Because accountants handle sensitive financial information, information security is a major consideration. Working from home is no different. No company or self-employed CPA can risk exposing client data to hackers. This means any work from home IT setup needs to consider security risks related to storing and transmitting data. The same set-up also needs to offer easy access to cloud-based apps like Office 365 features, like single sign-on, and data backup solutions. Technical training for accounting and support staff would also make the working environment more secure and efficient. Any home office or remote work arrangement needs to satisfy certain non-security requirements to be truly valuable.
General Work from Home IT Considerations
Aside from security, your home office environment needs to offer fast and secure access to documents, including the ability to share files easily. This means you need access to features like data backup solutions, cloud storage, word processing, a spreadsheet, and collaboration tools. Office 365 is proving popular with remote workers because it offers those functions, plus single sign-in. The most important thing is to put in place a fast and secure network to support remote workers.
Network Security for Home Office Work
You want a fast and dependable network connection at home. You want an ergonomic workstation, big monitor, comfortable chair, and so on. For work away from home and office, you want to have fast, reliable, and secure connections. However, the most important component of your work-from-home setup isn’t physical equipment at all; the most important thing is network security. Your home office setup needs to provide some of all of these network security functions:
- Firewall – Any business network or business computer needs to be protected by a good firewall, which will monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic.
- Intrusion detection – Any good network needs hardware or software that detects illicit attempts to access the network.
- Antivirus protection for servers and workstations – When people think of cybersecurity, ransomware might be the first thing that comes to mind, now. Viruses would be a close second. Good antivirus protection is a must.
- Data encryption – Unencrypted data is vulnerable to theft or unauthorized alteration. As a CPA, you want to minimize the risk by encrypting data on your computer, on a company-owned server, and during transmission from one computer to another.
- Virtual private networks –Often used to help people circumvent website restrictions in certain countries, like China, a VPN is also helpful for securing communication on a company network. Companies use VPN software to create a secure network for a distributed workforce. VPN software can also make your computer look like it is somewhere else.
- Mobile device management – Phones and tablets are valuable, but they also introduce security risks to a company network.
Network security at home has to provide similar measures. You can set up a firewall and install commercial anti-virus software. Other tasks related to data security are complicated enough that you want technical training.
A patchwork approach to work from home IT security is not ideal for at least three reasons. Your software may not remain up to date over time. Secondly, your software may not offer good protection, or any protection, against certain security risks. Thirdly, the software may slow down your computer and network. Thirdly, you have to manage patches and updates yourself. This might sound like a minor issue, and it isn’t that time-consuming.
Security and Efficiency Are Crucial
A good home office environment offers seamless access to Microsoft Azure cloud server and/or Office 365 features like cloud storage, data backup solutions, and tight security. If you would like to be sure your work from home IT environment is safe, you need a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. Net Works has almost 20 years of experience providing networking and network security solutions and technical training for professionals. Contact Net Works today to find out more about our network security solutions.