While the shift toward work-from-home and hybrid work models continues to drive innovation forward, it’s important to take precautionary measures to ensure that digital assets and business information remain strictly confidential.
You leave open the possibility that a hacker could access your work system if you remotely access your office device from a personal PC with weaker security systems. This could lead to much damage, including leaked confidential information, stolen data, and even financial loss.
- Set up a VPN on your office network to encrypt and anonymize all communications running through it.
- Connect team members to your VPN server to stay protected even when they leave the office or work remotely.
- Set up remote access to your office files so team members can access them anytime, anywhere.
Create a VPN In Your Office
The first thing you’ll want to do is install a VPN on your office router. This diverts all communications on the network through secure encrypted channels and serves as a frontline shield against automated attacks.
Rather than installing the VPN client on each of your team members’ computers directly on the office router means that all devices connecting to that network use secure, encrypted tunnels.
Before you rush into buying a VPN for your business, make sure it’s compatible with your router or invest in a new router that supports VPN. Some VPN providers like ExpressVPN have even gone the extra mile by providing dedicated, router-compatible software.
Create a VPN for Remote Work
Just having a VPN in the office isn’t enough if your employees are working remotely. You’ll want every person in your team to be able to connect to the internet securely, even if they’re working from home, the library, or even a local cafe.
To do that, a VPN needs to be installed on their devices. Some VPN providers offer business suites that cover multiple devices through one account. You’ll want to have enough available connections to accommodate all the devices your teammates use for work.
If they use their phones to send work emails or share files, don’t just settle for their laptops. Even their home desktop could be a vulnerability if other users on the network (such as their kids or spouse) may not be as cautious about their actions online.
Your VPN provider will guide you on adding users and devices to your VPN account. Typically, this involves downloading the VPN app onto the device or configuring the device’s built-in VPN settings. In either case, with a VPN switched on, your employees’ communications and your business data will remain encrypted and anonymized, keeping them hidden from snoopers and hackers.
If you’re worried your employees will forget to switch the VPN on when working remotely, choose a VPN provider offering a killswitch. When turned on, users can only connect to the internet via VPN. They can set it once and forget about it altogether.
By investing in a well-equipped VPN, remote workers can join the network as if they were physically present, enjoying the same security and connection advantages. Whether your project management software or CMS applications are located in a private data center or on a public network, there is a secure network connection between the user and the applications.
Now that you have a VPN in place and your entire team is using it, you can safely share file directories with them. If your office files are stored locally in your office, and your teammates work from home, you’re probably familiar with the struggle of sending and editing files back and forth over email. You end up exhausted with multiple file versions and dozens of emails that waste your time and clog up your mailbox.
Moving your entire file directory to the cloud can make this significantly easier and (if you have a VPN) more secure. Most cloud services now offer two-factor authentication (2FA) to further your defenses, making it a safe and easy way to share files with your workmates. Here are a few popular cloud storage options.
- Google Drive: Google Drive is a popular choice for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) because it lets you do so much. Team members can create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations without emailing anybody and control the access level that each team member gets to each file or folder.
- Microsoft OneDrive: Microsoft OneDrive is less intuitive and more focused on enterprise solutions. Its biggest advantage is that it lets you share files right from your file directory and access them from anywhere. If your team is very used to doing things the old way, Microsoft OneDrive might be an easier transition for them.
- iCloud: Mac and iOS users can share files via iCloud, but as far as businesses go, Apple doesn’t give as much flexibility as it requires everyone on the team to use Apple hardware. So, it’s often the case that Mac users turn to other cloud solutions.
- Amazon Web Services: Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a range of cloud-based services for organizations, including networking systems, storage databases, content delivery networks, enterprise applications, and developer tools. Given these capabilities, AWS is more suited for startups and tech companies, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, and large or remote information technology (IT) departments.
- Other Options: Many smaller providers, such as Box and Dropbox, let you access your team’s work from your PC, Mac, Android, or iOS easily. Different vendors offer different features and storage capacities. Have a look at our list of best cloud storage services for small businesses.