Nearly 80 percent of professionals work remotely at least one day a week and 1.55 billion others are expected to work outside the boundaries of the corporate office by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan research. Employees value flexibility and freedom, often resulting in a happier and motivated workforce. But do IT and security departments see the bright side of this increase in remote work?
This shift to a mobile workforce is causing technology disruption because remote workers require different solutions and infrastructure, which can increase vulnerabilities. Employees working on insecure networks outside of their offices (and working on multiple devices) is causing headaches for the information security industry—there’s a bit of scrambling to make sure data is secure in and out of the office.
Areas to focus on security with the remote workforce
In order to protect your workforce from cyber attacks that are less detectable and targeted towards portable data systems, here are a few areas on which to focus:
Devices don’t just mean laptops
Your employees are now accessing information and data on laptops, cellphones, tablets and even wearable devices—is your organization securing every one of these devices? It’s a must. Analysts predict that smart glasses and smart watches will see a high rate of enterprise adoption in the coming years and IT can look to technologies, such as biometrics, GPS, and the type of information being accessed to authenticate the user rather than relying on static passwords. In addition, “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies continue to be a problem when it comes to data leaks. A well-designed BYOD plan that includes wireless LAN controllers and access points, a lightweight security mobility client, and robust identity services will help minimize device risks.
Flexible mobility solutions for flexible generations
Generation X and Millennial employees grew up with mobility solutions such as broadband, Wi-Fi, laptops, social media and smartphones. These generations are going to expect instant access to information from anywhere, which means organizations must provide collaboration software solutions and secure network connections. Problems arise when remote access across unsecured wireless or LTE networks opens companies up to attacks, malicious apps, corporate espionage or other forms of attack. Even traditional applications such as Word and PDF documents can be encrypted with malicious codes launching a ransomware virus.
Uneducated social media usage
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—all very popular social channels among employees, specifically younger ones. These platforms are also popular among cyber attackers, so it is important that employees are educated regarding personal information, such as birthdates, email addresses, and company names, that should not be shared online and other social media security tips.
Here are five tips for helping employees keep their social media accounts secure, and several social media scams they should be aware of.
The ability for employees to work remotely can benefit both the employee and the employer. But organizations must be aware of and focused on the potential security issues that might arise. Here are a few tips for employers on how they can be keeping their workforce secure.