We’re seeing a lot of co-working office spaces pop up both locally, throughout the country, and around the world. It’s a growing trend due to its massive advantages, particularly for small businesses and startups.
Because business professionals of all types work in co-working spaces, it provides a venue for sharing of ideas and expertise. Not only local community members but professionals from out of town frequent co-working facilities.
The networking aspect alone is worth considering a co-working office. It can instantly give you a community of other professionals and entrepreneurs that you can access for advice as you grow your business. You’ll have counterparts you can share ideas with and opportunities to bounce solutions off one another.
Co-working provides an educational aspect regarding the business world. Many different industries operate from a co-working space. The possibilities for information gathering about how various types of organizations operate are endless. You may be working alongside someone proficient in product development, marketing or even tech support who you can learn from.
And you’ll have opportunities for growth as a business professional. Many co-working facilities host professional development sessions to help you fine-tune your capabilities and presence.
It’s totally okay to get up from your desk and walk over to another “co-worker” to ask a question or share a new idea. Co-working environments aren’t like your typical office. Individuals form a unique community where they can collaborate in many ways.
If you run a small startup with just a few people, and you don’t have an expertise you require on your team, you can often find an expert in the co-working environment who will be glad to help you out.
Both small and large companies benefit from subscribing to a co-working space. If your team travels a lot, a subscription to a co-working service offers a place they can work from. Most co-working services have offices all over a state, and even throughout the country.
You can usually rent co-working space on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. Customers can bring in their own devices or in some cases use devices provided by the facility.
Generally, you’ll be using a public Wi-Fi connection that other business people will be using as well. However, some co-working spaces will offer private Wi-Fi. If not, you must be cognizant that you’re on a shared connection.
If you must meet government or regulatory compliance issues, a public Wi-Fi won’t work for you. You aren’t allowed to use a shared network in this instance.
You also won’t be compliant if you use a computer out in the open where others might be able to see what you’re working on.
And you would never want to leave your computer unattended where someone could steal it or try to hack into it. Whenever you get up to move around, make sure you lock your computer so no one can use it.
If you’re going to be away for any period of time, take your computer with you; even if you’re just leaving for your lunch hour. Be mindful that anyone can walk in off the street and grab your laptop. We’ve seen this happen.
If you work on a shared network, and another computer user gets a ransomware payload with a worm, it could also infect yours within seconds to minutes.
You could be doing everything you can to protect your computer, but if someone down the hall isn’t, and their computer gets infected, yours could too. Now you have a massive problem.
Make sure that you have really good endpoint protection. This means an anti-virus, anti-malware solution for businesses; something that has anti-ransomware built into it.
You need to have a firewall on your computer and ensure that it’s turned on. If your computer doesn’t come with a firewall system, then get a good quality 3rd-party firewall.
If you need to access any confidential company data, it’s best to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It will encrypt data traffic going in and out so no one can access it without the encryption key.
A VPN provides a secure connection from your computer to another location. It’s a piece of software that’s installed on your computer. Some operating systems have a VPN built-in. Or your home office may have a proprietary VPN you connect to that’s housed in a data center.
VPNs are affordable so you should definitely consider using one whenever you’re working in a shared environment.
And you can go one step further by encrypting the hard drive in your computer.
If you have any IT security questions or need tech tips for using a co-working space, our professionals are always here to help.
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