How to create policies to enable a secure remote workforce
We’ve all been told that if you’re sick, you should stay home. With flu season in full swing, your clients may be asking about how to enable their employees to work from home, and more importantly, keep their remote workforce secure. Flu season isn’t the only time a remote workforce might be needed. Natural disasters, office building issues, or other unforeseen events that make it impossible to get to a physical location can all be accommodated for with a secure remote workforce.
Technology solution providers (TSPs) are in a unique position to help their clients enable a secure connection that not only ensures business continuity but a secure way of doing so. However, most TSPs aren’t involved in creating or updating HR policies for their clients’ businesses, specifically policies around a secure remote workforce.
As more small businesses embrace a remote workforce and have a preference for sick employees to work from home if needed, it’s a good time for TSPs to get more involved to help set guidelines, expectations, and processes to support their clients’ remote workforce and how to keep them secure.
There are many steps to help provide a company with a solid policy on how to secure remote workers. It’s not just the word template that needs to be reviewed by their attorney to align with the industry and state laws, but that’s a great place to start. Ideally, a few more steps will be taken to make sure the implementation and support of a secure remote workforce are done as effectively as possible.
1. Customize the policy to fit all of the client needs
The policy you help create should be customized to not only legally protect the employer and employee rights, but it needs to reflect the capabilities of the corporate infrastructure. Take VPNs and firewalls, for example:
- If a good firewall is in place with adequate VPN licenses, has it been configured correctly?
- Do the users already know how to install the VPN and connect, or do step-by-step instructions need to be provided?
- Do additional VPN licenses need to be procured and provisioned to accommodate the larger than normal remote workforce?
2. Make the policy easy to understand
The policy you help put in place for remote workers needs to be understandable and taught correctly to the entire workforce. Clear and concise instructions will help the new process go smoothly. To ensure everyone understands what they need to do and what is expected of them, we suggest a webinar or in-person training to explain why the policy is in place.
It’s common sense that people won’t take actions that slow down their tasks if they don’t have an emotional buy-in to the importance of following the policy. You need to change their behavior. Explain why the policy is in place, what is at stake for the company if the policy isn’t followed, and importantly, how they will benefit from following the policy.
When this particular policy is taught, we recommend it includes information on tips to protect their home network. This makes them consider how they are protecting themselves and their family to cyberthreats, and will, in turn, lead to a better, more secure environment for the company. It’s a win-win.
3. Have employees sign the policy for acceptance and compliance
After you have created the policy, presented it to the employees, and have buy-in from the staff, pass the final policy off to employees to sign and acknowledge they understand what’s in the policy. This lets you know the employees have read the policy, they accept what is in it, and shows you’re complying to any standards or regulations.
Simplifying the training
We’ve made the training part of creating a remote workforce policy as easy as possible. We’re offering a template for a training presentation, based on a hypothetical company, for you to customize for any business. You can use this template with updated Remote Worker Policy text included on the final pages to teach this important information to your clients.
We hope these tips and template will help you be proactive in education and security for your clients’ businesses and their remote workforce. Don’t forget to communicate the measures you’re taking as a TSP to continue to serve your clients when your staff may be working remotely for an extended period.
We’re all in this together.