Over the past several years, telecommuting, or remote work, has gained significant traction across a wide variety of industries. According to a recent survey conducted by OWL Labs, 48 percent of employees worked from home at least once a week in 2019, and 34 percent were even willing to take a pay cut in order to work remotely.
The top reasons for this shift towards remote work include better focus and increased productivity (79 percent); positive impact on employee retention and loyalty (74 percent); and advanced learning and career progression (68 percent).
Gone are the days when remote work was merely a nice option. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to transition to remote work, and business owners and IT administrators are now asking themselves:
How do I secure access to corporate data when employees work remotely?
The goal here is to manage devices, data, and apps without compromising on security! Here are ways your remote business can provide secured access to your employees while also securing sensitive business data present in their devices:
- Enabling access to corporate resources
First, you need to configure a virtual private network (VPN) to establish a secure connection between remotely deployed devices and your corporate network. VPNs offer a private tunnel through which employees can safely access your sensitive corporate data. Corporate data in transit is encrypted and secured from unauthenticated access, ensuring remote employees can securely access corporate resources anywhere, anytime.
Adding more mobile devices to a VPN gateway might affect bandwidth and negatively impact concurrent connections. In this case, a more advanced per-app VPN can be configured, which lets you create a secure gateway for specific apps of your choice only.
With the sudden transition to remote work, employees might forget to enable their VPN before accessing corporate data. Whenever employees access corporate resources, automatically enabling VPNs can ensure your sensitive data remains secure.
- Conditional access policies
Some enterprises that have transitioned to remote work are allowing employees to access corporate data using their personal devices, but these devices can, at times, be compromised. Manually validating and verifying these devices accessing corporate resources takes a toll on IT administrators.
Conditional access policies let you automate this process, ensuring only authorized devices that comply to specific conditions can access these resources. In addition, you can gain this same level of control over devices accessing your organization’s Exchange servers.
- Application whitelisting
Application life cycle management is something that IT administrators cannot circumvent. At times, your employees may install and use malicious apps, which pose a major threat to your organization’s sensitive business data. Application whitelisting helps protect devices and your corporate network from potentially harmful applications.
In addition to this, leveraging kiosk mode lets you lock down devices so they’ll only run a specific app or set of apps. By enabling only the apps employees require, you can ensure that they stay focused and productive. Employees can only access certain device functions and apps that have been enabled by the IT admin. Meanwhile, the other apps present on the device will be hidden or made temporarily unavailable.
- Data leak prevention
Irrespective of employees working remotely or on-site, data leak prevention is something organizations cannot ignore. There are two perspectives to securing corporate data:
- Containerization for personal devices
Onboarding BYOD devices raises a few concerns over access to employees’ personal data. Usually, when employees’ personal devices are used for work, the corporate data coexists with their personal data. The challenge here is to secure the corporate data without affecting user privacy.
This is where the concept of containerization comes into play. Containerization isolates personal and corporate data with the help of a logical container. This prevents any breach in privacy, as enterprises cannot access the personal space of their employees’ devices.
- Enterprise-grade email and content management
Regardless of whether the devices are corporate owned or employee owned, distributing sensitive files via email presents certain challenges. Employees might create local copies of corporate documents, use unauthorized apps to view them, or save files on third-party cloud services, all of which are risky activities that could result in a data breach.
An email and content management solution will help prevent such mishaps. Content management allows administrators to securely distribute corporate documents and media files to the employees’ devices in just a few clicks. The content repository serves as a sandbox, restricting third-party apps and cloud services from being able to access your corporate files.
With email management, you can remotely configure email accounts, impose restrictions, preset configurations, and a lot more. Email attachments can be secured by ensuring that employees only use approved apps to view, download, and share them.
ManageEngine Mobile Device Manager Plus is a mobile device management solution that can manage mobile devices, desktops, and laptops running on various operating systems. Learn more about its extensive set of telecommuting features here. ManageEngine also has a msp mobile device management option which is great for Managed Service Providers.
Start your free, 30-day trial of Mobile Device Manager Plus today, and start managing an unlimited number of devices!