August 22, 2012 |

Thanks to significant advances in networking and mobile technologies, more people are working less and less from the office. Increasingly, we work from client locations, hotels, home offices and sometimes even from summertime beach cabanas.

This unprecedented ability work from anywhere has enabled companies to keep the best employees, regardless of where they may live, and swelled the ranks of “virtual” companies, whose employees meet constantly online, but rarely in the flesh.

But as computing infrastructures become more diffused and decentralized, keeping machines and data secure becomes more challenging. All those far-flung devices can become infected with malware that may also infiltrate the company’s network and make off with valuable company data. Mobile devices also are susceptible to data leaks because they can be lost or stolen, as well as more easily accessed by an outsider. When data disappears, financial, legal and reputational problems can quickly follow.

Here are guidelines on how to tighten security, while leaving workers free to roam:

Protect remote users’ devices.
Most data-stealing malware that infects PCs arrives via the web and email. In an ideal situation, you’d reduce the chances of a security breach by barring personal web browsing and emailing by workers on work computers, says Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a non-profit that trains computer-security professionals.

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