Securing a Remote Workforce
The benefits and challenges of employing a remote workforce
According to Telecommuting Trend Data, the regular work-from-home workforce (excluding the self-employed population) has grown by 140% since 2005 — more than 4.3 million employees now work from home regularly. On top of that, the amount of U.S. employers offer flexible workplace options has grown 40% over the last five years.
As you can see, employing a remote workforce has gained a lot of traction over the past decade. These days, as more and more businesses are moving their resources and data to the cloud, remote work is no longer some futuristic concept — it’s here, and quickly becoming the new normal.
Benefits of Hiring Remote Employees
Remote work allows businesses to save money and scale like never before, and it also enables organizations to create a far more diverse workforce than they could in a geographically-locked office setting. There are three key benefits that can be universally applied across all organizations, regardless of size and industry:
1. Financial Savings
A remote workforce provides a company with several opportunities to save money. The more employees you have working remotely, the more money you will save. You won’t have to spend as much on office space, heating and cooling, water, furniture, and even the little items like hand soap and light bulbs. A penny saved is a penny earned, and all these areas of savings really add up. By cutting the use of resources, your business will be even more profitable in the long run.
2. Greater Employee Retention
Losing an employee can really put a dent in the bottom line. A recent study by SHRM found that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs on average 6-9 months of that salary. This is due to recruiting and training expenses, as well as the decrease in productivity. Companies that utilize remote employment experience 25% less turnover than companies that do not — because the flexibility and autonomy given to remote employees increases their job satisfaction and loyalty.
3. Top Talent Acquisition
When you limit your employees to working in an office, you also limit yourself. Your talent pool shrinks to whoever is looking for work in the small radius around your building — and you must be far less picky about who you hire. However, when you allow remote employment, you are suddenly able to obtain the best and brightest, regardless of their geographical location.
Challenges with a Remote Workforce
Having employees around the globe makes communication and team structure more important than ever — but this is something that can be a challenge if not executed correctly. Using cloud-based tools such as Slack or Zoom can help mitigate the challenges presented by not having in-person interactions. Another challenge is tracking employee performance — you have to establish expectations and create a system for employees to report to a team lead or boss. There are also security risks that come with a remote workforce. Those employees are not on company networks the way on-site employees are, and their online activities are not under the control of a company’s IT team.
However, there is more security now than there used to secure remote workers.
Securing a Remote Workforce
When it comes to securing a remote workforce, organizations need three things:
Multi-factor Authentication. 2FA gives organizations more peace-of-mind when remote workers connect to their company’s services. 2FA means that two separate pieces of authentication evidence are required for your employees to gain access to a particular account.
Access Control. Access control is all about controlling who gets access to what. It is one of the most fundamental security practices and is crucial to protecting your organization.
Endpoint Security. Endpoint security is the process of securing the various endpoints that connect to a network, often defined as end-user devices such as mobile devices, laptops, and desktop PCs, and protecting the network by allowing only endpoints that comply with company security policy to connect.
Choosing the Right Security Solution
OpenVPN Access Server secures your data communications, provides Internet privacy, remote access for employees, secures IoT, and secure access to on-premise, data center, or public cloud resources — and provides crucial security features such as multi-factor authentication, access control, and endpoint security.
Access Server is one of the top ten AWS (Amazon Web Services) software solutions. It’s also available on GCP, Digital Ocean, Oracle, and Azure. If you’d rather not work within the cloud, you can purchase your own subscription and build this system out internally.