Walsh suggests a viable alternative might be installing a separate hard drive on a home computer with security controls that restrict access to all but the telecommuter.
Beyond simply having a telecommuter's PC mirror office PCs, Walsh recommends that businesses enter into signed agreements with telecommuters on exactly how home-based PCs are to be used. This helps establish not only that the business owns it but also how it's to be used and maintained.
A number of vendors, including CA with its Remote Unicenter, offer tools to manage Windows-based applications remotely.
Sioux Fleming, director of product management at CA, says she has seen insurance companies and other large companies hire third-party technical services to be on call to fix machines when telecommuters have trouble far from corporate headquarters.
While most companies deploy anti-virus software on telecommuter PCs, one type of security protection that's often overlooked is adding a desktop firewall, she notes.
"Port attacks are a real thing," Fleming points out. "And while people inside the corporate LAN are probably protected at the gateway, people working at home are not."