Smart Working: we make the company accessible safely from home

16-04-2020 | 7 min to read

How can the need to implement Smart Working for companies overcome the potential dangers of working from home and the consequent heavy investment to get it on track?

The emergency that we are experiencing requires not to stop production activities in order not to block the economy.

The adoption of Smart Working, i.e. working from home and not at work in the company, requires information technology but also awareness of how they work.

An incorrect use of these technologies can put production activities at serious risk and must also take into account scenarios that until a few weeks ago were unthinkable.

When analysing the needs and opportunities to operate from home, it is necessary to distinguish from the beginning whether the tools used at home are owned by the company or by the employee. This detail is very important to focus on two functional aspects such as security with possible compromise of company data, not least the privacy of the employee and his data.

In fact, if the tools such as the personal computer (PC), tablet or mobile are the company’s, it is possible to impose policies that mitigate the problems of security and limitation of use for business purposes, adopting firewalls and antivirus and discouraging private use of the device, in operations such as the installation of software other than those necessary for work activities.

Using instead employee tools, according to the latest trends Bring Your Own device (BYOD), depending on the type of sharing of services, files, directories and applications, you could face inconveniences caused by unsafe systems-devices.

What are the right tools to work in Smart Working if I have WEB-only applications in my company?

Smart Working is the direct consequence of the good degree of digitization of the company and of how much it has invested in information technology tools, not remaining firm to outdated solutions, such as the desktop model, but moving more and more to web-oriented applications.

The great developments in the field of information security carried out in recent years in the WEB environment, allow the company to use company applications directly from home even on a PC/TABLET/Private Mobile through a tool called ADC or Application Delivery Controller, which checks the employee’s digital certificate when calling up services (applications), allowing access and use.

This technology is called Strong Authentication, now usable by anyone, which allows the same employees to use the company applications as they see the movies on Youtube or use Facebook on their device.

Nothing to install on your device, except loading your digital certificate without having to become an IT expert!

The advantages of Strong Authentication using Digital Certificate:

  • Access through any browser
  • No installation of specific programs on the private device
  • No repercussions on the company side caused by virus infection in the private device.
  • No invasion of privacy for web surfing for business and/or private use
  • No access to employee data for directory and file shares even accidental

Oplon has worked on this technology to make it simple and accessible by reducing, and in some cases eliminating, the need to use VPN systems that would expose the company but also the employee to access or compromise data on both sides.

If I don’t have WEB-only applications and I share documents and shared folders a solution can be VPN

If the company has not only WEB applications but also provides for the use of shared folders with documentation, most of the time sensitive, the VPN tool is to be considered, and thus supports the Oplon technology that allows to create a buffer zone between the external world and the internal network, what follows is the separation between Internet and Intranet, mitigating unwanted effects of direct access to internal networks.

However, there are other ways to share documents, such as synchronizing archives by passing through the cloud.

This option allows you to have a local copy of your documents, and if necessary, make it shareable in virtual enterprise environments.

If I only have shared folders you can use disk space in the Cloud but…

Using public clouds for business documents that may be confidential is never a good idea. As serious as companies are, the data shared in this way is not known where in the world it is stored and today the information market is very thriving. If you think that your data is not of interest or that being in the mass is not noticed, you are wrong. BigData analysis systems are able to identify the information that interests you and sell it to the highest bidder.

According to the latest market surveys and events at the expense of even large business realities, an increasingly flourishing market is the sale of data of any origin, personal, business strategy, banking and so on, issues on which we should focus our attention before making a choice of convenience.

The disadvantages of sharing data via cloud if no security measures are taken in smart working:.

  • The data can be copied without realizing it, as the original remains
  • Data and services provided by a data center not located in your country, may be made unavailable with difficult interaction and possibility of action.
  • Company data residing on non-business PCs can be compromised by malware and viruses that would then be propagated to all company devices through synchronization.
  • If your PC is lost or stolen, your business documents can be made public.

There are other types of folder and document sharing that are similar in their advantages and flaws. To give a schematic representation of some of the possibilities of sharing and using SmartWorking forms below is a list of possibilities to which we have given a weighted score that includes ease of use, security and privacy. Obviously depending on the type of applications you have to use.

This treatment does not want to be exhaustive not having spoken about methods of data encryption in your PC but already from this we understand that the more a solution is simple and uses tools borrowed from the Internet and the more reliable it is. Moreover, we cannot turn all the staff into computer experts.

