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Secure home office: Working in the "new normal"

Companies can strengthen their resilience with remote working possibilities. Requirements: a security concept for remote work

Want greater flexibility?

Do you want your employees to be able to work from anywhere? Do you want to secure your employees' home offices? Then get in touch. Our experts can support you with digital solutions.

Flexible working options after the pandemic

Laptop on a table with coffee cup

According to a BITKOM survey in March 2020, almost every other German worked from home. And that worked out better than many managers would have expected. So why, after the pandemic, should companies fall back into the pre-coronavirus working practices? In order to comply with social distancing rules and strengthen their own resilience in times of crisis, they will in future rely on a hybrid model that allows employees to switch flexibly between the office and working from home while ensuring they are ready to work at all times while on the road. The possibility of teleworking is very popular with employees. In an ESET survey, 31 percent of respondents said they wanted flexibility when it came to deciding whether they work from home or in the office.

Home office as part of "New Work"

More time for family and hobbies, less commuting, be in control of your own work: Many reasons speak for enabling flexible work opportunities. Employees want more self-fulfillment in their jobs. This includes mobile working opportunities as well as flat hierarchies and trust-based working hours. Digital natives in particular expect modern work concepts that can be summarized under the keyword "New Work". The topic of the home office, the possibility of flexible working from any location, is an important component of New Work and Work 4.0. 

New Work changes the way we work together and affects both leadership and corporate cultures. With new remote work concepts, managers who rely on control and presence need to relearn numerous things: In the future, it will be about moderation instead of control, freedom instead of restrictions. Important management tasks: It was intended to strengthen employee participation and personal responsibility. 

Flexible working models for better results

Digital solutions and communication tools allow employees to work in any location. The goal is to reduce the burden on employees, and provide them with simple tools for communication and collaboration. T-Systems works with you to develop solutions for a modern working environment that is highly accepted by your employees. 

Flexible working models increase effectiveness: A ZEW study already came to this conclusion last year: Almost half of the employers offering mobile working at that time thought that employees were more productive if they were given the option to work outside the office from time to time.

Remote work experiencing a cyber attack

Communication and collaboration from home must be as secure as in the office. This requires commitment, especially as the home office offers cyber criminals a bigger target for attacks. After all, a lot more communication takes place digitally. Hackers etc. show no mercy: during the coronavirus crisis, they used phishing campaigns to a greater extent to circumvent protective barriers such as firewalls, passwords or virus protection programs. Using unsuspicious-looking e-mails, they attempt to penetrate companies' IT systems and access sensitive data and passwords, regardless of the current situation.

Security-as-a-Service reduces the burden on IT departments

Flexible working shifts the boundaries between private and corporate networks. Which protective measures are effective? How can companies secure teleworking? First and foremost, IT departments must ensure secure connectivity between mobile locations and the corporate network - for example, via virtual private networks or Zero Trust. Access to company resources may only be provided with authentication, authorization and encryption. To make your employees feel secure at home, your IT experts should protect and manage all end devices with security software. 

Basic home office knowledge

How do companies protect their remote workstations from IT threats? Our whitepaper provides tips.

VPN: "Network cable" into the company

In March 2020, only 37 percent of home office users were connected to their company via a virtual private network (VPN) and therefore had secure access to corporate applications and data, according to a Germany-wide survey by the IT Security Association Germany. However, hybrid new-work concepts combining office and remote working will only be successful in the long term if companies create the conditions for secure connectivity. 


  • encrypts the communication channels to the business applications
  • secures access to application portals with multi-factor authentication mechanisms
  • must be scalable in order to connect a high number of home office users

Data and applications that may only be seen by individual users must be secured separately in a VPN.

State of the Art: Zero Trust

Centralized principle, trust nobody. Not even your own employees. And with good reason. Cyber criminals could hijack their access data - and then move freely within the corporate network. 

