With the current pandemic affecting businesses worldwide, it has become crucial for companies to adapt their practices for remote working. 

Despite this, just 7% of Americans were well-equipped to work from home before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Now, to ensure the safety of employees, families and the general public, companies must work to develop strong security measures, processes and best practices for their remote networks.

One of the biggest security concerns is cyber criminals targeting unprepared businesses that are switching to remote work, by exploiting new weak points in their systems. This could have severe ramifications, especially during a time when the economy is already struggling as a whole, and a data breach could mean the end of a business. 

Beyond defending against security threats, your remote network should also function efficiently enough to maintain as-close-to-normal business operations as possible. Ensuring your connections are stable and data accessible will help your remote workforce thrive, even away from the office or in-house servers.

If you’re transitioning to working from home or solidifying a distributed workforce, here are four tips to ensure your remote network is set up for success:

1. Make Sure Devices Are Secure

When working from home, using secure devices is vital for guaranteeing safety and data protection. It’s estimated that the average cost of a data breach will be more than $150 million this year, so it’s critical that devices accessing your sensitive data are authorized and well protected.

Aside from requiring all staff to use a secure Internet connection with a unique password, you should also make sure your files are encrypted and multi-factor authentication is enabled. This will ensure that only those users who are authorized to access certain data files will be able to view and use them.

You should also be careful not to open emails or visit websites that don’t look trustworthy, which may mean providing security awareness training for your staff. This is key if your staff are using personal devices to access data. Having strict BYOD policies in place for remote work is critical to ensure phishing scams, links with malware, and other threats don’t infiltrate their systems and compromise sensitive data.

2. Test Home Internet Connections for Stability

As much as a secure connection is essential, so too is a stable one. This means having a strong WiFi connection to allow you to enter Zoom meetings without experiencing disconnections or lag. Not only can a unstable connection be frustrating and unprofessional, it also slows down productivity. 

To achieve a stable Internet connection, you need an adequate upload and download speed to meet unique work needs. For example, you’ll need an Internet speed of at least 10Mbps to ensure seamless Skype or Zoom video calling, whereas large file transfers could demand as much as 40Mbps. You’ll also need to consider the ping, which could contribute to lag, as well as how many people are using the same Internet connection.

By establishing secure and stable Internet connections now, you can even continue offering working opportunities after the pandemic clears. Remote work is a trend that has shown massive increases in popularity even before the pandemic and will undoubtedly continue to increase following it. This can benefit your company, as businesses that allow remote working experience a 25% lower turnover compared to jobs without remote working opportunities, which will only encourage and attract new talent. 

3. Setup a VPN

For businesses who typically rely on in-house servers to store data, setting up a VPN (virtual private network) can be a great solution to access data from your servers securely and remotely. Setting up a VPN allows you to maintain privacy and security regulations already in place on your servers to protect your data when staff attempts to access data through a VPN.

A Managed Service Provider that offers remote IT services can help you set up a VPN properly. Once the VPN client software has been downloaded and the public IP address of your organization input, you and your staff can connect and access files securely. Setting up a VPN allows your organization to maintain control of your data without having to put it in the public cloud or share it insecurely between devices.

4. Explore Options of a Remote Desktop Server

Setting up a Remote Desktop Server will allow you to access files and information from a company computer without the need to bring it home from the office. While company laptops can be easily transported, it can be cumbersome for businesses that use fully-fledged desktops at the office. For those that wish to access work computers from personal devices, Remote Desktop Servers are a great solution.

As you implement each of these tips to set up a secure and efficient remote network, take comfort in  knowing your remote workforce can thrive- even while out of the office.