Oplon has been producing technology for over 10 years focusing its attention on the development of the tool Application Delivery Controller (ADC), the only tool able to combine control, usability, simplicity and security in the delivery of applications being the cornerstone on which the entire life cycle of the data center services.

For Coronavirus COVID-19 Oplon emergency

For the emergency Coronavirus COVID-19 Oplon provides for small and medium businesses both the digital certificate solution free of charge until 31/12/2020 and an additional Virtual Appliance with OpenVPN® community edition pre-installed completely free of charge with instructions to keep employees working from home and keep the production cycle going.

Scores: 1 to 5 with 1 = poor and 5 = optimal.

ACCESS BY DIGITAL CERTIFICATES TO WEB APPLICATIONS (STRONG AUTHENTICATION)

Score: 5

Advantages

– Browser access

– No installation of programs on the PC/TABLET/MOBILE not in the company

– No problems affecting the company due to PC/TABLET/non-company computer virus infection

– No privacy issues for non-work web browsing

– No privacy issues on data residing on the PC/TABLET/MOBILE non business

Disadvantages

– Applications must be WEB usable via browser

ACCESS THROUGH VPN

Score: 3

Advantages

– You can share directories, files and documents directly as in the office workplace

– You can use non-WEB applications

– It is possible to carry out interventions remotely by specialized personnel (technicians, systems engineers).

Disadvantages

– Installing a VPN client on the employee’s PC/TABLET/MOBILE

– Non-company PCs do not have the same antivirus components as corporate PCs with potential security issues

– Access from non-business PCs potentially infected with viruses that can compromise data and business applications

– Programs installed on the PC/TABLET/MOBILE non-business with compatibility, version or conflict issues with other business programs

– Non-company PCs may contain programs downloaded from the network by family members containing viruses

– Programs installed on the PC/TABLET/MOBILE non-business with compatibility, version or conflict issues with other business programs

– Non-company PCs may contain programs downloaded from the network by family members containing viruses

– Possible compromise of shared archives by viruses present on the PC/TABLET/non-company mobile phone

– Possible compromise of privacy if non-working web browsing passes through the company VPN that performs the employee’s web browsing logs without his knowledge

– Privacy issues on data residing on the PC/TABLET/MOBILE non corporate that being in the company network may be visible to the employee unconsciously

CLOUD SERVICES

Score: 1 if outside the country of origin.

Score: 3 if the datacenter and provider are in your country.

Advantages

– Delegation of the management of the company infrastructure to a third party

Disadvantages

– The data can be copied and no one notices because it remains the original

– Data and services if not in your own country may be made unavailable with difficult interaction and or possibility of action

FILE CONDITIONING WITH SYNCHRONIZATION OF DATA IN CLOUD

Score: 1 if outside the country of origin.

Score: 3 if the datacenter and provider are in your country.

Advantages

– Delegation of the management of the company infrastructure to a third party

-Simplicity of implementation often already present on the basic version of your PC/TABLET/MOBILE operating system

Disadvantages

– The data can be copied and no one notices because it remains the original

– Data and services if not in your own country may be made unavailable with difficult interaction and or possibility of action

– Business data residing on non-business PCs can be compromised by malware and viruses that would be propagated to the entire company through synchronization.

– Business data resident on non-business PCs may be unintentionally made public

– If your PC is lost or stolen, your company data can be made public.

FILE SHARING WITH SYNCHRONIZATION OF COMPANY FILES WITHOUT USE OF THE CLOUD

Score: 3

Advantages

– You get a local copy of the data/documents that can be used more easily in this way

Disadvantages

– Business data residing on non-business PCs can be compromised by malware and viruses that would be propagated to the entire company through synchronization.

– Business data resident on non-business PCs may be unintentionally made public

– Installation of programs in non-company PC/TABLET/MOBILE with probable installation and setup problems

– Installing programs in the non-business PC/TABLET/MOBILE with compatibility issues

– If your PC is lost or stolen, your company data can be made public.

FILE SHARING THROUGH WEBDAV

Score: 3

Advantages

– Direct access from PC/TABLET/Non-Company Mobile

Disadvantages

– Business data accessible from PC/TABLET/MOBILE non-business data can be compromised by malware and viruses

– Company data accessible from PC/TABLET/non-company mobile may be intentionally or unintentionally made public.

– If logins and passwords are saved to facilitate access and the PC is lost or stolen, your company data can be made public.