Common Compliance Issues for Remote Employees

When the news broke about the central government of China imposing a lockdown in Wuhan near the end of January 2020, most organizations had no idea that remote working would become the norm in a very near future.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised them in late February 2020 to transition to telework, maintaining compliance with laws and industry regulations seemed far less important than ensuring the continuity of business.

However, a year has passed, and many employees have yet to return to their offices, which means that the organizations they work for still face the same compliance challenges they did a year ago. Instead of ignoring them, hoping the virus finally gets under control, they should address them as soon as possible to avoid legal, financial, and operational issues.

Acceptable Use of Technology

The pandemic has forced many employees to leave their offices, often leaving them no other option but to use their own personal devices for work in violation of many long-established acceptable use policies. Such policies should be updated to explicitly specify the appropriate usage of personal computers, smartphones, and other equipment for work-related purposes.

Specifically, acceptable use policies in the era of remote work should require employees to always use virtual private network (VPN) protection when connecting to the organization’s network over the internet. Policies that require employees to only use work-issued devices also need to specify who would be responsible if the equipment gets damaged or stolen.

Rules of Professional Conduct

When employees work remotely from their own homes, they can easily forget that they’re actually still at work—even though they see their colleagues only during Teams and Zoom meetings. and While exchanging the business suit for sweatpants may seem like an innocent perk, researchers have gathered compelling evidence supporting the theory that the clothes we wear to work have a significant impact on our productivity.

Employees’ overall presentation may also affect their conduct when communicating online with their colleagues. Of course, it’s always a good idea to create a friendly, relaxed atmosphere that encourages employees to express themselves freely and helps them cope with social isolation, but the line between it and unprofessional behavior can be thin. That’s why all organizations with a remote workforce should formalize rules of professional conduct, clearly drawing the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Information Security

Organizations, especially those operating in heavily regulated industries, are undergoing legal pressure to protect sensitive customer information against data breaches. The fines for failing to ensure sufficient information security can be devastating, and the same can be said about the resulting reputation damage.

When organizations make the transition to remote work, their endpoints quickly multiply, unsanctioned use of cloud services skyrockets, and the overall security visibility takes a nosedive. What’s more, remote employees typically connect to the internet over a shared Wi-Fi network, which may or may not be sufficiently secured.

To avoid costly data breaches and keep all sensitive information protected, organizations should upgrade their cybersecurity tools and practices. They should also train their employees to better recognize and defend themselves against common remote working scams, preventing them from being the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.

Address Your Remote Compliance Issues Now

Instead of waiting for non-compliance to catch up with you, you should address it as soon as possible. At Aligned Technology Solutions, we employ a team of IT experts who can plan, implement, and maintain all of your technology to help you keep your remote workforce safe and your organization compliant. Contact us now for more information about our services.

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