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A Symantec Connect Document

Remote workers and mobility Remote workers mobility

Remote working, outsourcing and telecommuting are realities that bring big benefits to companies and employees alike. But this dramatic change also affects how we must approach security.

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White Paper: Remote workers and mobility

Remote workers and mobility Remote workers mobility

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Benefits of mobile working . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The risks of mobility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Top 10 challenges of mobile and flexible working . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Office Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Remote workers and mobility

Laptops, smartphones, cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) have completely changed how we define a job and, indeed, how we define the very enterprises that create them. Mobility is the rule of the day, and this enabling technology has brought about two major changes: 1. Employees no longer need to be tethered to the physical office, and telecommuting has become a realistic option. 2. Companies are able to undertake a broader outsourcing strategy, leveraging the services of partners in all parts of the world. These two realities mean that employees have greater flexibility in working away from the primary office environment, either part or all of the time, and further, that employees are increasingly no longer employees, but independent contractors. Within this environment, information-sharing, communication and collaboration technology is critical to success, and growth-oriented companies must see their borders as more porous in order to compete and succeed.

Benefits of mobile working

This enabling technology, and the structural changes it has made to business and employment patterns today, is widely used and affordable. Cloud options, for example, allow smaller businesses with limited budgets to gain access to high-end features, which enable them to compete more successfully against much larger enterprises. Whether small or large though, the benefits to remote working are clear: Save time: If employees are permitted to work away from the office for two days weekly and save one hour on the daily commute, there is a saving of 19 working days each year. Bring costs down: By the same criterion, with two days of off-site work, the company could save a minimum of 2,880 in the cost of travel, not to mention potential increases in office overhead costs. Reduce stress levels: The primary reason for employee stress in the UK is the commute, resulting in the loss of 6.7 million workdays each year. Enhance productivity: Flexibility in location and working hours increases productivity by 15-31%. Happy workers: Employees feel a greater sense of well-being and are more relaxed with flexible and remote working patterns. But along with the indisputable benefits, and the fact that the enabling technology is mature, available and cheap, there is a downside to the march towards mobility: the corporate IT manager and security director risks losing control over the network.

The risks of mobility

For years, IT managers and security personnel have hammered home the need for a coherent security policy, appropriate security technology and the uniform application of both. Internal policies have wisely imposed controls that limit or prohibit unauthorised applications on company computers, forbid the use of instant messaging or external web-based email accounts, and deploy authentication and authorisation techniques to keep tabs on who

Remote workers and mobility

accesses what, and when. But how do managers retain that level of control when employees and contractors are logging in from home? Remote workers are more likely than ever to be using a single computer for personal and business use and, as a result, may be more resistant to accepting the controls that are taken for granted when using a company machine in the confines of the office. The tension that results when the security manager attempts to tell a remote worker that they can't download MP3s onto their home computer may cause some significant resistance. A somewhat costly but effective compromise is to provide regular teleworkers with a separate machine for use in the home. Along with that, providing access to easily deployed, hosted security solutions that can still be controlled by the back office will ensure compliance and a safe computing environment. All over the world, cybercriminals are active, employing diverse methods to nudge users to malicious websites. Threats from known and unknown viruses affect business operations on a daily basis, leading to additional costs in terms of system downtime, reduction in productivity and incalculable damage to brand equity. With no security manager looking over your shoulder as you work from your living room, those malicious websites may be accessed bringing malware into the home computer, which in turn transmits it to the corporate network. MessageLabs Intelligence information has shown that 1 in 230 emails contain a virus and 39% of malicious emails have a URL link to a website that is infected. Protection of employees and remote workers from such threats is a key issue in mobility. Every company starts with a list of internal rules and guidelines for acceptable use, and such policies can be effective in preventing employees from downloading risky content, giving out confidential information, or just wasting time. But such policies require enforcement and, in a remote environment where employees may be using a single computer for both personal and work-related business, such enforcement is patchy at best. As well, there is the ever-present threat posed by connecting to the office from an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot. Logging in from a coffee house while you enjoy a cappuccino adds some major risks- not just from spilling foam on the keyboard. Imposing an acceptable use policy for computers that aren't physically in the office may be problematic. Remote employees naturally tend to want to have freedom in their web surfing, but notorious drive-by attacks may insert dangerous malware into the corporate network even if the employee does nothing but visit a single unauthorised web site. URL filtering monitors and blocks access to unauthorised sites on a granular level, enforces access policies, and prevents access to certain file types such as MP3s. Symantec MessageLabs Email and Web Protect and provides an elegant solution to extend this functionality to remote sites. Preventive measures are the only way out, as mobility is now part and parcel of any business environment and one cannot envisage living and working without these conveniences. Solutions like Symantec Endpoint, Symantec MessageLabs Email and Web Protect and, and the roaming and remote worker support options found in Symantec.clouds MessageLabs portfolio extend the security commonly applied to the internal network, to the broader virtual environment.

