H1N1 and Snowstorms – Training for Teleworkers

In a blog posting entitled “H1N1 and telework,” Akamai’s Senior Director of Information Security and Chief Security Architect, Andy Ellis, writes that:

[H1N1] affects us in the workplace. If an employee has a small child and they don’t have a stay-at-home caregiver, expect that they’re going to miss more time than in prior years … Also, you may want to suggest that employees with sick children stay at home even if they aren’t the primary caregiver, just to minimize workplace infections.

Andy then goes on to talk about the components of a telework plan that could be used to minimize the disruption.

An interesting post and, with the recent weather-related travel problems on the East Coast, even more timely. There are going to be times when you need staff to work from home, and sometimes this may not be pre-planned. So, in addition to the components that Andy outlines in his blog, you might want to think about some of the training aspect of this. In particular:

  1. If an employee working at home is going to be:
    • accessing your IT systems remotely; and/or
    • making work-related phone calls from home; and/or
    • taking a work laptop computer home; and/or
    • doing work on a home computer; and/or
    • taking work-related documents home

    you must make sure that he/she understands the additional security issues that result from working outside your organization’s perimeter. In particular, you’re going to want to caution them about ensuring the physical security of sensitive data (documents and computer resources) and, if appropriate, show them how to remotely access your network securely.

  2. The training that you provide needs to be “on-demand” because you’re unlikely to know exactly when it’s going to be needed, and it should be provided as close to the time that it’s needed as possible i.e. not a year ahead of time.
  3. The training needs to be accessible remotely, typically through the Internet. Ideally, the training won’t require the employee to access your network remotely, but will be hosted on a server that has a web-interface.
  4. A policy and procedure(s) need to put in place to deal with this contingency, and all line managers who might have staff working remotely should be made aware of this. The policy and procedure(s) are going to cover more than just security (see Andy’s blog post for more suggestions about what they should cover) and may well be related to your business continuity plans.

If there ever was a topic that’s perfect for web-based training (remotely-accessible and on-demand) this is it!

Jessica Holland

Jessica Holland

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