Mobile computing is eroding the concept of the traditional office. More workers are choosing to telecommute, and these remote users are often connected to the Internet 24/7—checking email, accessing data and applications, using social media services, and surfing the Web.
It is expected that by 2013 more than one-third of the global workforce will be mobile, and a study by Gartner found that 45 percent of workers in the United States work outside the traditional office at least eight hours per week.
There are many benefits to a mobile workforce. It allows businesses to simultaneously cut costs and increase productivity. Bad weather or a child with the sniffles used to mean an employee missed a day of work, but when he or she can connect from anywhere, productivity takes a much smaller hit. However, a mobile workforce also introduces unique security concerns, and businesses need tools like Symantec.cloud services to protect that workforce.
We’ll show you three of the most important steps you can take to make your road warriors as secure as the folks back at the office.
Challenges of a Mobile Workforce
To take advantage of a mobile workforce, the business has to provide secure, dependable access to the applications and data that users need to do their jobs, no matter where or when they are connected.
The threats themselves are the same regardless of location. A user connecting from a hotel room across the country faces the same malware, spyware, spam, phishing scams, and other attacks as a worker sitting at a desk in an office cubicle. The difference is that the users within the four walls of the office typically have perimeter defenses—like firewalls and spam filters—that provide an extra layer of protection, while the remote user does not.
Remote users often rely on personal PCs and laptops, creating a chaotic mix of operating systems and applications to manage, and making it more difficult to apply or enforce any sort of security or acceptable use policies. Simply put, it’s a bit like the Wild West, messy and untamed.
Protect Your Mobile Users
While it is a challenge to ensure that your mobile endpoints are secure and your crucial data is protected, it is an achievable goal. You need to focus on essentially three things to protect your mobile users:
1. Protect Your Endpoints: Make sure the endpoint PCs that connect to your network and access your applications are protected against hackers and malware attacks. Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud provides state-of-the-art antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and host intrusion prevention, and automatically and transparently updates when your remote endpoints connect to the Internet.
2. Protect Your Communications: Email and instant messaging are the preferred methods of communication for most businesses. They are also one of the primary attack vectors for malware. You need to protect the digital communications of your remote users, and you need tools in place to monitor and archive communications, as well as prevent sensitive data from being exposed. Symantec Email Security.cloud and Symantec Instant Messaging Security.cloud provide comprehensive protection for your messaging platforms from the cloud so that your remote endpoints are covered.
3. Protect Your Data: Whether your remote users are working from a company-issued laptop or their own personal PC, they access, download, create, and store the data that is the fuel driving your business. You need a robust tool to back up and protect that data no matter where it is. Symantec Backup Exec.cloud can automatically back up changes to your files as they happen, and it gives your remote users the ability to quickly recover data as long as they have an Internet connection.
None of these steps is terribly difficult or expensive to carry out, so there’s no reason to neglect them. Implement the protection these advanced products from Symantec offer and you’ll have the best of both worlds—an efficient mobile workforce whose PCs and data are as secure as they would be in the office.
This story, "Secure Your Mobile Workforce" was originally published by BrandPost.