5 Ways to Help Secure Your Remote Workforce

Posted: May 02, 2014
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Whether it be healthcare, education, retail or financial services, it’s safe to say the workplace is no longer confined to four walls. Moving beyond the physical office, it’s not uncommon for modern-day business to be conducted remotely via the cloud from home, on the road or across geographical borders. Yet despite cloud services increasing efficiency and reducing costs, many have significant concerns when it comes to the protection of sensitive information in the cloud. While these concerns are valid, there are simple steps to take to mitigate the risks.

Here are five ways to help secure your remote workforce:

1. Education, education, education

By establishing comprehensive IT procedures and policies, the risk of jeopardizing sensitive data can be significantly reduced. Taking a laid back approach to how data is shared and stored may result in employees unknowingly compromising critical documents. Avoid assumption, especially when it comes to sending sensitive files via email. With the growth of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture it is vital that businesses make sure that all personnel are aware of the risks and consequences of failing to adhere to company policy.

2. Embrace mobile applications

Positively promote a mobile environment by endorsing secure apps. Without guidance, it is likely that employees will choose familiar tools, such as email and USBs, for storing and sharing sensitive documents, such as health records and personal information. By researching and confirming company approved applications, you can increase productivity while ensuring all data stays secure.

3. Make sure you have an audit trail

By controlling and monitoring who has access to stored or shared documents, businesses can avoid security breaches. Plus in the unlikely event of a breach, administrators can quickly detect the source and prevent further damage.

4. Forbid notoriously insecure services

By prohibiting well-known insecure file sharing methods, such as Gmail, and storage applications, such as Dropbox, businesses can limit the exposure of sensitive information. For the healthcare industry in particular, it is crucial that employees are dedicated in their efforts to exclusively use HIPAA-compliant solutions to ensure data is protected. Be sure to follow tip number 2 and empower your employees to replace these forbidden services with approved applications.

5. Regularly review and reassess

Technology is continually evolving, as are the needs and routines of businesses across all industries. It is advisable to frequently review policies around data storage to ensure remote workforces have the most secure and productive tools available to them. If possible, make employees part of the decision making process. By collaborating with remote workers you can ensure security while keeping their needs in mind. The more you involve your end users with the decision making process, the more likely they will be to adhere to the policies you decide on.