Hybrid working is slowly becoming the norm. With some of the largest companies in the world going fully remote, it’s hard to imagine this trend dying out.
However, a hybrid workplace is also significantly less secure than a traditional office. Employees have way more freedom with what they do with their devices, opening the door for many data security issues.
This article will provide tips on protecting organizational data in a hybrid work environment.
Store Organizational Data Securely
Where and how you store data is critical to its safety. In a hybrid workplace, you can no longer have all data stored in office computers. Employees are scattered all over and need access to that data from the comfort of their homes. That brings a significant challenge for leadership to make data available securely to the people that need it.
Special cloud storage for business is your safest bet. Ideally, a cloud storage service should have clear security policies and measures to prevent data incidents. This way, employees can access all the data they need to do their work without jeopardizing organizational security.
But, not all cloud storage services are made the same. You should be very selective about which cloud storage you choose. Before signing any contracts, discuss how the service deals with security-related issues and what exactly it does to keep your data protected.
Train your Employees
Human error is the most common cause of data breaches. With hybrid work, the threat becomes even greater. Many employees are unaware of the many security dangers and may unknowingly do things that put the entire organization’s security at risk.
Remote working is way more than video calls and emails. It involves complex and sensitive software that can be vulnerable to hacking. That’s why it’s imperative to increase employee awareness about cybersecurity risks. Employees dealing with customer data are particularly vulnerable.
Train your employees to follow specific cybersecurity protocols. These protocols should include how to use organizational resources safely. They should also govern employee actions if a breach does occur.
Only Allow Secure Internet Connections
When hybrid working is allowed, employees love to get creative with where they spend their workdays. Coffee shops are very popular, along with libraries and even parks. But, all of these places have one thing in common – unsecured internet.
The free WiFi you find in most public places is highly vulnerable to outside attacks. Doing work on these networks brings great risk to the organization. But, that doesn’t mean that employees must strictly work from home.
Thanks to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), employees can freely connect to public WiFi, knowing that the VPN will encrypt all of their communications with the server. Organizations serious about going remote should provide all employees with access to a paid VPN.
Use Device Management Software
The role of IT professionals within organizations needs to shift dramatically with remote work. The IT staff should focus on protecting remote devices and ensuring company policies are followed when they’re being used.
IT administrators should have the ability to delete data from all remote devices. That’s possible with remote wiping software. If a device gets lost or stolen, it allows administrators to delete data and prevent unauthorized access.
Administrators should also track new app/software installations. It’s best to block all third-party software installations to begin with. If employees need extra software, the IT staff can permit them to use it after careful screening.
Note that tracking software should only be installed on company devices. Doing so on employees’ personal devices would infringe on their privacy.
With all its benefits, it’s safe to say that hybrid working brings some serious security vulnerabilities. Storing data securely is a critical issue that leaders need to solve to enable a safe remote-working environment.
But even if data is stored securely, the human factor still plays a role in organizational security. Employees should receive training on the best practices and courses of action in the event of a cyber attack, and the IT staff needs to have strong oversight of all remote work devices. Once you’ve got all of these basics covered, your business will be a very unlikely target for hackers.