What is a remote working security policy?

Curious about developing a remote working security policy? Confused? Straight up concerned? Whichever way you feel about it, you've found the right blog. With so many organizations now shaped by hybrid work — 28% of full time employees according to Forbes — keeping them secure and compliant can be tricky. You probably know you need some kind of documented plan for your company. One that sets out the rules and processes for colleagues working outside your office. No problem! That's why we're here.

Read on to learn:

  • What a work from home security policy might include
  • Which stakeholders you need to include when creating one
  • Our proudly unorthodox perspective about the whole thing

Let's go!


Why would you consider a work-from-home security policy?

They say “fools rush in,” but while taking WFH security seriously is the opposite of foolish, it pays to slow down and think about your approach. Google 'work from home IT security policy' and you'll find yourself drowning in comprehensive recommendations. But there's a caveat: They rarely fit your company's specific needs. Before we explain why that's the case, let's get the broad strokes out of the way first.

The pandemic saw millions of workers abandon the office for kitchen tables, home desks and beyond. Data compliance and security took a hit as a result. Now, with hybrid work the norm, security conscious employers remain on the back foot. Remote workers rarely have the same protection they'd get in an office — 59% of them use personal devices to do their job, increasing the risks of external and internal threats.

Implementing a home security policy can help safeguard against those threats. Depending on your intention, it can cover multiple issues. They include the following:

  • Bring your own device requirements
  • Acceptable use standards
  • Endpoint security considerations
  • Incident response approaches

Let's look at them in more detail.

  1. Bring your own device requirements: If your remote colleague uses their personal tablet for work, that device may have to meet certain security standards to access corporate resources. 
  2. Acceptable use standards: In other words, how you define which activities are (and are not) permitted on corporate devices. This is important when considering how blurred today's boundaries are between work and play.
  3. Endpoint security considerations: Remote workers' devices tend to operate outside of the corporate network (and by extension, that network's defenses). An endpoint security policy sets out how your organization handles this — whether in terms of installing security solutions, enforcing updates or otherwise. 
  4. Incident response approaches: Remote devices can cause unique headaches when subject to attacks. Incident response policies ensure you have a plan for off-site scenarios. 

Which stakeholders should be involved?

If one or more of the above feel relevant to your situation, and you're thinking about taking the next step, we've got news for you: that next step will differ according to your organization's setup. For example, are you a lone-wolf, responsible for security as well as your main discipline? Are you one of many decision makers in a dedicated IT team? Are you the leader of a larger company looking to bring in external support? Whatever the scenario, your go-to stakeholders should include IT expertise, executive input, and potentially, depending on your line of business, legal practitioners (who can advise on shaping policies to keep workers on the right side of compliance needs).


Do you really need a security policy for remote workers?

Okay — so you know what remote work security policies include. You know who to bring in if developing your own. But here's the big question. Do you really need one? Honestly? Regardless of whether your team is 100% remote or spends the bulk of their time working from the office; and whether or not you're a giant corporation or a startup…we say…no. You just need the right solution.

Plenty of companies interpret those last six words as meaning 'assess VDI vs. VPN and pick the one you like the most.' However, we'd disagree. Neither virtual desktop infrastructure nor virtual private network truly satisfy the needs of a modern remote workforce.The former eat into your budget and can be slow to run. The latter can be hard to get up and running away from the office. They only secure a user's workspace, which becomes less relevant in the cloud era.


Finding the right remote working security solution isn't hard…

We get it. Thrashing out a security policy for remote workers might feel overwhelming. However, it really doesn't need to be. Because here's the thing: the optimal solution makes most policies completely redundant. Here's our 'hypothetical' reasoning as to why:

  • BYOD requirement policy — The right solution in place ensures a personal laptop or tablet automatically meets desired security standards. 
  • Acceptable use standards — The right solution operates in a way that the boundaries between work and play are completely ironcast, making the question of 'acceptable' a moot point. 
  • Endpoint security considerations — The right solution comes equipped with everything your remote colleague might need to stay secure and protected, whether that be keylogger blocking, virus engine, screenshot prevention…you name it. 
  • Incident response approaches — The right solution would make this redundant too, on the basis that incidents simply don't happen.

Ready for the good news?

We're happy to report this isn't just a hypothetical exercise. We designed a simple, secure workspace that protects company data with zero hassle. Think of a Chrome-style browser that gives you Fort Knox-level security when it's used — something you can easily click and out of depending on the task at hand (personal or professional). That's Cubeless.

We won't bang on about it right here. But trust us, once you've learned more about us, you'll be less hung up on a remote work security policy of any kind. Why not view our secure remote worker app here and get the ball rolling?


Additional resources.

Article

Introducing Cubeless - Simple and Comprehensive Remote Workforce Security

Remote work security veteran Treb Ryan covers the top challenges of securing your remote workforce, with a little help from Cubeless.

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Creating a work from home security checklist for your team

Learn how to build a work from home security checklist for your workforce. Includes recommendations for what you should and shouldn’t include.

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How to conduct a risk assessment for remote workers.

Get proven tips for conducting risk assessments for your remote team. Learn associated recommendations for more effective mitigation strategies.