Pretty much everyone can agree that leaving your house keys in the front door is a security risk. But did you realize that working from home presents security risks for companies as well? Many people are figuratively leaving their keys (data and corporate files) in the front door (unsecured access points). This is why the new #WFH reality is setting off alarms with IT professionals across the country.

Your IT department is probably having palpitations with their inability to control policies and procedures in today’s #WFH reality. At work you are on a corporate network. Regardless of whether it’s a VPN, cloud repositories, on-prem secure network storage locations or your own drive, it’s all set up. Companies have tested and proven their networks to ensure that everyone complies. And if they don’t, IT is right there to help.

Now your office has moved into your home. And while you are probably still connecting via VPN or other secure technologies to access your company servers, you are accessing it from your own home network. Additionally, we all have a desire to collaborate, so we are heavily reliant upon third party platforms to connect us and share our data. This is where vulnerabilities to security begins to reveal itself.

IT Hates Scattered Data – You Should Too.

At home, you are using your computer and your own home network, but what else is connected to that network? Your wife’s computer? Your kids’ gaming system? Your home entertainment music or movie streaming devices? Not only does this impact speed of connectivity, but it also compromises thave security of the network.

We don’t have enough hours in the day to work, make sure the kids are online doing their classes, and  troubleshoot IT issues. So we make band-aid decisions to keep our workflows going when things go haywire. Internet searches have taken the role of IT. 

How many times have you had the need to put a file on a stick and use your spouse’s computer and send it out due to an IT or connectivity problem? How many times have you uploaded corporate information to your personal Google drives because the VPN went haywire and you couldn’t connect? Everytime it happens we think, “just this once”. While no one thinks that Aunt Betty is going to reveal trade secrets, suddenly you have sensitive information out there in the open. 

Even worse, you now have the root file, the copy on your zip drive, the one in the Google Drive, and the one that is now in the recipient’s inbox. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see how that issue compounds itself into multiple copies. Before you know it, the root file is no longer the only copy, but it is also no longer the most current.

On a Call Together Doesn’t Equal Working Together

So, what are we to do? #WFH appears to be here for at least the near term and we need to find ways to stay connected—both to our data stores and to one another. In recent months, we’ve all gotten very comfortable with video conference call technologies to keep us connected. Sure, these provide a way for us to talk to one another (and see the cat who has taken up residence on our co-worker’s keyboard), but there is still no way to collaborate beyond the limits of screen sharing. 

While that may have been a great band-aid in the early stages of WFH, companies now must look to innovative technologies that do more than just put people on the same computer screen and phone line. Technologies such as Vizetto’s Reactiv SUITE go beyond that by enabling coworkers to simultaneously collaborate and participate as if they were sitting across the conference room table from one another, regardless of their physical locations. 

Participants can not only share video and audio, but seamlessly share files and even interact, ink and move or edit content—at the same time, live, during your meeting. Think of it as your “Digital Table,” where multiple remote users can simultaneously access, push and manipulate any type of content as if it were a piece of paper on your desk or ideation on your conference room whiteboard.

This creates a work-from-home situation that actually works for the long haul.

The Best News? Connectivity Does NOT Have to Come at the Expense of Security

When looking for the best solutions to keep your colleagues connected, make sure the product(s) offer the following benefits: 

  • Agnostic to where data is stored
    Look for solutions that don’t host content and are not cloud-based. You want a solution that seamlessly integrates with your cloud repositories, or servers, so your employees can access data where IT prefers it to be stored.  
  • Archives back to root file
    Make sure that all work is automatically synchronized and archived back to the root folder and file to help eliminate version control issues and ensure that all the data your workforce needs to access is contained in one consistent source. You cannot rely on individuals to be doing this regularly. 
  • Allows a simplified workflow
    Keep an eye toward how the solution can streamline workflow for your employees who are now wearing many different hats during the day as they get into the groove of WFH. If you can eliminate the need to download attachments, saving, reattaching and re-sending files and replace it with a simple click-and-drag action, imagine how much time (and frustration) will be saved each day. 

Work-from-home may be easier on the commute, but it is much harder for companies to keep employees connected to one another and to their careers. Closing that distance and replicating the in-office, collaborative experience is key to ensuring the quality, productivity and profitability of our work, as well as the overall happiness of our workforce. Just like we have all had to adjust to the work-from-home reality, we need to adjust what technologies we need to have at our fingertips that will enable us to keep working—from wherever that may be.