How to keep your employees’ computers safe

Working from homeNever before has it been more important to ensure the protection of your employees’ computers. With a rise in businesses embracing the ‘bring-your-own-device’ (BYOD) trend and remote working practices, there is an increased necessity to ensure computers are protected from harm.

According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), there are now over four million people in the UK that work regularly at home, a figure that has risen by 62,000 in the last year.

It can seem like a complicated process to implement the safeguarding of a range of different devices that are not under your control, but there are effective ways to do so.

Businesses need to adapt to use these practices in order to keep up with the modern working environment. Failure to do so could lead to unhappy and frustrated employees, falling behind in the business world or even a security breach you are unable to handle.

Things you can do:

One way to improve security is to move all workplace actions to cloud-based application software. There are numerous benefits associated with this move which extend far beyond just keeping employee devices safe.

First of all, it could enable workers to access the company server from anywhere they can gain a secure internet connection. This means that work doesn’t have to be conducted in the office and could be completed at home or on the train when travelling to an important business meeting.

It could provide an effective way to increase worker productivity and to improve work-life balance for employees. This is especially valued if they have a family to look after around their working life.

Using the cloud, workers are able to access emails, communicate with colleagues and use vital company software to aid with their tasks.

However, it is important to have effective security systems and virus protection in place to ensure that employee computers are not at risk of viruses, spam and other malicious software transferred by emails.

You can achieve this through cloud-based internet security systems that fit in seamlessly with existing email software. By keeping all company documents on a unified cloud system which is protected by a virus blocker, there is a reduced chance of unexpected breaches of security from individual parties on their personal devices. All potential dangers will also be reported to the security team.

While this is a suitable solution for the worker, the employer also has to ensure that the third party software used to achieve this can continually function, even if the licensee or licensor can no longer trade due to bankruptcy or technical issues.

The benefits of software escrow:

This is where software escrow and verification come into play. By storing the source code of the software data with a third party such as trusted adviser for business IT solutions NCC Group, you can be certain that the programme will still be functional if the company that created the application goes bust or experiences technical difficulties.

Imagine you are using third party applications not only for remote working, but also for online payments, document sharing and client profiles. If they were to stop working for whatever reason, your business could be in line to suffer both financial and reputational damage.

Having the source code in escrow with a reliable protection service means you can maintain and manage the software in the event that the third party software company goes under, or the programme stops working and there is no one available to contact.

Not only does this system protect your business, it also protects the software company’s important and valuable application data until the possibility of ceasing trading arises or technical failure occurs. It is a win-win solution for all parties involved.

Software verification also means you have the building blocks to recreate the software should you need to. This data includes holding instructions, scripts and files.

Educate your employees

Further advice for helping to protect employee computers is to ensure that all workers have a strong understanding of the Data Protection Act, as well as the company’s own privacy and data policies.

This will help to minimise the possibility that data is sent to unauthorised sources or ends up in the wrong hands.

You must also make the dangers of downloading file attachments from unrecognisable sources abundantly clear to employees. If they suspect a document could be harmful, it should be avoided at all costs and reported to the IT security team.

Losing devices such as laptops and smartphones also poses as a data loss risk which could lead to the exposure of private and confidential documents. Simply signing into a computer could leave a number of client addresses, bank details or important contract information at the fingertips of an opportunistic criminal.

As such, make sure that all worker devices are password protected. Cloud based services can further increase the line of defence, featuring an employee log-in to make it even more unlikely that unauthorised parties can view company documents.

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