Having employees working remotely multiplies the number of networks, applications and user interfaces through which data is accessed. These are the three main points in an IT system where data is most vulnerable so it is important that companies are mindful of the data security risk and put mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk.
At the most basic level, compared with PCs and networked systems, there is a greater risk that mobile phones and laptops could be lost or stolen and then used to access or store confidential company data. Also, as employees use devices for their own social purposes as well as for work, accessing websites and uploading photographs and other content, they could unintentionally infect their device with viruses or malware that could provide a backdoor into the company’s systems.
Business should consider using ‘mobile device management’ (MDM) and/or ‘sandboxing’. MDM technology enables the employer to remotely manage and monitor an employee’s personal device (such as remote wiping and location tracking) and ‘sandboxing’ involves creating a secure section on the device to be used exclusively for company matters – which can be used to limit remote wiping just to company data.
IT teams should work closely with other stakeholders within the company to establish a structure which capitalises on the benefits of remote working and BYOD without exposing the company to unnecessary security risks.