How to Safeguard Your Data When Working Remotely

Remote work deployment during the pandemic became prevalent. However, ransomware attacks also skyrocketed by 148%. The cyber breach incidents are due to the complex work environment – an abrupt change of work setting outside the realms of office-based cyber security protocols. So how can small and medium enterprises ensure that the work-from-home dynamic does not compromise the organisation’s digital data?

While you would like to pay attention to protecting the edge (which sometimes is more complex because of a geographically diverse team), start with understanding where your critical data are stored. Who has access to it? Check how your critical data is secured inside your ecosystem. Is it hyper-encrypted? Is the access super restricted and super confidential? Are you tracking user access to your business data? If you have all the answers to those questions and you are confident that you have an IT security structure in place to safeguard your company information from intruders, then you can move towards gatekeeping your entire digital ecosystem.

Questions to Ask about IT Security

If you have a managed IT provider or an in-house IT team, do not be afraid to ask these questions about IT security:

·        Do you have a good firewall in place?

·        Secured Configuration?

·        Malware protection?

·        Anti-virus? How often do they check, and how often is it updated?

·        How is intrusion detection done?

·        Do they perform daily vulnerability Scanning?

·        What happens when an employee loses the company mobile phone or laptop? Are your gadgets equipped with remote destruct capability?

A crucial question that you must take note – how do employees access data and information when working remotely? The most common answer is probably data access through public cloud storage and commercial file sharing software (dropbox, google cloud, etc.). Another way is through Virtual Desktops through private cloud solution. And of course, there is you traditional way of data access and storage – data and information are simply available on the employee’s laptop or home computers or saved in a removable hard drive. It is crucial for business owners to understand how work information is saved and accessed to determine the suitable security measure to prevent or avoid intrusion. 

Larger organisations may have the resources and skills to tackle complex cyber security needs to accommodate WFH or Hybrid work requests. However, that does not mean that SMEs are limited to office-based work setup.

With employees constantly on the hunt for work-life balance, it is counterproductive for companies to restrict work options, especially if work can be accomplished outside the premise of the office building. In Ireland, The Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021 gives employees the dispensation to request a hybrid or fully remote work dynamic. With the inflating cost of rent and essential commodities, Right to Request Remote Work has become appealing and practical for job seekers and employees alike. 

The Best Way to Protect Your Business

Hence, the best way to protect your business while encouraging work efficiency is to ensure that your company has a long-term remote work plan and explicit cyber security-framed, written rules that staff are expected to adhere to when working outside the office. 

Stringent cybersecurity infrastructure and practices will enable a much grander scale of work flexibility, thereby improving productivity and providing optimal business results.