Telecommuting can increase productivity and save your company money. It can also be risky. Here's how to find the right balance between benefit and risk.
This document gives general guidelines to help you in making a
decision whether to investigate the telecommuting option for your
Chances are, if you type the word "telecommuting" into a word
processing application, it will flag the word as a misspelling.
Setting up your network for telecommuting does not have to be a
mystery. As a matter of fact, the most critical steps are
accomplished without using any networking hardware whatsoever.
Telecommuting is a great way to increase productivity and save
the company money. However, there can be some risk, so finding
the right balance of benefit and risk is crucial. This document
discusses some important points to consider when deciding whether
1. Identify the users whose productivity will increase
from telecommuting. Most employees will want to telecommute, but
remember that each remote user is an additional license and adds
to the size of the hardware you need to purchase at the company
site. Mobile workers are obvious choices, but what about workers
with young children who could benefit from not having to pay
child care expenses, technical writers, customer service agents,
researchers, and so on?
2. Write a new security policy that addresses the needs of
telecommuters. One size does not fit all in the world of
telecommuting. Your network's acceptable use policy should
address on-campus behavior, and your telecommuters should have to
agree and sign an additional usage policy for telecommuting. This
policy should address use of company assets (laptops, PCs,
printers, and so on) by family members; where telecommuting is
acceptable (only at home, or is the local coffee shop approved,
and so on); and, most important, safeguarding remote access tools
such as VPN tokens. Two new polices should be written (not
amended to the current policy): one for the telecommuter and one
for the IT team that outlines responsibilities, support, recovery
of equipment if an employee leaves the company, and the incidence
3. Train users. All telecommuters should have to attend
a hands-on training class about how to use the telecommuting
solution (VPN and tokens). Make sure they use their own laptops
so they can troubleshoot and resolve any issues onsite. This
helps keep your calls to your IT support center down and reduces
user frustration. The most important thing to stress at training
is that the users know who to call in the event a VPN token is
lost, a laptop is stolen, or any other event occurs that could
lead to a compromise of your data integrity and negative exposure
for your business. This should be a 24-hour phone number to a
member of your IT staff.
These first three steps are the most important for telecommuting.
The easy part is selecting the solution and moving ahead. So let
us get started with picking out the best telecommuting solution
for your business.
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