Connecting to your Business’ Network from a Home Computer is a Really Bad Idea
Cyber security incidents are rough. They force business systems and files to be shut down, sometimes for several days, while IT teams contain and remediate the problem, and the authorities investigate the breach and possible crime. Having seen businesses go through this and suffer (and in line with one of our core values, “Security is Paramount”) our team is committed to preventing these situations however possible.
If you are an employee who needs to work from home, occasionally or regularly, you need a computer that is managed by your organization’s cyber security team.
Q: We use VPN connections into our business files. Can’t that VPN software go on the PC I already have at home?
A: The anti-virus and anti-malware protection,and updates for operating systems and software on company-managed computers are regularly reviewed and closely monitored. An adept IT team knows precisely which machines are missing which day’s updates and has a plan to remediate that so there are no holes exposed on the business network. A lot of configuration goes into making sure that protection can’t be overridden and that it’s the right package to adequately protect the business. That’s just virus and malware protection. There’s also a content filter to ensure web site are clean and safe, remote management and alerting for possible issues, and depending your compliance requirements, other security tools running on your business PC. These PCs are properly licensed as well. If you connect a machine to your business network that may not have a proper license, the business may be held liable for improper use.
Q: I only need this for a couple hours. How much risk can that be?
A: Malware is often designed to lurk around, waiting for the opportunity to run its program on a larger network which might contain more valuable data. A VPN connection going live can spur that virus to scan and infiltrate the network and takes only seconds to transfer across the entire network.
Q: What alternatives do I have? I have a deadline.
A: If it’s impossible to get you a company computer with which to work, talk to your IT team about secure options. Remote access software or other cloud options may be available that allow for isolating the remote PC while still allowing access to business data.
This is one of the reasons we’re big fans of laptops vs. desktop computers for most office-based workers. With a relatively inexpensive docking station, people can be set up for productive work in two or more places with the same device and minimal hassle. They can even use the same monitors, keyboard and mouse as their home PC – ask us how!
Sometimes an ounce of prevention is inconvenient, but far better than a pound of cure!