Top 10 challenges of mobile and flexible working

An environment that is becoming more mobile and flexible is fraught with great risk, and providing solutions for endpoint security poses some serious challenges. Symantec Endpoint offers better security for growing businesses with up-to-date protection, enhanced manageability and reliable support for a remote and mobile workforce. Provisioning security services on a hosted basis provides the advantage of not needing on-site hardware or

Remote workers and mobility

individually licensed software, giving an immediate cost advantage. In the security realm, however, cost is often secondary to safety; in this respect, the hosted model extends that security far beyond the physical confines of the corporate office. Heres how Symantec.clouds MessageLabs services can provide a solution to each challenge of a mobile and flexible working environment. 1. IT management: Smaller organisations find it more difficult to ensure security, as they lack the budget and the expertise to arrange the same levels of protection used by the larger companies. Without a proper IT department, it is difficult to provide every computer with the latest patches, the right anti-virus software and an updated firewall. Symantec.clouds MessageLabs services offer a holistic approach to messaging security, with integrated protection for email, web, and IM that works together to create a safe environment. Administrators have access to a web-based management console for easy access to common functions, and full visibility and reporting. 2. Increasing mobility: The advances in mobile technology and remote working, together with a diverse range of devices, have changed the working environment and also the very nature of security. The MessageLabs Smart Connect solution helps users who connect to the internet from sources outside their own internal network. Providing greater security, better functionality and enhanced flexibility, people can safely connect to the internet from diverse locations, including airports, hotels and Wi-Fi hotspots. 3. Multiple threat vectors. Bigger organisations with large IT departments that have an integrated, multilevel, adequate defence against all kinds of security threats, along with the requisite expertise to manage this infrastructure. The small and medium-size companies are not equipped to do this as they do not have the expertise or the integrated set-up needed for protection and security. operates in the cloud, which ensures that all users, whether in the office or in a remote location, access the same systems and the same security. One IT manager can use the web-based portal to administer all the company users and implement company policies in a consistent manner. This works as efficiently in a large organisation or in the smallest one, without any differences whatsoever. 4. More sophisticated attacks: It is now evident that the older models of firewalls and client-resident endpoint security offer some level of protection, but are not foolproof any longer. Cybercriminals are creating more sophisticated means of attack, and new risks are emerging almost on a daily basis. New virus, malware and disguised spam mail pose newer threats that need to be tackled in a more comprehensive way. Symantec Endpoint protects all desktop and laptop computers from malware with advanced features that incorporate anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and intrusion prevention. The Endpoint Protection service ensures that all mobile and remote workers are under the purview of the central IT management and that updates on security and threats are instantly applied to all users, regardless of their location, in a consistent manner.