Private Access Protect Pro, T-Systems' Zero Trust solution, is based on technology from Zscaler. Users and devices must be authorized and authenticated prior to accessing any applications or data. What's more, employees can only use applications that they need for their job - and they don't even have to be on the company network to do so. Benefits for the workforce: It no longer takes a detour via the company's data center - even when on the road or at home - and is connected directly to the applications in the cloud. This speeds things up. And gives a feeling of security. Because with Zero Trust, employees everywhere have the same level of security: in the office, at home, on the road.  

The cloud is becoming more important – so is security

Cloud drawn on a blackboard

The cloud plays an important role in the business continuity strategy of many companies. After all, remote working and collaboration require flexible computing capacities. Companies see the cloud and the digital workplace as important tools for strengthening their own resilience. At the same time, the cloud increases the risks: According to a recent Netskope study, 44 percent of all malicious threats target the cloud. 

Because of this, cloud usage not only requires a variety of security mechanisms such as virus protection, encryption, password protection, advanced threat prevention, web security, content/URL filtering and firewalls. IT departments also need clarity regarding the security situation in all of their clouds.

The pitfalls of shadow IT

Do you know which software your employees download at their home workstations? Do they clarify this with their IT departments? Security managers can often only guess how widespread shadow IT is in their own company. But it's difficult to protect yourself from a risk that you are not aware of. With the Cloud Protect Pro managed security solution from T-Systems, companies can create transparency. This is because the Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) based on McAfee technology monitors data traffic between cloud applications and their users. The solution enables you to enforce your security policies and prevent the use of critical applications. 

Attention: data protection in the home office

Laptop with security lock

Of course, the strict regulations of the GDPR for handling personal data also apply to teleworking. Employees everywhere must pay attention to data protection and data security. But what this means in specific terms is not clear to many. Because of this, a remote work code of ethics should be established in your company, which answers the most important questions regarding data protection and IT security. For example, do your employees know which company data is allowed to be stored on mobile devices - and which isn't? And that they need to separate business from private information on their devices? If your employees work with their private mobile devices, such as laptops and smartphones, your company also needs a BYOD policy.

Data protection checklist for the home office

What does the General Data Protection Regulation mean for your employees who also process personal data while working from home? Here are a few examples: 

  • A GDPR-compliant workplace is located in a separate room that can be locked. 
  • Company documents should be stored in a lockable cabinet. 
  • Company laptops, PCs and smartphones may not be used privately by employees.
  • Hard disks and external data storage media as well as e-mails and digital data must be encrypted. 
  • Operating systems need a secure password.
  • Family members must also be prevented from accessing the devices and data.  

Requirements for a secure home office

Strengthen your employees' security awareness

Provide binding and clear guidelines for the protection of IT and data in the company - preferably in writing. Employees should be aware of the tricks of cyber criminals and be educated about methods such as phishing and social engineering. Awareness training courses or e-learning offers can help here. 

Set up secure communication channels

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are recommended, which establish the connection between the end device and the company network via a secure tunnel. A secure and fast alternative is Zero Trust. If employees use the home WLAN connection, they should replace the default administrator password with a new, strong password and activate WPA2 encryption. Tips on how to create a secure password is explained by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI)

Keep IT applications up to date

Ensure that operating systems, web applications and apps are always up to date and that updates occur regularly. Your IT department should ensure that all employees always work with the latest system versions. 

Secure the end devices

Protect your corporate and personal data on endpoint devices with hard drive encryption. This means that only authorized users can use the data and the operating system via multi-factor authentication. If a device is lost or stolen, nobody can access the data.

Make use of multi-factor authentication

Better safe than sorry: multi-factor authentication provides additional protection because attackers must overcome several hurdles to gain access to your corporate data. For example, you can combine a password, PIN, fingerprint, confirmation code on another device or a USB token. The BSI also recommends two-factor authentication (2FA)

How to manage your endpoint security

In theory it's quite simple: All devices in the corporate network - PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, printers or POS terminals - must be secured against unauthorized access and protected against malicious software. In practice, this is not so easy. Because the multitude of devices that exist in many companies is very confusing - and is becoming even more confusing for IT departments with the expansion of remote work offerings. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) systems provide insight and help to intelligently manage all end devices, operating systems and apps. Because remote working can only be protected if companies include all devices in their security concept - including the BYOD devices of their employees. 

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