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How to Create a Secure Remote Workforce and Ensure Efficiency

How to Balance Security and Efficiency in a Remote Workforce

For many IT leaders, maintaining a secure remote workforce can feel a lot like the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If you err on the side of being too cautious with security, it often means sacrificing remote workers’ productivity and privacy. However, relax your security standards too much, and you open your workforce up to security risks.

Below, we’ll guide you through finding the perfect Goldilocks security protocol that’s not too strict, yet not too loose — so you can enable a secure remote workforce. Let’s dive in.

The importance of securing your remote workforce

When employees work in an office, they’re often connecting to a secure network and using sanctioned company devices for their work. Once your workforce goes remote, however, they often use their home or public Wi-Fi networks and personal devices to carry out their work. Many employees will also introduce new software into their workflows without getting approval from IT — which means the new apps may not meet your security standards.

Since IT teams can’t peer over every employee’s shoulder at home, it can be hard to know whether employees are using software that poses security risks to your organization. In fact, according to a CORE research report, employee use of shadow IT has increased by 59% since organizations moved to a remote-first model during the pandemic.

Employee use of shadow IT has increased by 59%

Considering that close to 50% of cyberattacks are due to shadow IT — and that the average data breach costs companies $4.45 million — IT teams are right to worry about the security risks introduced by remote work. Ensuring a secure remote workforce setup requires a comprehensive, work-from-home security strategy that’s focused on protecting both company and employee data.

Challenges of keeping workflows efficient – while maintaining security

Learning that the average data breach costs companies over $4 million might make you want to take a hardline approach to remote security: Lock. It. Down. 

However, paradoxically, implementing overly strict security rules can often have the opposite effect on your company’s security. When employees aren’t allowed to download apps, install new software, or work on their preferred browsers, their productivity will often take a hit. And that’s generally when they begin to engage in unsafe cyber behavior: in fact, the most common internal breaches are usually a result of employees breaking security rules that slow down their productivity. 

The results of those breaches can be costly, too, with large organizations spending an average of $22 million each year to correct insider-related security incidents.

Of course, this doesn’t mean tossing work security protocols out the window. However, it does highlight the importance of ensuring that your security guidelines don’t slow employees down. A few practices for securing your remote workforce without hindering productivity can include:

  • Using single sign-on: Single sign-on allows employees to use a single authentication method to securely access multiple websites and apps. It beefs up security by ensuring employees only have to remember one secure password (rather than dozens), making it more likely that they’ll adopt strong passwords at work. Bonus: it makes signing into their various apps a breeze, increasing efficiency.
  • Allowing employees to use apps of their choice, but ensuring your IT team can monitor used apps via a SaaS management program. That way, IT can proactively ensure that those apps meet certain security standards — such as using SSL encryption or having SOC 2 or GDPR compliance — without having to ban the use of extra apps.
  • Making it easy to find IT and security resources: Make it easier for employees to comply with security protocols by making resources and support easy to access.

With the right approach, you can ensure security without compromising on efficiency.

GoLinks is a productivity tool and SaaS spend management platform that helps teams increase their security and productivity.

GoLinks is an intuitive link manager that makes it easy for teams to share and manage information internally. With GoLinks, employees can transform long URLs into short, easy-to-remember links that they can disseminate company-wide. For instance:

  • The HR team can use the go link “go/onboarding” to redirect to an onboarding manual in Google Drive
  • The IT team can use the go link “go/support” to connect to a form in Jira
  • The marketing team can use the go link “go/requests” to link to a form in Trello

Within GoLinks’ workspace analytics, admins can also gain visibility into teams’ app usage, allowing them to easily track newly discovered apps that employees have added to their tech stacks. By keeping an eye on newly discovered apps, IT can easily look out for shadow IT and ensure that teams are only using tools that meet their security standards.

Use GoLinks for a Secure Remote Workforce

GoLinks’ intuitive link sharing allows team members to increase their productivity by making it easier to find, share, and access internal resources. Importantly, it also does this safely: since GoLinks are strictly internal — compared to open source short links, like bit.ly — you don’t have to worry that sensitive workplace data will be exposed outside the company.

As an enterprise-level solution, GoLinks also meets stringent security standards and offers:

  • SOC 2 Type 2
  • 2048-bit SSL encryption
  • Single sign-on
  • Data loss prevention
  • Access logs
  • Full access controls
  • Two-factor authentication
  • 99.9% uptime SLA

This helps ensure that employees can easily access and share internal resources without putting company security at risk. And by making it easy for admins to track shadow IT, IT teams can more easily ensure that employees aren’t introducing unsafe apps into the organization.

For enterprises like Asana, Benchling, and Sherpa, GoLinks has been a critical tool to help increase employee productivity while still maintaining a secure remote workforce.

Improving IT support processes at Asana

At Asana, the IT team has loved using GoLinks to limit confusion around their ticket process. Even as their processes or the tools they use change, the go links employees access remain the same. This means employees can submit IT support tickets at any time, even if they don’t remember the specific platform they should be using.

“[GoLinks] really makes the experience of finding things a lot easier,” Johan Dowdy, Global Head of IT and IT Security at Asana, says. “It makes the ability to share data and information a lot easier, especially in real-time.” 

Johan Dowdy - Head of IT at Asana

“GoLinks really makes the experience of finding things a lot easier.”

— Johan Dowdy, Global Head of IT and Security @ Asana
How Asana uses GoLinks as part of their knowledge sharing strategy

Increasing productivity at Benchling

Benchling’s Senior IT engineer James Curtis introduced GoLinks to Benchling in 2020, when the company had run into some internal knowledge management challenges. After implementing the platform, James noticed that productivity had increased — as GoLinks helped employees cut down on context switching and the time they spent hunting down information.

“It is much easier to remember a specific go link you’ve seen once than it is to either (a) save a bookmark or (b) remember where you saw the original link,” says James. “The biggest benefit for me is the ease of navigation to any page without taking my hands off the keyboard.”

James Curtis - Sr IT Support Engineer at Benchling

“The biggest benefit for me is the ease of navigation to any page without taking my hands off the keyboard.”

— James Curtis, Senior IT Support Engineer @ Benchling

Scaling the IT team’s abilities at sherpa°

When Nik Ram, Director of Information Technology at sherpa°, joined the company, he was tasked with improving information hygiene for the fully remote team. He chose to adopt GoLinks based on the fact that it offered single sign-on, analytics, and the ability to provision or de-provision users as an admin.

“[GoLinks] helps for the fact that we want to bring efficiency to sharing resources and make them easily accessible,” Nik says. “Three months ago, information was still very niche; now, it’s easy to bring important information, like our brand guidelines, into one centralized hub like GoLinks and make it shareable with a go link like go/brand. Or, if you need IT support, you can to go/IT.”

Nik Ram - Director of IT at Sherpa

“GoLinks helps for the fact that we want to bring efficiency to sharing resources and make them easily accessible.”

— Nik Ram, Director of Information Technology @ Sherpa
How Sherpa leverages GoLinks to streamline IT support and engineering function

Create a secure remote workforce & boost efficiency

Much like Goldilocks’ quest to find a not-too-hot, not-too-cold meal, it’s no small feat to balance security and efficiency for remote teams. However, adopting secure, time-saving tools like GoLinks can help you safely streamline workflows — while also giving your IT teams added visibility into shadow IT.

Ready to get started? Sign up for free with GoLinks and get unlimited go links today; no credit card required.

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