We’re not all equipped to work from home, but that’s what many of us have been instructed to do. Big companies have resources that smaller companies just don’t have access to. But how do you setup a safe and functional work from home environment for you and your staff?
At Positive E Solutions Inc., we help bridge the gap by tapping you into resources that are trusted and known to be safe. We do our level best to protect you from falling victim to social engineering attack as you attempt to find a solution by providing you essential tools and services to help your company through the current pandemic.
As cybersecurity expert, Stephen Cobb recommended when I spoke with him recently on the podcast, a strong line of defense is to educate yourself on current best cyber-security practices. A great resource, provided by security company ESET, is the WeLiveSecurity blog. Stephen also suggests signing up for ESET’s free Cybersecurity Awareness Training.
That’s helpful, but perhaps cybersecurity isn’t your strength, or maybe you don’t feel you are tech savvy enough to take on the challenge. So it’s imperative to work with a company who can help you establish a safe work from home environment.
Stephen points out that he doesn’t know how his boiler works, so he knows not to try servicing it himself.
Socially distancing you and your staff is much easier when you have software to allow group meetings from home. Improve productivity and boost staff morale by checking in for a video conference. It’s easy, and doesn’t require a lot of tech know-how. Don’t have a webcam? No problem! Participants can use their smartphone to join the meeting.
Zoom – https://zoom.us/
Zoom is specifically a conference calling app. It’s extremely easy to setup and use, and the person hosting the meeting may even record it to their computer, if desired. The free version allows up to 100 attendees for meetings up to 40 minutes in length. Unlimited talk time is available for just $20 CAD per month. If callers have a webcam or are using their smartphone for the meeting, they will be visible.
Google Hangouts Meet – https://gsuite.google.com/intl/en_ca/products/meet/
This is Google’s remote meeting app. It is extremely easy for participants to join and makes it really simple to create and host video or audio calls. If your business uses G Suite, you already have access to Hangouts Meet: Even the “Basic” G Suite tier includes Hangouts Meet for up to 100 participants per call.
Microsoft Teams – https://products.office.com/en-ca/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software
Teams is the evolution of Microsoft’s Skype for Business product, which they discontinued last year. Teams is a collaborative system designed to make remote meetings easier. It includes video and audio calling It is normally included with Office365 Enterprise, however during the COVID-19 crisis, Microsoft has also made it freely available to Office365 Pro users. If you use Office365, take a look: It may be included.
Slack – https://slack.com/
Slack is quite similar to Microsoft Teams in that it is both chat and video calls. As it is independent of the big three, it’s an excellent solution for companies who prefer to use software that is not owned by Google or Microsoft. Slack supports setting up various channels, which can be, for example, your company departments. The free version of Slack allows one-on-one video or audio calls. For around $7 / month you can up that to 15, or if you need more, you can select a tier that works for your company.
Remote Access to Work Systems
It’s not always practical to simply take your work computer home with you. You lose access to network resources such as the server, backups, and network shares. So instead, you can remotely connect to your work computer from home, and it will be like bringing up your computer screen remotely.
The danger with this setup is that if you are not sure about best security practices, you could be opening up your computer for access by third parties as well. Namely, criminal hackers.
Robbie’s Tip: If the solution you are exploring for remote access does not provide two-factor authentication, it’s not good enough. Don’t use it.
ConnectWise Control Access (ScreenConnect) – https://www.connectwise.com/resources/trial/control-access
This product offers two-factor authenticated free trial accounts which will allow most users to access one or two office computers from home. Paid licensing is available for access to larger scale, such as an entire office.
Google Remote Desktop – https://remotedesktop.google.com
You probably already have a Google account. Did you know it includes a Google Remote Desktop product for free? Ensure your Google account has two-factor authentication enabled, and setup your work computer for remote access. Then, login to your Google account from home and you’ll see your work computer in the list of computers available in Google Remote Desktop.
While each of the recommended options can be considered “safe” when used correctly, an improper configuration could allow remote attackers access to your computer and network. As pointed out by Stephen Cobb, it is important that if you are not privy to the current best security practices, you should contact a professional firm to assist you with deploying either of these products.
Positive E Solutions Inc. is in this together with our clients. Whether you’ve worked with us before, or you’ve never heard of us, we’re here to help. As a full-service IT company, much of our time as of late has been spent helping companies just like yours to create a safe and secure work from home environment. There is a new demand for a service we’ve been providing for years.
We welcome you to contact us via our web site: https://positiveesolutions.com/contact/
Wishing you and your staff and families health and safety during this difficult time.
Robbie Ferguson is the host of the Endpoint Security Podcast at Positive E Solutions Inc. His day-to-day includes providing security-related advice and training to companies and individuals across Canada, and offering solutions to protect against modern threats in the workplace.