Remote work offers several benefits to an organization. There is the exposure to a wider talent team, saving on office overheads and increased productivity among others.
However, amidst these benefits also come some challenges. Remote work relies mostly on data transfer within teams, connecting to company systems and use of several tools for collaboration and time management. All this happens over the internet.
For most employees, data transfer happens over public Wi-Fi. This coupled with employees using their personal gadgets for their work poses serious challenges on data security. Organizations risk losing sensitive data to malicious people, or having their systems infected with malware.
It is for these reasons that organizations need to take proper measures regarding data security in remote work.
1. Use data encryption
Cybercriminals are always on a standby to steal any unsecure data travelling through the internet for malicious intentions. In addition, if a remote worker commutes to different work locations, for instance, a digital nomad, they risk losing their devices. It can be fatal if such devices land in the hands of malicious people.
To keep data secure, ensure that organization data sent over the internet or saved in devices is always encrypted. Ideally, data encryption entails a process of scrambling data to unreadable formats. The only person who can be able to decode the text is one who has a secret decryption code. This makes data being transferred over the internet or stored in a device secure from outsiders.
2. Use a VPN
When people are working in remote locations, you don’t have complete control over the network they use for their work. Most people prefer to work in public places such as the local café and the library in a bid to find inspiration or save money on internet costs. These networks are not always secure, which puts the data your employees transact over the internet vulnerable to third parties.
Set up a VPN to create a secure path for which all remote connections to the company’s system must pass through. A VPN will provide access control to company networks as well as encrypt connections happening from remote locations. However, for it to be effective, you need to use a VPN from a reliable provider. Nord VPN promises a secure, reliable, and fast connection affordably. It is available for window applications, NAS devices, macOS, and wireless routers among other platforms.
3. Limit access to file servers
For remote work to progress seamlessly, team members need to be able to access needed information in a fast way. This tends to make companies enable access to company files to every employee. However, this poses a major data security risk.
· It is important to put a user authentication system before anyone is allowed to access file servers. Have tiers to classify which information is accessible to whom.
· Use portals to ensure that sensitive information is stored in the portal’s server such that it is not downloadable on devices they work from.
· Use direct application access where employees are allowed to access selected applications, rather than the entire company network.
· Use remote computer access service to access computers located in the office. Just like using portals, company files will remain in computers in the office. However, you need to ensure that computers used remotely to connect to those at the office are protected as well.
4. Put up a policy
Sometimes people fail to guard company information when they know there is no policy requiring them to do so. To be on the safe side, ensure that you have some set guidelines regarding devices use and data protection.
The policy should seek to define things such as which data is downloadable on their remote devices. If they use company devices, are they allowed to download non-work related software? In addition, there should be a defined process to follow when reporting data threats, especially when they can’t reach the IT personnel. Lastly, ensure that the devices they use for remote work are installed with proper data security measures.
Ensuring security in remote work can be quite a challenge, but that is not to say that it is impossible. Make sure you plan ahead to ensure that you get a security system fit for your type of business. In addition, never underestimate the occurrence of data threats in remote working. Even if you don’t perceive danger, it is best to stay prepared.
–Courtesy of Nora Price