We all understand how much more modern businesses can achieve if they give their employees the option to work remotely and they embrace the mobile workforce trend. And yet, this freedom comes with various risks. An iPass survey found that more than half of US CIOs that their mobile workers had been hacked in the last 12 months and close to half of the CIOs surveyed believed that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives increased security risks.
We sat down with our legal and cyber security teams to discuss exactly how to avoid these risks. Approaching this problem can be very complicated, especially if you want to do it well, they explain. Remote work is on the up because employees no longer want to waste time sitting in traffic on their way to and from work and they are actually more productive when they’re able to complete tasks when it suits them; within reason, of course.
But the other side of this is that when people are working remotely, it’s likely that they’ll be more relaxed. This may seem like a good thing, but it can actually be a bad thing because they no longer have their guard up when it comes to cyber security. Perhaps an employee decides to work from a local coffee shop and they casually connect using the free WiFi. This may seem harmless but if the wrong people are sitting that same restaurant, these devices – and company information – could be compromised.
So how do you manage this?
According to our cyber security team, you need to have quite a solid, trusting relationship with your staff. If you don’t have this level of trust, the only way you’ll know if someone is doing something they shouldn’t be doing is by keeping a constant eye on them. Here, ownership of the device can be an issue. Is it fair for a company to want to monitor an employee’s personal device if that individual also uses the device for business purposes?
To mitigate this, many companies are drawing a hard line in the sand – either the device is for business use or it is for personal use. And the two do not overlap. At least if your employees are using a company device you can keep track of things and make sure all the software is properly updated. Everyone from the smallest companies all the way up the big dogs has to think quite carefully about how to manage this scenario.
Where people put businesses at risk, training really is the only solution This entails making people aware of the fact that just because they are working from home doesn’t mean their guard should be down.
Something our experts have seen on a number of occasions is that companies fail to understand the insurance side of remote work. If you have a team of remote workers and you have comprehensive cyber insurance you should be covered, right? Not necessarily. It’s important to check your insurance fine print to ensure that this cover extends to people working outside of the office.
It’s important to have an all-encompassing approach to security. Having a strategy in place that applies to everyone in the company – from the receptionist all the way up to the CEO.
If you’re a business owner and you feel like all of these new innovations and trends are pulling you in a million directions you’re not alone. What you need is dedicated expertise to help you along the way. Our blog is a handy resource on all things digital, innovation and business strategy. And we’re always here to help. Simply complete the form below and we’ll get back to you.