Telework and Corporate Security
In February 2010, Federal Government offices in Washington, D.C. closed for four days because of an historic snowfall in the Washington-Baltimore region. Last fall, when President Obama declared the H1N1 flu pandemic a national emergency, state and local governments prepared contingency plans for relocating essential workers and handling widespread closings of schools, parks, shopping centers, and other public places where many people gather. These extreme examples and many other more ordinary ones highlight the importance of teleworking in today’s connected environment.
Agencies that had previously adapted telework plans, like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, have continued to work productively even during the once-in-100-years snowstorm. The Washington Post reports that the trademark office was working at 85% capacity despite the official shut-down of federal offices. Many corporate employees were also able to keep up productive work during this time because of their companies’ telecommuting plans.
Remote access, however, can raise many concerns about the security of company data. Agencies and corporations will, of course, want to implement best practices in all security measures. Defense in depth is the security gold standard and it should include strong multifactor authentication. For example, “out-of-band” delivery of a one-time passcode through either SMS (text messaging to pre-registered cell phones and pagers) or IVR (voice to pre-registered landline or mobile phones) helps mitigate many types of attacks associated with end-user portal and remote system access. Two-factor authentication doesn’t have to mean costly tokens for each employee either—tokenless two-factor authentication allows for a rapid ramping up of work-at-a-distance for many employees since tokens or cards don’t need to be mailed out. Being able to rapidly and efficiently implement a remote work strategy will keep business moving and corporate data safe even during stressful times like pandemics or natural disasters.
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