Remote workers and mobility

5. IT resource crunch: It is often seen that in small companies the IT infrastructure is managed part-time by some employees who have other responsibilities, or often by an IT consultant who comes in occasionally to take a look at things. With neither the resources or the expertise of a large and proper IT department, it is difficult for such organisations to ensure that day-to-day user problems are solved; and the larger security threats are often overlooked. With Symantec.clouds MessageLabs services, there is no need for this kind of half-baked solution to your security issues. The hosted model provides a much simpler management approach, with no worries about updates or deployment. 6. Security expert needed: Most organisations do not have an IT security specialist on board, so the knowledge and expertise needed to tackle cyber security is lacking from the very outset. Companies usually have to depend on the advice of software vendors, whose credentials and track record may be suspect or not equipped for such management. Remote and mobile workers are at the greatest risk away from the office/company network. With, all aspects of a companys security, including that of remote and mobile workers, are addressed. provides a multi-layered range of security features that protects mobile, home and flexible users as well as those workers who remain in the office. PCs, email, IM chats and web browsing are all taken care of, without any kind of additional infrastructure.

7. Lack of PC management: Small and growing companies generally lack or have an inadequate system for PC management. When new software is installed on the company PCs, there is no system to ensure that configurations are consistent and this paves the way for future problems. These bottlenecks are more difficult to solve and it is particularly hard on remote workers. The biggest convenience of hosted services is that you can rely on the best IT security experts and the latest technology used by the largest and most secure organisations in the world. This gives your IT infrastructure advanced protection and the most advanced features to ensure security across the company, whether the users are at the office or elsewhere. Unlike an in-house system, works wherever you do. 8. The threat of social networks: Social networking, whether on Twitter, Facebook or various blog sites, is the latest buzzword in internet terminology. As users increase in number, the threats that these sites pose increase exponentially. Cybercriminals, looking for innovative ways to attack systems, use networks of friends who share unsafe links to circulate viruses and malware. If an organisation is using the social network sites to promote business, it is putting its systems at considerable risk. With, you can eliminate the risk. Symantec MessageLabs Web protects users from all web-borne risks. Since websites increasingly contain malware, this service protects remote users when they go online or even visit social networking sites. Company norms regarding access to websites are also implemented through this service. All traffic is filtered and scanned before it reaches end users, regardless of how they are connecting to the internet. 9. Company policy compliance: In todays interconnected world, it is wise to have a clear company policy regarding email, access to websites and internet usage. Rules and regulations can be put in place, but

Remote workers and mobility

control is something else altogether. Users, especially those in a mobile or remote environment, can easily flout rules and the acceptable use policy guidelines. Symantec MessageLabs Security ensures that company guidelines are followed by employees, no matter where they may be. Productivity is enhanced as users do not visit unsafe or timewasting websites and break rules. Following email policies and URL filtering of the company also ensures that risk is eliminated even when users are in remote locations. 10. Local PC threats: Threats could emerge from multiple sources, including viruses and other intrusions. Inhouse security measures like firewalls and anti-virus software are quite often fallible and open systems to breaches of security. One breach can often result in a system crash, involving loss of invaluable data, confidential information and archival records. Symantec Endpoint provides protection from such security breaches. The service ensures local virus scan and prevention of intrusions into the company network. The entire system is handled in the cloud, so that there is guaranteed security even for remote users. These scanning technologies afford optimum protection to all computers and all mobile devices. The increasing numbers of mobile and remote workers call for a level of web security that has to be more effective than the traditional methods. uses MessageLabs web security solutions that delivers the highest level of protection, especially for flexible and mobile workers. With no hardware to install, it can be a cost-effective way to protect remote workers. MessageLabs services currently protect six billion email connections and one billion web requests each day across the world, providing the experience, expertise and knowledge to offer optimum protection to remote workers. These services are provided by a global infrastructure and 24/7 support by our security experts. Get in touch with us today to understand the difference. Find out more - call us today or visit

Remote workers and mobility

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About More than 31,000 organisations ranging from small businesses to the Fortune 500 across 100 countries use Symantec.clouds MessageLabs services to administer, monitor and protect their information resources more effectively. Organisations can choose from 14 pre-integrated applications to help secure and manage their business even as new technologies and devices are introduced and traditional boundaries of the workplace disappear. Services are delivered on a highly scalable, reliable and energy-efficient global infrastructure built on 14 data centers around the globe. A division within Symantec Corporation, offers customers the ability to work more productively in a connected world.

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