Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working was on the rise. Today, it is expected to continue well into 2021 and beyond. Along with offering great benefits to employees and employers alike, remote working comes with some key challenges – especially in terms of cybersecurity. Here are the 5 most critical issues that need to be addressed in order to make remote working safer for your employees and your business.
#1 – Sensitive Content is Now Accessible Remotely
Sensitive content, from financial data and employee files to research and project information now has to be accessible from anywhere in the country. If your employees can’t access it, they can’t work. One solution is to make the jump to the cloud if you haven’t already, but this isn’t something that’s easy or inexpensive to set up. You can also consider a hybrid strategy that puts your business applications on the cloud as well as onsite, giving employees real time access. Platforms that can achieve this relatively inexpensively include Microsoft 365, Microsoft SharePoint, G Suite and Huddle. All offer collaboration tools, secure content management, monitoring, reporting and archiving, as well as encryption.
#2 – Communication and Collaboration
One of the biggest challenges to remote working is ensuring open lines of communication and collaboration over geographic distances. You can no longer pop over to your co-worker or team member’s desk for a chat or schedule a brainstorming session, and you can’t monitor your employees to make sure they’re being productive.
Again, tech has risen to the challenge by providing intelligent chat, project management and file sharing platforms like Microsoft teams, Slack, Asana, Google Docs, and Flowdoc. The best platforms integrate multiple applications and tools within a simple interface, with Teams even allowing you to track specific metrics and team needs such as Project Management, Sales, Analytics and Business Intelligence.
#3 – Shadow IT
We’ve talked a bit about shadow IT and how it’s not necessarily a problem but more of a challenge to today’s organisations. Essentially, shadow IT is any use of a device or application on the work network that isn’t authorised by the IT department. Using your personal laptop from home to do some work is technically shadow IT. So is downloading an unapproved app so you can chat with your co-workers.
Shadow IT can be an effective way to work more efficiently – but it has to be managed properly to prevent potentially devastating cybersecurity issues. With so many people working from home on their personal devices, this issue has reached a critical point.
You can address this challenge by restricting access by unapproved third-party applications, creating lists of approved apps/platforms, etc to make it easier for employees to get the tools they need, monitoring your network to detect threats and unknown devices, and performing regular data audits.
#4 – Mobile Device Security
Mobile devices have become essential to the way we do business, and have become go-to tools for remote working. This increases vulnerabilities for all businesses, large and small, and the only way to counter this issue and get the benefit of mobile devices is to ensure cybersecurity at a device level as well as an application level. It’s not just about how to secure communications and work, it’s about securing the tool they are using to accomplish these tasks.
Key to this is a mobile device security policy that not only sets rules for employee and device compliance, but also provides access to cybersecurity measures to secure these devices and actively secures business interactions. Solutions like InTune, for example, have settings to determine how company data is saved, when it can be saved onto a device and how it can be transferred between devices. You can also wipe your organisational data from their device without affecting personal data, making moving between devices and securing data after an employee is terminated easier.
#5 – Automation
Automation plays an important role in the productivity and data security of modern businesses, helping to lower administrative burdens, assisting with compliance and providing patches that shore up vulnerabilities in networks and applications. As a result, it is critical for employers in a remote working environment to ensure employees are utilising platforms that make automation a priority.
Many platforms push automatic updates for the operating system and relevant integrate applications (here, it is critical for employers to make these updates compulsory), help remote workers automate routine digital tasks (for example, on completing a task it is automatically sent to the next person in the workflow to work on), build individual workflow or implement campaigns or projects. These systems can be used for a wide range of business tasks, including data collection, social media and marketing projects, emails and productivity, and much more.
Make Remote Working Work for Your Business
As a managed IT services provider, we can partner with your business to make remote working more effective, more productive and more secure than ever before. Milan Industries works with small and medium sized businesses in diverse fields to bring the benefits of tech, cloud services, cybersecurity and collaborative tools to you, affordably.