Working Remotely: Tips for Working Productively and Securely

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to greatly impact our community, working from home is no longer an occasional benefit, but is now a requirement for many businesses to continue operating safely and effectively. While working from home does come with its perks, there are many new risks created when staff makes the transition to a remote work environment.

If you are new to work from home, you have the same challenges you have in the office, plus the new challenges of your home environment.

First, comes cyber-safety: Here are some tips for safely working remotely. All of these are equally important. 

  1. Make sure you understand your organization’s policies and procedures. If you’re working remotely, your organization should have a Remote Work Policy. Make sure you have read and understood that policy and what is expected of you. You should also continue following ALL company policies and procedures as if you were in the office.
  2. Make sure you understand best practices. Now more than ever it’s important for you to stay up to date on cybersecurity. If your organization has an ongoing training program, make sure you’re actively participating. Scams like phishing only INCREASE when staff is working remotely – you must stay in the know on current threats and best practices.
  3. Keep all software up to date. Updates/patches are often released to address security flaws and other loopholes or risk factors. Keeping all devices updated is critical in preventing unauthorized access.
  4. If possible, use only company-issued devices for work. Do not let friends or family members use your company-issued device.
  5. Do not use your company-issued device for personal use. It is advised to stay off social media, shopping sites, or any other websites you may visit in your free time when using a company-issued device. Only do secure, company work on company devices and time.
  6. Be mindful of where you save files and data. Do not save files on your local or personal hard drives that may be more likely to be breached.
  7. Back up your files. If you’re unsure of your company’s backup procedure, contact your supervisor or IT. It is very important to back up your work that way if a local loss occurs, data can be more easily recovered.
  8. It is also highly recommended that you connect to your company’s network with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you are unsure of how to do that, contact your supervisor or IT for more information.

While these are some common tips and best practices for working remotely, make sure you talk with your supervisor to ensure you’re following your company’s protocol.

Second: Think about how you can communicate most effectively both internally and externally.

  1. Are there virtual meeting tools you may already have?
    • GSuite & O365 offer built-in collaboration tools like Teams and Hangouts.
    • If you have a modern VoIP phone service like Nextiva, 8×8 and RingCentral, they come with built-in conferencing tools that range from simple voice to full video. Check with your provider for details on what they offer.
    • Check for special offers for free or discounted subscriptions from platforms like Cisco Webex, Zoom, Zoho
  2. Do you need to sign or have documents signed?  Continue to do business by signing agreements with an eSignature solution. depending on the level of accountability & traceability that you need you may be able to simply use pdf signature utility like the feature built into Preview.  If you have more rigorous requirements, look to dedicated solutions like DocuSign, HelloSign, Adobe Sign.  Be sure to check with your legal advisor before selecting a method.
  3. With a small amount of effort, you can add a social media feed to your website’s home page.  This will let you easily keep the site 100% up to date by displaying your posts to your chosen social media platform.  Websites built with WordPress can leverage one of the many free plugins to display posts from most of the popular social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

Remember, smart cybersecurity does not take a break when the office is empty.  Let’s all work together to ensure we’re doing everything we can to safely work remotely, and thus, protect patients and their data during this stressful time.


Pete Salerno

Stratus Concept LLC