Remote work has become the new norm for modern employees. Along with this change, the need for better understanding of security practices involving data and devices is paramount. However, securing company information is a complex and challenging task for any company, especially those new to distributed workforces.
In this article, we provide a few different strategies for boosting your information security. From communication and culture building tactics to document and device security, we’ll give you a head start in securing sensitive company data.
How Do You Keep In Touch With Remote Workers?
The first step in insuring your company information is secure with hybrid and remote workers is possibly the simplest: Stay in touch with your distributed employees.
It is all to easy for workers who are out of sight to become out of mind. Ensuring you have strategies and practices in place to keep your remote employees in the loop is a vital step toward security. Notably because you will gain more knowledge of what your employees are doing and how they are getting along.
Strategies for open communication between your in-office and remote teams are varied. Some will work better for certain company structures and cultures than others, but here are a few you might consider:
Encouraging coffee chats or informal virtual gatherings
By providing opportunities for remote workers to connect and socialize, organizations foster a sense of camaraderie and community. These informal interactions can help build trust among team members, leading to improved communication and collaboration.
When remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues, they are more likely to adhere to security protocols and report any suspicious activities, thereby enhancing the overall security posture.
Introducing a “Question of the Week”
This engagement tactic prompts remote workers to actively participate in discussions and share their insights. By encouraging open dialogue on various topics, organizations promote a culture of transparency and knowledge sharing.
From a security standpoint, this approach helps disseminate important security information, updates, and best practices. It creates an avenue for raising security-related questions, addressing concerns, and reinforcing security awareness among remote workers.
Promoting Collaboration Among Team Members
Collaboration tools and platforms enable remote workers to work together seamlessly, share ideas, and collaborate on work files in real time. By providing secure and user-friendly collaboration tools, organizations ensure that remote workers can share information and documents securely within a controlled environment.
These platforms often come with built-in security features such as encryption, access controls, and versioning, further safeguarding sensitive data from unauthorized access or leakage.
Establishing Project Tracking and Reporting Mechanisms
Remote teams need effective project management tools that allow for tracking progress, assigning tasks, and monitoring milestones. These tools give organizations visibility into project activities and ensure that remote workers stay aligned with the project objectives.
In addition, project tracking and reporting mechanisms enable organizations to monitor data access, identify any anomalies or unauthorized activities, and take prompt action to mitigate risks.
Facilitating document workflow management and participation
Remote workers frequently collaborate on documents whether it be reviewing, sharing and/or editing. However, with remote workers, this means document access isn’t tied to just one location.
Implementing secure document management systems and workflows ensures that sensitive information remains protected throughout the document lifecycle. Features such as version control, permissions management, and document encryption enable secure collaboration and reduce the risk of data breaches or unauthorized modifications.
Offering company challenges or initiatives
Engaging remote workers in company challenges or initiatives not only fosters a sense of belonging but also reinforces security awareness. These challenges can include quizzes, games, or interactive activities focused on security best practices, data protection, and privacy.
Moreover, incorporating security-related challenges into the remote work environment promotes a culture of security-consciousness. They also empower employees to become active participants in maintaining a secure information ecosystem.
Teamwork is Key to Securing Company Information
Remote collaboration is probably the first hurdle one reaches when moving to a hybrid or remote workforce. Remote teams cooperate using technology to share ideas, collaborate on work files and communicate in real time.
When dealing with remote collaboration, keeping certain security best practices in mind is a must. Some examples include:
Centralized Communication and Information Sharing
Remote collaboration platforms provide a centralized hub for communication and information sharing among remote workers. This centralized approach enables organizations to establish secure channels for exchanging sensitive information, reducing the risk of data leakage or exposure.
By utilizing secure collaboration tools, organizations can ensure that confidential data and discussions remain within controlled environments, mitigating the chances of unauthorized access or interception.
Reduced Reliance on Email and Unsecured Channels
Traditional email communication can pose security risks, as emails may be intercepted or accessed by unauthorized individuals. Remote collaboration platforms offer alternative channels that are more secure than email, minimizing the reliance on vulnerable communication methods.
By shifting communication to secure platforms, organizations reduce the likelihood of information falling into the wrong hands, thereby enhancing data protection and maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive discussions and files.
Granular Access Controls and Permissions
Remote collaboration tools often come equipped with robust access control features, allowing organizations to define granular permissions for each user or team. This capability ensures that only authorized individuals can access specific files, documents, or discussions.
