Do you have a collection? Some people collect baseball cards, Barbie® dolls, or comic books. Others collect PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and wearable technology. And those with mobile devices often collect apps. Is there anything wrong with that? Well, yes and no depending on whether you telecommute to work.
An article titled, “Rethinking the Modern Accumulation of Technology,” on the Society for Human Resource Management’s website references a technology discussion at a conference where they brought up how much technology is necessary for remote workers. The answer was as little as possible, not because of cost, but because of security.
As more and more devices, buildings, appliances, and even vehicles become connected to the Internet and share data, sometimes known as the “Internet of Things,” it opens up more ways for hackers to break into a network. Look around your home and add up everything that has Internet access. You may just have a laptop, tablet, and smartphone, but what about your spouse and your kids? There could be dozens of these devices and, depending on convenience, you may grab one to use for work that is not as secure as it should be.
Consider this situation. You’re at a restaurant when all of a sudden the boss calls and urgently needs a document. Your company-provided smartphone is almost out of battery power, or doesn’t have enough to perform the task. Fortunately, one of your kids has his or her smartphone with them and it’s fully charged. “I’ll just use theirs,” you think without hesitation, but have now just unknowingly introduced a potential hole in your company’s network security.
Whether a company has telecommuters who only occasionally work from home, remote workers who work exclusively from home, or a distributed workforce where every employee of the company works remotely, the fewer devices used to connect to work, the better. In the same article, the primary modes of communicating between employees were email, chat, and sometimes video. If a laptop, home Internet connection, and smartphone that can connect to the Internet as a backup are able to achieve these modes of communication, then nothing else is needed. While some Internet-connected devices may be useful, employees should stick with what’s provided and approved by the company.