The world of business has changed, and it is now quite rare for people to start their working day at nine and leave the office at five – this is if they have an office at all. More and more people are working from home, either full time or for part of the week. It is also important to stay connected to work when away on business trips or when traveling to meetings. Luckily technology has evolved to the point where everything you might need can be accessed remotely, and laptops and home desktop computers have just as much power and memory as those in the workplace.
Ensuring that any device you are accessing work files, emails or documents from has the right software installed is key to making sure that you can be just as efficient on the move or working from home as in the office. Setting everything up in advance is the best way to make sure you can jump straight in when you want to reply to emails on the train, or work on a document that you have saved online at the weekend. You may want to work on a mixture of devices including tablets and phones, all of which may need special software to perform the same tasks as your computer. For email, unless it is an online service like gmail, you will often need to use a hosted service for programs such as outlook, so make sure you have all the right web addresses and passwords for this.
When switching between multiple devices you need to be extra careful about Internet security. It is no use having state of the art precautionary software installed on all the machines in your office, if you don’t apply the same standards to other devices that you access the same information on. Symantec has found that attacks are often targeted to steal information from individuals within companies, as well as just the companies themselves, and the average cost of online crime to targeted US businesses last year was a huge $591,780. Confidential information is easier for cyber criminals to access on computers with less protection like your home pc, so it is essential to think before you connect. For more information on web security trends in 2012 see part 1 and part 2 of this Symantec infographic.
If you are travelling and are thinking of using internet cafes or hotel internet connections, check the security settings first. It is often a better idea to bring your own laptop and find Wi-Fi so you can be sure that you will have all the programs you need, and your security is assured. If you have to use an unfamiliar machine for work, make sure you are careful what sites you visit, passwords you use and confidential data you send over an unknown connection.
Working from home or checking in whilst on the move is great for businesses as it means its people are always connected. Flexible working has changed the working world for the better, but it is important to stay professional in your approach, set up your equipment in advance, and not leave security to chance.