Implementing fine-grained access controls allows you to limit the exposure of sensitive information to a need-to-know basis, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and internal data breaches.
Version Control and Document History
Collaborative work on remote platforms usually includes features such as version control and document history tracking. These features enable organizations to track changes made to documents, revert to previous versions if needed, and attribute modifications to specific users.
Such functionalities enhance transparency and accountability, providing a trail of document modifications and ensuring that any unauthorized alterations can be identified and addressed promptly.
Secure File Sharing and Transfer
Remote collaboration platforms often provide secure file sharing capabilities, allowing remote workers to share files securely within a controlled environment. These platforms may employ encryption techniques, password protection, or secure file transfer protocols to ensure that sensitive information remains protected during transit.
By utilizing secure file sharing mechanisms, organizations reduce the risk of data interception or unauthorized access to shared files, enhancing overall data security.
Real-time Collaboration and Communication Monitoring
Remote collaboration tools often offer real-time monitoring features that allow organizations to observe and analyze collaboration activities. This monitoring capability helps identify potential security incidents, unusual user behavior, or unauthorized access attempts.
Proactively monitoring collaboration activities allows organizations to detect and respond to security threats in a timely manner, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of shared information.
Security Is Necessary For Company Issued Technology Items
There are benefits and challenges to remote and hybrid work for both employers and employees. Chief among these challenges is providing IT services for a distributed workforce. Keeping devices secure becomes much harder when those devices could be anywhere, and this in turn opens up more possibilities for cyberattacks and data breaches.
A report by VMWare done only three years ago shows 97% of organizations in the U.S. had experienced a data breach as a result of a cyberattack in the past 12 months. Furthermore 88% of North American respondents said they saw an increase in overall cyberattacks as a result of employees working from home. There is no reason to think that this has lessened any in the past few years.
Let’s face it – your network is only as secure as the weakest device. Ensuring the safety of networks becomes more complex when employees use personal devices and software from their home Wi-Fi connections.
Security Measure for Devices
- Provide a VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) hides the user’s public IP address and “tunnels” traffic between the user’s device and a remote server. This adds security and anonymity to users when they connect to web-based services and sites.
- Implement 2FA: Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an identity and access management security method we are all probably familiar with. It requires two forms of identification to access resources and data. 2FA gives businesses the ability to monitor and help safeguard their most vulnerable information and networks.
- Encrypt your data: Encryption stores your data in a form that can be read only when a computer is unlocked. Unlocking your encrypted device decrypts your data. This is vital for company infromation, especially in the even of device theft. All remote workers should have this technology on all devices, software, and cloud services when working with corporate data.
- Provide Company Issued Devices: You will have more control over the security of a device when it is issued from the company and set up under company guidelines. Remote workers should never use their personal PCs, laptops, mobile devices, or other devices connected to the internet for company work.
- Security Never Stops: Here we come full circle. Communication with your employees on security guidelines shouldn’t be a “one and done” task. Instead, schedule and hold regular training sessions to keep employees informed and compliant with the required security policies.
The Future of Work
The distributed workforce is here to stay, offering improved flexibility and opportunities for organizations of all kinds. However, it is crucial to recognize the associated risks and prioritize security measures to protect company information effectively. The strategies in this article will get you a long way in making sure your company’s information is secure as possible.
At the same time, the complexity of remote collaboration, especially for those new to the concept, can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Sometimes, you just need someone to show you how to fit the pieces together for a cohesive information security strategy.
Securing Your Company Information With Waltz
At Waltz Business Solutions, we are well versed in keeping your information and collaboration secure. Cyber attacks and data breaches are damaging, not just to your bottomline, but to your reputation and sometimes even your employees.
That’s why we offer a range of products and services that not only improve your operations, but keep you secure and compliant.
- Document Management Solutions – Securely manage information to improve Business Efficiency. Document Management frees your business from the headaches of managing paper documents and helps you maximize office productivity and security.
- Document Scanning Services – Cut down on all of the paper clutter in your office and pitch that outdated filing system.
- Document Destruction Solutions – Safely discard unwanted sensitive documents per regulations. Protect yourself and your clients from identity theft by securely purging unnecessary documents.
- Print Management Solutions – Print Management helps you streamline your printing costs and improve workflow and security. Uncover hidden printing cost vulnerabilities by controlling your printing activities.