Is your business set up properly for Mobile Working?
Mobile Working: accessibility vs. security
Mobile working is key to the smooth running of many businesses. It allows workers to communicate and access documents while on the move. Employee roles may involve a degree of travel during work time, which would otherwise be time entirely lost. In addition to claiming back those hours, mobile working can increase workflow and help avoid an unnecessary delay in responding to requests from clients or colleagues.
There are a number of considerations that businesses must take in to account when setting employees up to work away from the office. A assessment will need to be made on what equipment is needed for the tasks at hand. Requirements can range from a full-size laptop to a small tablet or smart phone. Personnel safety will also need to be assessed. Employees using devices, particularly in public places, need to take steps to keep themselves and the equipment safe.
So, what are the risks?
The biggest risk with mobile working is security – not something that any business will want to take lightly. Employees who work away from the main business premises will probably need to connect to the company network in order to access information and send / receive data. This means potentially sensitive data is brought into the public domain and downloaded or stored on a laptop or mobile device.
For this reason, mobile working will automatically make a business more vulnerable to a security breach. People may assume that a ‘risk to security’ means vulnerability to being hacked, or a purposeful attempt to steal information. While businesses do need robust protection against this, security breaches come in all shapes and sizes.
Information may be unintentionally divulged as the result of an overheard conversation, or a laptop left open on a desk. This could not only compromise the company or individual involved, but could have further consequences, which have direct financial implications for a business.
The consequences of a security breach
There are now tougher regulations in place for the protection of data, governing the way data is processed, handled and shared. Businesses must be able to show they are GDPR compliant, exercising due diligence and care with the data they hold. If a data breach is suspected and reported, the result can be a significant fine. Even worse, damage to the company’s reputation.
Protecting the business
Prevention is always better than cure. By taking the following steps you can help prevent a security breach:
- Train all staff who are either mobile working themselves or communicating with colleagues on the move. Training should include use and safety of devices and appropriate practices for accessing information and handling data.
- Be clear on what tasks are permitted while mobile working. Employees should only access information they really need. There may be some documentation that is ‘out of bounds’ when away from the office.
- Make sure that every device, and the information exchanged, are protected by a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
- Draw-up a specific policy covering mobile working. Make sure all members of staff have read and understood their obligations regarding security.
Of course, it may not be possible to entirely avoid data being compromised. So it is equally important to have a plan in place should this occur. This must also be included in your mobile working policy and should cover what to do if equipment is lost or stolen.
Every staff member should know who to report a problem to, within a set time-frame, and what steps will be taken to protect data. A business should have a clear plan on how to respond to a data breach, how security will be restored and who will need to be informed, depending on the nature of the breach.
Are you ready to join the Mobile Working revolution?
Mobile working offers the kind of flexibility and continuity that we have come to expect in a modern working environment and can have a positive impact on productivity. We have the technology to enable remote access to information and data, but this must be balanced with security measures put in place to protect the individual and the business.
Would your business benefit from a greater insight into mobile working?
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