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Ensuring the Security of Your Virtual Office

08 September, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled numerous companies to adopt remote work policies, which continue to be relevant as we navigate the changing landscape of hybrid work environments. This shift towards remote working has been underway for some time, but recent developments have accelerated the progress made in the past six months more than the previous two decades combined.

Regardless of the presence or absence of a pandemic, remote work is the future for many individuals, and for some, it is already the prevailing norm. Throughout this month, we will explore various reasons why transitioning to a virtual office should be a consideration. In this article, we will focus on a topic that holds significant importance: security.

Virtual Office vs Physical Office

When the term “virtual office” is mentioned, some individuals may envision employees working from home, conducting their tasks exclusively online. While this is true, it is crucial to understand that the concept of a virtual office encompasses more specific aspects.

A true virtual office allows individuals to work in the most literal sense, without setting foot in a physical building. All the necessary software and data required by employees are accessible upon logging into the company’s system, often through a secure login on the company’s webpage. Once inside, employees have full access to all the software used within the organization, including accounting packages.

A Secure Solution

Virtual offices provide one of the most secure ways for companies to conduct business remotely. One of the key reasons for this lies in the absence of company software on employees’ personal computers. Even if an employee’s computer is compromised, no company data resides on the hard drive. Additionally, since employees log into the virtual office system, unless someone is physically present to observe their actions, there is no visibility into their work.

Most cyberattacks exploit vulnerabilities in the communication between a user’s computer and the server hosting the website they are accessing. This interception of information is comparable to a wiretapping scenario, where an eavesdropper can access all the shared information between two parties. In a virtual office environment, employees enter a digital workspace, conduct their business activities securely within that confined environment, and exit at the end of the workday.

What a Virtual Office Is Not

Some readers might associate the concept of a virtual office with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). While there are similarities between VPNs and virtual offices, there are crucial differences. VPNs primarily encrypt communication between a user’s device and the websites they visit, enhancing security. However, once connected to a website, users remain vulnerable to risks such as tracking cookies or compromised servers. In such cases, a VPN alone does not provide comprehensive protection.

VPNs are typically used within a network, and while implementing a VPN can enhance overall network security, a single compromised device within the network can render the entire network defenseless. Moreover, instances have occurred where entire VPN services were hacked, leaving millions of customers exposed.

To illustrate, consider the scenario of a child inadvertently opening an infected email. In a virtual office setup, none of the company’s files, passwords, or other sensitive data would be at risk. Accessing such information would require valid credentials to enter the entire virtual office system.

While this might raise concerns about the vulnerability of passwords, gaining access to a virtual office requires more than just stealing a password. It involves entering a password combined with multi-factor authentication, which is carefully monitored by your Managed Service Provider (MSP). While no system is completely immune to breaches, this form of access represents a highly secure approach in today’s landscape.

A Smart Solution

It is important to recognize that virtual offices are not impenetrable fortresses offering 100% safety. Just as physical fortresses require not only walls but also thoughtful design, craftsmanship, and maintenance to protect the people inside, virtual offices demand understanding of their operation, implementation best practices, and ongoing maintenance to ensure long-term security. Establishing and acclimating to a virtual office environment may be complex initially, but once your company adapts, the peace of mind it brings will make you question why you didn’t embrace this approach years ago.

Given the significance of this transition, it is crucial to partner with an experienced company that possesses practical expertise rather than relying on information gathered solely from online sources. When consolidating your operations into a single virtual office, it is essential to choose a provider that offers robust security measures. Our team has decades of experience working with virtual offices, and we understand the importance of implementing the right security measures from the outset. If you find that your workplace is gradually becoming more remote, do not hesitate to contact us today. We would be delighted to assess your specific needs and develop a secure virtual office solution that meets your requirements.

08 September, 2020