Mobile Working Challenges To Consider During 2012

The Olympic Games taking place next year will be a great reason to stay in or around London but it may be a nightmare for those trying to get to work during the rush hour.

To combat the strain on transportation, Transport Minister, Norman Baker is urging businesses around London to encourage their employees to work remotely and even offer flexible hours during the 2012 Olympic Games to help ensure that public transport can cope with the increased demands of those travelling to the Games.

It will be important for businesses to have the right solutions in place in order to support remote working and ensure that this flexibility does not jeopardise the company’s security.

Maintaining Productivity

The jobs and tasks of employees range from managers to administrative staff, across different departments and even in different offices. As employees work remotely, it’s crucial that Individual profiles are configured to the needs of each employee so that they have the correct access to the files and programs matched to their job role wherever they are.

Unfortunately, managing network access can become particularly difficult for IT administrators and it can often be completely overlooked. The consequences could be result in a HR nightmare with loss of productivity and worse, confidential data being visible to those that are not meant to see it.

There are a range of third-party solutions that exist to deliver applications to remote workers that offer various levels of security and data portability to make working remotely easier. A major consideration for remote workers is how the organisation will support them when they encounter problems.

IT administrators are encouraged to adopt third-party tools to support remote management of workers’ desktops, regardless of whether the user or the administrator is part of a managed domain. Not only does an advanced remote support solution increase end-user productivity, but it also provides significant time savings for administrators through faster problem resolution.

Protecting Data

There are third party solutions that enable IT administrators to reduce their burdens within the enterprise. A comprehensive desktop configuration management solution that includes enhanced security controls and platform support can be implemented quickly for immediate use with a “Point, Click, Done” approach.

Solutions that manage the desktop can create specific profiles for each user according to their job role to ensure that each user is assigned the right profile they need to perform their job function without disruption. This type of solution can also lockdown or limit the use of USB ports and other removable storage devices to protect against malicious software attacks as well as enabling only authorised individuals to remove sensitive data from the company network.

There are multiple outlets for data on the modern PC through USB and other peripheral ports. These ports can be used in many ways for extracting data at high speed, including removable hard drives and smart phones, and is one of the most vulnerable ways for sensitive data to leave an organisation.

To control this risk, IT administrators should consider a solution that places removable storage security policies on corporate laptops and home PCs. A good solution installs a software agent and per-user security policy on each device, providing granular control of USB ports and all other removable storage devices, so privileged employees can be given less restricted access than those who have no need to take data off the network.

How to Ensure Employee Privacy

IT teams need a way to support and secure workers who are using their own laptop or computer outside the perimeter of the corporate network. While the remote management of a user’s personal computer is sometimes necessary for employee productivity, businesses could face legal trouble if they overstep the privacy boundary.

When accessing a home worker’s computer, especially if it is used for personal use as well as business, laws restrict administrators from looking at the users’ personal applications and data. Businesses need to carefully consider the extent to which users are allowed to use non-company-supplied IT hardware for working from home.

Remote desktop access through Terminal Server or Virtual Desktops might be one way to address the challenge of providing access without exposing data.

Remote working gives employees the flexibility that they need to remain productive even when events, such as the Olympics, cause disruptions that may keep them from the office. However, businesses need to remember to implement IT solutions that can be controlled at a granular level, so that individuals have access to information that they need but that company policies and security is still respected.

Mike Dowling is the EMEA channel manager at ScriptLogic, a Quest Software Company. Mike specialises in Active Directory/Server and Desktop Management Software along with Application Packaging and Virtualisation.