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*cough* Have to work from home *sneeze*?

Not that there is any reason to say this, but it is possible that a significant portion of the workforce will be either absent or working from home in the next few months. This could mean opening up the corporate network to far larger numbers of telecommuters whose systems may be in various states of security disrepair. IT managers should be planning on how give secure access to the corporate network to a batch of relatively untrained employees.

If you don't work in the IT department, the story is pretty simple. Get your laptop set up to connect to your work network if it cannot do so already. Laptops that are primarily home systems should be reformatted and installed from scratch if there is any concern that the machine may contain malware; just because you aren't going to work sick doesn't mean your system should.

For those of you who do work in the IT department, well, I don't envy the job ahead of you. If your network wasn't de-perimeterized before, it will be soon, whether you like it or not. Not only do you need to prep employees' personal systems to connect to the corporate infrastructure, you also need to educate them on the risks of bringing a relatively-unclean personal system into the corporate environment. Given that home systems are not nearly as well looked-after as corporate systems, you also are going to be dealing with all the infections that your employee's home PCs will be bringing past the firewall and NAT systems and into the core network.

There aren't too many recommendations I can make that aren't common sense. For example, you can distribute more laptops to employees who don't have them. Also, you should consider extending the corporate licenses for the anti-virus products to the home systems of employees who do not possess a company-managed PC but will be expected to work remotely.

Plans similar to the one described above should be in the dusty business continuity plans that many organizations created in late 2001. It's time to update them and get ready to put them to practice.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 30, 2009 8:22 PM.

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