implemented with due care, it makes workers more efficient and productive. A study by the Observatory of Politecnico  di Milano highlighted that a remote working day saves the employee an average of 74 minutes, time which is normally spent commuting to the office. This is the equivalent of 7 days of activity per year, with a saving of 17 euros per day. Furthermore, companies can break down fixed costs such as renting office premises and related utilities.

The birth of remote working

At the start of the pandemic, remote working had a more emergency feel, with companies having to quickly equip themselves to provide collaborators and employees with the tools they needed to work from home due to the lock-down, without affecting their work flow.

Let us now try to understand how working from home has influenced IT securityi.e. how to allow your employees to engage in remote working in a safe way.

Which cyber-security measures should a company take to safely manage remote work?

After the initial urgent emergency phase, companies started focusing on how to reconcile remote working and IT security. For example, there is an ever-present threat of ransomware – as reported in the Global Cyber-Security Outlook of the World Economic Forum in January 2022 – and 80% of the world’s “cyber leaders” stressed that this type of attack continues to be the most tangible threat today. Significant prevention measures must be adopted to overcome such threats.

Returning to smart working, browsing on unreliable sites, for example, can expose workers’ devices to hacking risks. It is therefore equally important to educate employees both on how to communicate remotely and on the best practices to be adopted for file sharing. Data protection must be managed as a matter of priority otherwise there may be risks, not only from an economic point of view, but also in terms of brand reputation.

IT security in remote working: what companies should do

First of all, it is assumed that companies provide their employees with everything they need for security: for example, a company PC for remote work, but also a protected VPN (Virtual Private Network) and especially ad hoc software for file transfer and sharing which meet specific security standards.

Sending e-mails also involves the use of an appropriate encryption system. The use of company applications is essential to avoid workers, perhaps naively, using inappropriate tools (for example chats on WhatsApp) for sharing information that contains sensitive data. In short, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model, which may have been valid at the beginning of the pandemic, is no longer acceptable today: the attack surface must be reduced as much as possible.

Security measures that remote workers should take

For safe working from home, workers who operate remotely are required to follow a series of safety measures which are essential for risk prevention and for IT security.

Password management is the first aspect to consider. It is important to choose strong passwords, with a high degree of complexity, store them carefully – using special tools, such as software and apps that companies can make available to workers, for example Boolebox Secure Password – and change them regularly.

Among the IT security measures to be adopted is the use of reliable mail clients. The utmost caution must be exercised when downloading attachments. At first, it can be complicated for employees to understand how to work remotely without putting the security of corporate data at risk. However, this is a challenge that entrepreneurs must be ready to take on, for example, by adopting tools that allow effective data governance, thus limiting the possibility of human errors.

Particular attention must be paid to the sites that employees consult. It is essential to only browse safe and reliable sites. IT security is always a delicate subject for companies, so employees must be informed about both the risks of remote working, and the precautions that must be taken to prevent and counter them. Workers from home must be taught how to work remotely on the computer in total safety.

How to prevent risks: solutions for effective remote working

Boolebox provides companies with a wide range of technologies for remote working which contribute to increasing IT Security.

  • Secure File Manager, for example, is a cloud software for remote working designed to ensure maximum security in file sharing, with access to a protected environment where documents can be uploaded, shared and edited.
  • Among the boolebox remote working tools, there is also Secure E-mail, a web app which ensures maximum protection of e-mail messages. Various templates allow you to select the desired protection level, with the encryption of e-mails and attachments.
  • Secure Password must be included in possible solutions for more effective remote working. It is a secure password generator that allows you to save and keep encrypted inside a “safe” not only the access keys, but also other sensitive information, with the relative digital copies.
  • Finally, Secure Transfer allows you to quickly transfer encrypted files of any size from your computer, adhering to the highest security standards. Boolebox’s native auditing service also offers the opportunity to keep track of operations performed on the sent files.

If you want to protect your company by empowering your employees to safely engage in remote workingcontact boolebox for further information and characteristics of the products needed for IT security in the remote working world.