What are some telecommuting security concerns?

Telecommuting, working in an "office away from the office," has become popular since the 1990s. Whether to decrease office expenses, to maximize the efficiency of workers, cut down on commuter traffic and pollution or to provide employees with the convenience of working at home, telecommuting is a vital part of today's business world; even employees of the federal government often have the option to telecommute.

Working from outside the main office, however, can result in compromising the security of the organization. Some of these risks include hackers who attempt to corrupt the files of an organization or electronic eavesdroppers who are trying to find out company secrets. There’s also the danger of the not-so-innocent bystander who is looking over your shoulder as you type in your name and password at an Internet café. In addition, the company has to develop a way to protect information from being read or changed as it's in transit. Even those working from home should be on guard to ensure that their spouse or children are unable to access their work-related materials or to introduce viruses into their computer. Ways to prevent this kind of damage include encrypting data and storing work-related materials on a removable hard disk.


At large conventions, electronic eavesdropping can be especially prevalent, as competitors may be on the lookout for useful information. While an organization hosting a convention may have computer equipment available to participants so they can stay in touch with their own businesses without having to drag their laptops to the convention, these devices might not have the same security precautions found on their usual computers, and participants should realize that they may become the target of electronic eavesdropping.

Firewalls, physical security tokens, passwords, encryption, employee awareness and limiting the availability of confidential data to only those in the corporation who need to know it are some ways to minimize damage from security threats.