Maintaining the Security of Your Mobile Workforce

A few months ago we looked at the way in which businesses are embracing the idea of a mobile workforce in ever greater numbers. Changes in legislation allowing for compulsory flexible working hours combined to the further advancement of new technology and migrations to cloud applications has seen a significant shift towards remote working in even the most traditional office based organisations in the UK. And the business landscape of South Wales is no different in this regard.

As the website Techradar pointed out, businesses have been under increased scrutiny to stay apace with technology and communications, seeing a growing trend in both mobile working and BYOD (bring your own device) into common working practice. All of which, as we mentioned in our previous article, offers some very definite benefits for the productivity and profit of an organisation; not to mention benefits in relation to staff morale seeking improved work-life conditions.

However, there is an underside to this progression in that this new tech-mobility brings with it new and greater challenges to security within the business. And, as most business owners are more than aware, IT security really is one of the great hot potato issues of our time.

It’s certainly true that, with the rise in smart phone, tablet and similar devices, all linked in to the company network wherever they happen to be, that an employee can get work pretty much anywhere they happen to be these days. Take Cardiff city centre for example. Free Wi-Fi is available almost across the city, from central library to Debenhams, St David’s Centre to any of the seemingly infinite number of Starbucks or Costa Coffee shops.

But such freedom of access does set alarm bells ringing when it comes to protecting the safety and integrity of vital business data and the threat of being hacked.

The Need for Multi-Device Security

Protecting devices owned and operated by the business should be able to deliver sound practices when it comes to security. It really is the first and most common-sense line of defence against malicious cyber-attacks. Your IT support can ensure that the most robust and up-to-date security software is in place across all devices to allow for suitable anti-virus shields and firewalls.

The issue gets muddied however if operating a BYOD policy. Employees using their own devices allows for the potential of less well protected devices being breached and threatening the business network. Therefore, while BYOD certainly can be a cost-efficient policy for a company, in order to maintain peace-of-mind, a degree of diligent checking should really be in place to ensure that all devices with access to the network have been inspected and deemed safe and suitable.

Be Cautious of Public Networks

So, if you are sitting in the coffee shop while working then an understanding of what you should or should not be sharing at that time is paramount. Public networks, as most will even tell you when you log on, are not highly-secure networks and are the most open to attack. Writing up a daily report or sending more generic work-related emails is one thing, but if you are about to share highly-confidential data with a colleague, it might be better practice to wait until you’re on a more secure connection.

Data Protection Measure for Employees

We know that you trust your staff, which is why you allow them access to all that business critical data. However, the reality is that once that access exists in a remote capacity, that access is available at home and away from the office.

It should therefore behove an organisation to ensure that strict rules, enforceable by law potentially, are applied so that everyone in the organisation knows what can be publicly accessed and what is strictly for the eyes of employees only – and not to be transferred onwards should someone move to a competitor.

It doesn’t have to mean you trust your staff any less, but it can be sensible protection in the long-term.

Use encryption for heightened security

Mobile devices are getting considerably more secure as times goes by, from traditional passwords to thumb prints and even facial recognition. The truth, when it comes to protecting data, is that you really can’t have enough measures in place.

One other such measure as a powerful protection of data, is to apply digital encryption. Using an encryption cypher means that data can only be accesses by those who possess the key code – typically an algorithm in the software. It’s added security on remote devices that may get lost, stolen or left on the bus. If they do fall into unscrupulous hands who somehow manages to get past the mobile security, at least the company data can still be protected and safely encrypted from view.

Using encryption to protect data has been used in one fashion or another throughout the centuries and remains a powerful tool against theft in the digital age. In I.T. the use of an encryption cipher can ensure that your data is only accessible to those with the encryption key – essentially an algorithm to unlock the data. This can be particularly important in with remote workers as it can give peace of mind that data is secure in the event of a lost or stolen device.

Security measures often come down to taking a common sense approach to the way we use our devices and networks, with practices such as outlined above helping a business have greater peace of mind. However, for a comprehensive review and consultation on your mobile network security, then speak with an expert consultant within your IT support or here at Sabre.

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Related blogs: IT News

Tagged with: cloud computing, internet security, mobile workforce

Categorised as: IT News

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