Maintaining Data Security during Agile Working
Flexible working, working from home, agile working. However you define it, it means working away from a fixed office, desk and physical space.
Whether you prefer to combine flexible working with a desk in an office, or you’re completely mobile, action to maintain data security when content is removed from the physical protection of the office.
Benefits of agile working
The benefits of agile working are numerous and include increased independence over working hours, achieving a better balance between work and home life, and the freedom to work on the move. No longer tied to the same desk, todays workforce may decide to hot desk or take their work on the train or out of hours.
Data Security software
If employees are working in a more agile way, it’s absolutely essential that the right software is installed on all work devices to maintain business security and protect data from hackers. Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential, so too is encryption of data especially on business trips and working during the commute. Ensuring all anti-virus software is kept up to date is also essential and protection in the form of a firewall for both internal devices and those taken off the premises is crucial. It’s good practice to install software to lock down the data if a device is stolen or mislaid, rendering anyone who is not an employee unable to gain access to data or contacts.
It’s also vital that employees have up-to-date knowledge of the company policy around working away from the office. Basic education on how to log in, encrypt email accounts, locking devices and simply trying to shield others from seeing your work are all easily adopted working practices to enhance data security. Even simple training exercises on creating high strength passwords can make the difference. Routine update of software can also help guard against a malware attack, so educate employees to click ‘update’ when they are prompted to do so.
Remote workers may also use their devices for personal reasons. Whilst monitoring software can be installed on devices, it must be used with care around violating employees’ personal rights. Working remotely does increase the risk of data being mislaid, left on public transport, for example USB devices or phones.
Transporting paper copies of documents comes with risks too. Ensure that any document taken away from the premises is done so responsibly. Some companies may insist that sensitive paper data is not removed from the premises, guarding against theft or loss. Paper copies that are no longer needed must be securely shredded to eliminate the risk of fraud.
Don’t forget, when replacing items such as laptops or mobile devices, care must be taken to remove any data from the hardware before it is sent for repurpose or destruction. The hard drive within a laptop must be backed up, wiped of any data and sent to a registered e-waste handler for secure hard drive destruction in the form of shredding.