Telecommuting Tips for the SMB


Once nothing more than a concept that was rarely practiced, telecommuting has steadily gained in popularity in recent years. Today, many organizations have policies in place to allow their staff to telecommute. Indeed, in cities where both parents have to work, the freedom to occasionally work from home in order to care for sick children or elderly parents has become another selling point for HR to attract talents.


Today I share some a couple of tips that SMBs can employ to ease the transition to telecommuting.


Start moving the workforce towards laptops


The first step to prepare for a mobile workforce is to shift everyone towards using laptops. Among other benefits, such a move will also greatly reduce technical support that will be needed when staffers encounter problems -- and they will -- trying to setup their home computers to access office systems. With a laptop, the IT department has to configure them only once, and it becomes the onus of the employee to bring the laptop along with them should they want to work from home.


The laptops can be secured via the use of Kensington locks, though it should be noted that they are certainly not infallible. Then again, few organizations secure their desktop computers; also, workplaces where Kensington locks are routinely broken have far bigger problems on their hands.


Finally, since all laptops come with built-in wireless networking; the shift to laptops will actually make it easier to implement a wireless network in the office.


Educate staff to trust only encrypted storage


Practically all the news of dramatic data breaches that got splashed across newspaper headlines has a common denominator. You will realize that they all involve the loss - via carelessness or theft - of data storage devices or laptops. As the workforce becomes more mobile, it is more important than ever to stop data breaches before they even happen.


To this end, full disk encryption would be a good choice to secure the data stored on laptops. Unencrypted flash drives are a definite no-no; whenever possible, staff should be issued with hardware-based encrypted flash drives such as the IronKey.


More than that, training should to be conducted to educate on the differences between secure and insecure data storage. After all, security is only as strong as the weakest link.