Protecting Your Staff in Co-Working Spaces

January 12, 2017
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2 min read

Four walls, a sea of cubicles and the rest of the traditional office accoutrements are no longer standard in the working world. The number of innovative co-working spaces continues to rise around the world, and this doesn’t even include coffee shops, libraries and numerous other public places that offer free Wi-Fi. That means that your staff can be very mobile and work from just about anywhere.

It’s important to consider the security implications of what these itinerant workers are doing. IT managers are challenged to keep their networks and data secure while encouraging remote workers to be productive, whether they’re dialing in from the local WeWork or reviewing emails at McDonald’s.

Examine Your VPN

First and foremost, IT managers must consider the company’s virtual private network (VPN) technology and usage policy. Ensure that the VPN can support not only traditional PC endpoints, but also tablets and smartphones. It’s important to protect all business traffic from outsiders, whether that’s the person sitting next to you in a co-working space to an insider eavesdropping over the network to capture corporate secrets or login identities. If you haven’t examined VPNs for several years, it might make sense to review your provider and examine the latest versions from Cisco, Watchguard, Check Point, SonicWall, Juniper and others.

Speaking of eavesdropping, you might also want to equip your remote staff with plastic screen protectors that limit the field of view. Given how closely packed many of us are on planes and in coffee shops, this is a smart preventative measure.

Connecting Securely From Co-Working Spaces

If you are supporting a mixed bag of different remote endpoint devices, it might make sense to consider using virtual desktops to provide a unified collection of Windows endpoints. This is particularly true if you are supporting many Windows-based applications.

In addition, you should review your corporate password policy to make sure you have support for more complex passwords and use of multifactor authentication. Also consider using single sign-on (SSO) tools to automate and improve access to various network and online resources.

Finally, ensure that your remote workers understand how to connect properly from co-working spaces. Provide appropriate training materials that demonstrate the consequences of using open Wi-Fi networks and falling for phishing schemes.

David Strom
Security Evangelist

David is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, video blogger, and online communications professional who also advises numerous startup and well-establish...
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