IT security and smart working are an inseparable combination. The pandemic has accelerated the digitization process, pushing companies to increasingly base their work on videoconferencing services and remote collaboration platforms. These technologies were already on the market but were previously used less frequently. Companies’ massive adoption of these tools during the emergency has highlighted more than one unknown factor about data protection.
With smart working, the working network expands
As reported by the Clusit 2020 report on ICT security in Italy, cyber-attacks are increasingly affecting mobile devices and instant messaging platforms. From the point of view of security with remote work, the corporate network “expands” by exploiting connections (public hotspots, home networks, etc.) and devices that, in many cases, are no longer under the direct control of IT managers. The risk of cyber attacks can thus increase.
It is no longer possible to improvise on this front, as often happened in the aftermath of the first lockdown. For this, it is necessary to prepare methods, tools, and technologies that guarantee company data protection in the new smart working scenarios in which 2 out of 3 companies, as reported by Il Sole 24 Ore, will maintain this model of work organization also in the future.
Smart working does not just mean connecting remotely to company resources but adopting a completely different working model that integrates technology, rigorous processes, and safety.
Here are 7 practical tips on how to do it best
One of the most recurring problems remote workers had to deal with was home connectivity, with consequent criticalities in terms of performance and data protection. The problem can be solved by providing employees with dedicated business access or installing Wi-Fi access points that guarantee QoS (Quality of Service).
To be “agile,” work must be able to be done anywhere on the move. This increases the risk of using potentially more vulnerable free connections. A possible solution is to make the SIM cards connected “by design” to the company network and disconnected from the public network (e.g., static private IP, dedicated APN, etc.) so that data traffic always develops within a network protected by a centralized Firewall over which it is possible to exercise greater control (e.g., through navigation rules, UTM protection, etc.).
Virtual switchboards and fixed-mobile convergence
The loss of centrality of the fixed station requires new ad hoc systems, such as the fixed-mobile convergence allowed by virtual switchboards or Cloud PBXs. These systems enhance availability because they allow users to use dedicated apps to manage fixed and mobile network calls from their smartphones. Cloud PBXs also eliminate maintenance problems of physical devices and offer guarantees for business continuity thanks to a native backup of voice services. The smartphones of users who take advantage of the convergence are, in fact, connected to the virtual switchboard platform that resides in the operator’s Data Centers. Whatever happens to the Customer’s physical location (breakdowns, prolonged power outages, closures due to force majeure, etc.), the landline and mobile numbers will continue to function normally using the Wi-Fi or data connection of the smartphone.
Videoconferencing, conference calls, desktop sharing, and cloud storage systems are all useful tools for intelligent working. The recommendation is always to avoid the free tools available on the web and instead use professional services that guarantee data protection through encryption, backup, and redundancy systems. The cloud technologies on which these services are based should be delivered through secure data centers, possibly located in Italy, to comply with privacy regulations and the GDPR.
The massive displacement of employees to peripheral areas, where for example, second homes are located, has often created difficulties related to poor coverage. The answer to this circumstance comes from Wi-Fi calling which allows you to make and receive calls on your smartphone even without a GSM signal.
Virtual Private Network
One of the most popular ways to encrypt connections, allowing users to access a server on a private network, is the VPN. Its configuration, however, may require skills that not all smart workers possess. The safest and least impactful solution for IT managers’ work is to have a professional-quality native VPN managed directly by the telephone operator.
Corporate culture and benefits
A possible objection to the previous points could be the increase in costs. IT security for smart working should be considered the sine qua non to ensure operational continuity, especially when working remotely. For this reason, a company SIM to be used at home or everywhere should be understood as a benefit in the same way as a meal voucher.
On this point, the importance of training must also be remembered. Research published by Corriere Economia reports that 60% of cyber-attacks are due to “imprudent behavior on the part of employees.” Creating a corporate cybersecurity culture is an investment that pays off hugely.
Security increases productivity
Cyber security also has an impact on business productivity levels. Allowing an employee to collaborate remotely but not providing them with adequate and safe tools to do so risks creating data loss and business blocks but also reducing productivity levels.
As the latest PMI Welfare Index also demonstrates, intelligent working favors the reconciliation between private and professional life with positive impacts on productivity. A win-win situation for companies and employees.
The future is already here, and investing today, even less than you think, is the best way to find new opportunities and continue to compete in your reference markets.