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Mobile working: how to protect your business from security risks

Mobile working: how to protect your business from security risks

Mobile working is a risky business. It involves workers taking laptops or mobile devices away from the office and using them to access information and company data. The risks increase even further if when working in public spaces, or when travelling on public transport.

Security breaches can take many forms, from deliberate hacking to access sensitive or valuable information, to accidental disclosure of personal data. Even an overheard conversation or viewing a screen over someone’s shoulder could compromise company security, which can have serious consequences.

What happens if security is compromised?

Under the new data protection legislation, GDPR, businesses and individuals have increased responsibility to protect the data they store. Stringent processes must be followed when handling data, and permission must be sought before doing so.

If a security breach is suspected and confirmed, a considerable fine can be levied against the business, which costs not only in financial terms but also in sound reputation.  A careless mistake could therefore trigger a time consuming and costly exercise in discovering the source of the problem and taking appropriate steps to rectify the situation.

So, why take the chance?

Mobile working has many benefits, as well as potential risks. It can help reduce lost time, when employees are travelling for work and would otherwise be unable to continue with tasks. It can keep communication going, if colleagues and clients can continue correspondence, regardless of their physical location.

Having the ability to access information remotely can dramatically speed up response to request time and enable follow-up actions to begin immediately, rather than waiting until all parties are ‘back in the office’. In today’s fast paced environment, this will have obvious benefits for company workflow and customer service.

How to protect your business

In order to enjoy the benefits of mobile working, remaining mindful of the risks to security, there are a number of ways to protect your business. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Educate and train employees on how to stay safe when using devices away from the office. This includes how to store devices safely and build an awareness of potential risks, particularly in public spaces.
  • Consider what information and data should and shouldn’t be accessed remotely. Documents containing particularly sensitive data and information should only be accessed via the company’s secure network.
  • Safeguard any information that is accessed remotely via a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This will also protect the integrity of the device being used.
  • Ensure that the company policy documentation includes a specific policy on mobile working, and update this regularly to include all activities. Make sure that all staff members, including those primarily office-based, understand their responsibilities when anyone works away from the office.

Conclusion

The most successful way to protect your business is to take preventative steps, as above. However, things can and do go wrong – sometimes unavoidably, and sometimes due to carelessness or sabotage. How a business responds to a security breach will have an impact on the scale of the problem.

Having a plan in place to deal with a breach swiftly and responsibly is likely to lesson any further damage. This will include who to report the problem to, what action will follow, and who should be informed if data has been wrongly accessed or exposed.

Mobile working can break down the confines of working from an office. It can reduce time wasted while travelling, which is good news for the business. We have the means to undertake tasks and communicate on the move. So we just need to ensure that our processes are keeping pace with developing technology.

Would your business benefit from having a comprehensive knowledge of mobile working?

Whitepaper: Make ‘mobile working’ work for your business

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