The New Employee Movement…
What springs to mind when you think of remote working? Are you picturing yourself sitting on a beach with a cocktail in one hand and your computer mouse in the other? Or perhaps you’re parked in your favourite armchair with a cup of tea? The latter sounds more likely but ultimately not at all unrealistic given the significant increase in remote workers over the last couple of years.
Remote working is the new employee movement, a workplace revolution if you will, inspired by millennials yet suitable for all, and this movement is proving to be incredibly popular, which seemingly should come as no surprise given that a) remote workers stay at a company for longer, b) they work harder and c) they offer better ROI over their co-located employees.
The Security Implications of Remote Working
Introducing remote working to your organisation could be the best thing you ever do! There’s just one problem… you’ll need to consider the security of your systems. We hate to be a buzzkill, but safety should most definitely come first in this instance. After all, whilst your employees sit sifting through their emails in their local Starbucks, they could (unknowingly) be putting your most sensitive data at risk! That’s right… it’s entirely likely that by enabling an employee, or team to work remotely, you are opening the door to potential hackers, giving them ample opportunity to steal your data. So, how can you prevent such vicious attacks and keep your mobile devices safe?
4 Key Security Tips for Remote Workers:
· Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi could put your data at risk, the majority of people working remotely, do so from their homes as a matter of convenience, but for those looking for a change of scenery, coffee shops prove a popular second choice. The problem is, in public spots with public Wi-Fi, hackers can easily target open connections. This is because more often than not, they are unencrypted and unsecured. We’d advise that you avoid using public Wi-Fi at all costs, particularly on corporate devices, but on the off-chance it happens… How can you prevent open connections such as public Wi-Fi from turning you (or your employees) into a hacker’s primary target? The solution is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), either to an office router or VPN server. A VPN connection can provide a user with three essential things; security, anonymity and freedom as all data is encrypted.
· Protect Passwords
Password harvesting is a common phishing tactic – which can occur on both desktop and mobile devices – that works by tricking victims into providing their login credentials without being aware. Common methods of password harvesting include insecure sites and spoofed emails. There are a number of tips we’d recommend to ensure your passwords remain untouchable, from password padding to special characters and long passphrases to 2FA. We touch upon these more here.
· Use Mobile Data Encryption
The right mobile data encryption techniques can help IT and users secure sensitive data on mobile devices. For corporate mobile devices, it’s worth considering such high-level security. Encrypting a laptop and using secure VPN will help protect extremely sensitive IPs, which ideally should be at the top of your to-do list. By using the right data encryption techniques, you should be able to prevent sensitive enterprise data from being compromised should a mobile device get lost or stolen.
· Use Secure Cloud-Based Services
By integrating mobile computing and Cloud computing, Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC) greatly extends the boundary of mobile applications. At the same time however, it brings challenges, such as data privacy and integrity. There are ways around this however, for Cloud based services on mobile devices, you can manage security implications by enforcing password or pin polices, using encryption, or even remotely wiping data should it be lost or stolen.
The Role Technology Plays…
It would be impossible to talk about remote working without acknowledging the role that technology plays within it. Technology is the key enabler of mobility, and without the likes of all-encompassing Wi-Fi and mobile devices in abundance, many workers would be poleaxed, confined to their desks and stuck in their monotonous 9-to-5 routine, stifled by the scent of tradition. Thanks to the joys of the internet however, mobile devices (i.e., smartphones, tablet computers and trusty laptops) empower mobile users, and working communities needn’t return to the office to send an email or check a document. Instead, they can work from their chosen setting – be it a couch, park bench, or commuter train.
Making Remote Working a Reality
Today’s employees seek a better work-life balance where their career and personal life can work in unison and support one another, and thankfully, with the help of mobile devices, mobile working is now very much a reality for many of the UK workforce. It’s possible that as many as half the UK workforce will be working remotely by 2020. So, how do you make it a reality for your organisation, and more importantly, how will you implement this new way of working safely and securely.
At Rio IT, we often work remotely, which means we use, and trust, the very same approaches listed above for our own business. For more information on how we can help, contact Rio IT today.