The Company has put several securities in place so settlement agents who are permitted to work from home can access tools they need to conduct closings — such as email, production systems and document storage systems — using a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN extends a private network across a public network and enables the settlement agent to send and receive data across his/her shared home network as if the computing devices were directly connected to the private office network. VPN is not only an extension of the corporate network. It also provides a secure encrypted tunnel from the remotely connected device to the corporate network.
While VPN is one of the many ways settlement agents are able to conduct closings from home not every process of the closing can be done remotely.
Settlement agents are not permitted to print documents at home. It is an integral measure to ensure consumer information is kept safe from others having access to a settlement agent's home office, such as family members, repairmen, house cleaners and childcare workers.
Most home offices are not usually equipped with secure document storage or document destruction. Therefore, no documents may be printed at home. If documents need to be printed, the settlement agent would need to return to the office to print and ship, or remotely print to their colleagues in the office. Remote printing to the office is also made possible through a VPN.
Loan and other closing documents cannot be shipped to a settlement agent's home office. Any documents being sent from a lender or a consumer must be sent to the office for processing, scanning and recordation.
No check stock or check printers are permitted in a home office environment. Disbursements necessary to successfully close a transaction must either be completed by wire transfer or remotely printed to the office for distribution by those workers assigned to the office.
Settlement agents working from home need to stay aware of phishing emails and other cyber threats, just as they would if working from the normal office location. Staying informed on how to protect the Company's network and individual workstations from viruses, intrusions and other vulnerabilities is paramount for working in a home office.