As we discussed in a recent on blog on remote working, for many enterprises, the COVID-19 outbreak has triggered an emergency response to establish and enable a remote workforce. Businesses everywhere are supporting remote working practices, yet in many cases, without laying strong foundations for robust data security.
This scenario, says Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, president and CEO of the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), exposes companies to significant risk. “The impulse to send employees home to work is understandable, but companies and agencies without business continuity (BC) plans with a strong IT Asset Management (ITAM) component are going to be sitting ducks for breaches, hacking and data that is out there in the wild beyond the control of the company.”
Securing sensitive data
Without rigid controls, too many businesses are now exposed to potential data security breaches and unauthorised data access:
- Allowing workers to use BYOD devices and work across public Wi-Fi systems is far from ideal if you want to safeguard company data. So, it’s essential to ensure your people use an enterprise-class virtual private network (VPN) when working remotely. It routes traffic through a secure network which encrypts the data even while your employees are connected to public Wi-Fi. In addition, multifactor authentication is essential when staff work from home, providing an added layer of protection that makes it harder for an attacker who gains access to someone’s credentials to use them.
- In the absence of an enterprise mobility management (EMM) system, companies lack control over access to corporate data. With only scant information about the personal devices being used to conduct company business, it’s impossible to secure mobile devices, applications, and the data on them. EMM solutions can prevent critical data loss and unauthorised data access and reduce risk should an employee lose a device that contains commercially sensitive data.
- It’s not enough to issue a security policy document. Without regular training and ongoing guidance on security, the sensitive data on personal devices could be at considerable risk of phishing and social engineering attacks. As a matter of course, all employees need security training at regular intervals to ensure they are confident of identifying and responding to potential threats.
- It can be hard to keep track of company data on multiple personal devices. In many cases, company information may remain on a personal device long after the employee returns to the workplace. If the device is handed down, sold to a third-party, or improperly disposed of, who knows who could get their hands on your sensitive company data?
With many of the country’s workers potentially working at home for some time to come, it’s essential to prioritise these data security challenges. IT assets should not be allowed to leave your company site without formally accounting for each of them.
The smart way to track all IT assets that are being taken home – and the data stored on them – is using modern EMM tools which include:
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
MDM tools allow you to monitor, manage and secure your employees’ mobile devices. MDM also allows you to remotely erase data which is a huge benefit when managing devices used by staff working at home.
Mobile Application Management (MAM)
MAM tools enable the remote management of applications on a mobile device.
Mobile Identity Management (MIM)
MIM allows IT to manage accessibility, ensuring only approved users and devices are allowed to access secure corporate data.
Mobile Information Management (MIM)
MIM plays a big role in keeping sensitive corporate information secure. It ensures only approved applications and data are made available to your employees.
Mobile Content Management (MCM)
MCM enables employees to work efficiently from their mobile devices while protecting corporate information from unauthorised access.
Secure and productive remote working
Ready or not, the COVID-19 outbreak has compelled many businesses to switch to remote working practices. Make it a priority to secure company data while you help your employees stay productive. Talk to imei about successfully supporting and securing remote working.