Ensuring Network Security: Three Effective Options to Improve the Security of Remote Workers

Enhancing Remote Work Security: Three Effective Options

The trend of remote work shows no signs of slowing down, making the security of home networks an urgent priority for businesses across the globe. IT managers constantly seek efficient strategies to separate work and personal internet usage, thus safeguarding company data. Here, we examine three options for bolstering the security of remote workers at home.

  1. IT-Supported Home Guest Networks
    A cost-effective method is to support employees in setting up guest networks on their home routers. These networks segregate work-related traffic from regular home internet usage, minimising the potential cross-contamination of data.

However, this option could prove time-consuming in the long run. IT departments are required to access employees’ personal IT equipment, their home routers, frequently to verify compliance, which could put significant pressure on resources. It may also create an unintended expectation among employees that the company IT department will support their home routers, potentially diverting resources from core work-related tasks.

Despite these challenges, IT can provide guidance, training materials, and ongoing support to help employees establish their guest networks. Regular compliance checks then follow to ensure the guest networks remain secure and are used consistently by remote employees.

Read our blog post on how to set up guest networks on remote employees’ home routers here.

  1. Company-Supplied Dedicated Routers
    A more controlled alternative is for the IT department to provide pre-configured routers for work usage. Once connected to employees’ home networks, these routers create a separate network solely for work activities. This approach allows IT to select hardware that meets company security standards and pre-configure it with necessary security settings, simplifying set-up for employees.

However, this method introduces additional costs for purchasing, configuring, and shipping routers and their ongoing support. IT will need to conduct regular audits to ensure routers are kept up to date and that they are being used correctly, and ongoing support will be required to troubleshoot any issues with the hardware that’s been supplied to staff. Despite the higher costs, the additional control over hardware and configuration may justify the investment for some organisations.

Read our blog post on how to set up a remote worker router program here.

  1. Outsourcing to an External Company
    Outsourcing to an external service provider can be an effective solution for organisations that want to avoid taking on the distraction and resource time of setting up and running their own programs. These providers specialise in securing home networks for remote work and can provide similar services as in-house IT, including supplying and configuring routers, conducting regular audits, and offering ongoing support.

Choosing the right supplier is vital to ensure that any solution implemented is secure and cost-effective. A well-chosen provider will tailor their services to your organisation’s needs and budget, ensuring you get the maximum return on your investment.

In conclusion, the right choice depends on your organisation’s specific needs and resources. IT-supported guest networks provide a cost-effective solution that leverages employee participation, albeit potentially time-consuming to audit and maintain. Company-supplied dedicated routers give greater control over hardware and configuration but require a higher investment and support cost. When chosen wisely, outsourcing to an external provider can reduce demands on internal resources and offer a bespoke and cost-effective solution. By considering the above options, IT managers can make an informed decision to ensure optimal security for remote workers balanced with the most effective way to set up, support and maintain them.