With many states reinstating stay at home orders, now might be a good time to reevaluate how well your initial plan is working out.

When the pandemic first hit, you may have quickly (and haphazardly) set up your business from home thinking this was a short-lived thing. However, if working remotely is now the new normal, are there changes you should make permanently going forward?

There are technical steps you can take to ensure your remote employees’ computers, WiFi access points and VPN’s are not opening your network to hackers and cybercriminals. Also, make sure you have the business tools necessary for your people to communicate and collaborate efficiently.

Here are four essential technology steps to consider:

Step #1: Use Company-Issued Computers And Laptops. Don’t allow your employees to use their home PCs, laptops and devices, because they are typically not secure. Therefore, any malware they “invite” onto their computer can attack your network, compromising your data. Make sure they start with a company-issued lap-top that features the latest antivirus software.

Step #2: Secure Their WiFi Access Point. Without a secure WiFi access point, you’re essentially leaving a backdoor open to hackers. That’s because WiFi signals are often broadcast far beyond your employees’ homes and out into the streets. Yes, drive-by hacking is popular among cybercriminals today.

Here are a few tips for a more secure WiFi:

  • Use stronger encryption and a more complex password
  • Hide your network name
  • Use a firewall and make sure it’s enabled

Step #3: Use A Two-Factor Authentication VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, which is a private, encrypted “tunnel” that goes direct to your office’s IT network. By supporting two-factor authentication, your employees will need to call in to access your network. This one crucial step makes it far more difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to access and steal data on your network.

Step #4: Implement A Shared Communication Platform Meant For Business. There are a lot of collaboration tools out there, but when it comes to an all-in-one business solution, Microsoft Teams ranks highest. Here are some reasons why:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It puts everything in one place. You can chat, and it also integrates seamlessly with Office 365 (Excel, Word, cloud storage, document syncing and more).
  • Maximize your Microsoft Investment. If there’s already a high adoption of Microsoft products in your business, the more positive return you’ll experience. According to a Forrester report, a successful adoption of Office 365 can give your business an ROI of 162% within three years.

Working from home as the new norm may not be a bad thing. Studies have shown that when your employees work from home, productivity increases, operation costs and overhead decrease, employee morale improves, and turnover rates plummet. If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to put those permanent policies and procedures in place for your remote workforce.