As companies enter into 2023, it’s clear that remote or hybrid work will be here to stay in the coming years. The work-from-home culture has been embraced by both big and small businesses. One area where companies are still having trouble adapting to remote work is mobile data security.
Data breaches grew significantly in 3Q22, up by 70% from the beginning of the year, and most data breaches were the result of cyber-attacks. The number of data breaches in 2022 will be nowhere near the amount in 2020 which broke 125 million during the first 3 months of the COVID-19 lockdown. Data breaches and cyber-attacks are often the results of sloppy data security management, which could have been easily defended with simple due diligence.
Considering the growing number of remote employees and organizations, AOTMP® recommends looking into these 5 methods of protecting your data in the foreseeable future:
1. Keep Personal & Professional Separate
Using personal devices for professional purposes makes company security policies nearly impossible to enforce. Having company data on personal hardware, that is not protected with proper security software, not only poses a data breach risk, but also wastes resources when company-purchased IT equipment is not used.
2. Use VPN or Hotspots
Employees who work remotely can create a productive environment wherever they have access to an internet connection. However, public Wi-Fi networks are a favorite target of hackers and exploiters, putting the data of your company at risk. Approximately 20% of professional and personal users of the internet use VPN (Virtual Private Network) to prevent their data from being so easily exploited. A VPN allows you to determine who has access to your network and its resources, protecting your data from hackers.
3. Create Onboarding Process for Remote Hires
The adoption of a remote work policy will improve workers’ data security, but these policies will only work if all employees adhere to them. In order to achieve this, employees must receive adequate training, especially those joining a remote organization or are remote employees. Cybersecurity training and regular security maintenance should be provided to your employees. Those who work remotely need to be aware of their responsibilities and that they should practice similar security measures and etiquette as if they were in the office.
4. Use Encryption Software
Businesses and their remote workers can also protect themselves from hackers by using encryption software. Information on an employee’s device can find its way into the wrong hands and expose a company to data breaches and vulnerabilities if that device is stolen or lost. File encryption works by using complex algorithms to jumble the data being sent, preventing the tampering or unauthorized access of files when they are in transit or at rest.
5. Improve Communication
It is crucial for businesses to ensure that all programs they use for chat, email, or applications are encrypted end-to-end. WhatsApp recently had a data leak and failed to secure over 500 million users’ data, which is now being sold on the dark web. Make sure you are aware of the internet’s vulnerabilities; use secure networks and drop boxes for file sharing and internal messaging to ensure safety.
Data breaches on a global scale have served as a loud reminder to many organizations that working remotely is still, at its core, a new concept. Like all problems, companies must find solutions or keep being put at risk.
AOTMP® recommends that companies review their cybersecurity measures and refine any areas that may be lacking in defending their organization and its employees’ data. Remind staff of security protocols and educate them on safe and risky practices to improve your security posture and increase compliance.