Remote working can be as secure as the office
This is a guest blog by Stan Black, SVP – Chief Security and Information Officer at Citrix
Remote work has transformed the way organizations and employees can adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
When businesses empower people to be fully productive anywhere, at any time, they gain agility and flexibility. This helps businesses to stay at the forefront of fast-moving markets. But it also means employees can stay reactive to unexpected scenarios in their life – for example last-minute childcare issues.
Helping employees to better balance their work and homelives staff feel appreciated, engaged and inspired in their jobs. They also become more satisfied—which in turn helps strengthen retention and corporate culture for the business.
This is a positive step for the workplace, but it’s important that it’s implemented into workplace culture properly. If you’re not careful flexible working can introduce a number of security challenges. Make sure your remote work strategy includes tools and practices to keep your systems and data safe wherever they’re used. Here are a few measures I’ve found particularly valuable for this.
Enable secure access to apps and data from any network, cloud, and device
In most cases, remote work takes your employees beyond the controls and protections of the corporate network. People focus more on the task-at-hand than behind-the-scenes security mechanisms, so they might not be aware of this. That means their home internet might make their work vulnerable to security breach without realising.
To tackle this, deliver and store apps and data virtually, or in the cloud, rather than on the device itself. By keeping sensitive content off laptops, you ensure any losses are only a costly nuisance rather than a devastating security breach. Centralized storage also allows you to wipe a device that’s been infected with malware without losing any of the data its user depends on.
It’s important not to stress your employees with cumbersome security procedures like configuring network settings or memorizing rules about what data and apps they can and can’t use in given scenarios. Policies like these should be applied automatically in the background, based on the fact you know they’re going to be working in a home environment.
Engaging employees will help protect
Security is everyone’s business — after all, anyone could accidentally expose your organization to a breach. This makes education a critical element of secure home working.
Teach your workforce the principles of safe computing to help them avoid simple mistakes like clicking unsafe links, downloading suspect files, and responding to phishing attacks. Remind them to practice good password hygiene by choosing a different hard-to-guess password for each of their accounts. (Or better yet, provide a single sign-on mechanism across all their services so they can use a single, strong password rather than a lot of weaker, more easily remembered ones).
This provides a foundation which is transferrable to any unforeseen circumstances. You can then top this up with information that is uniquely fitted to unexpected scenario an employee or business might find themselves in. For example, if a crisis – in the workplace or wider society – happens we send an alert to all our employees telling them what’s happening, what to watch out for, and how they can protect themselves and their families.
Recognize what’s normal
As hackers get better at disguising their methods, it can be hard to recognize an attack until it’s well underway. It’s best to assume any deviation from normal behavior, is the first sign of an intrusion, no matter how innocuous it seems. Ultimately, constant vigilance is crucial.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are now vital allies in this effort, making it possible to spot abnormalities quickly even when working from home. I recommend using security analytics within your flexible working strategy.
Less risk – more reward
Remote work is a fundamental way for organizations to empower, look after, and take responsibility of their employees. Showing your employees you care about them will nurture productivity, agility, and innovative no matter an employee’s working environment.
Sometimes life can get stressful and we might to adjust working habits to this. But by building security into your remote work strategy, you can ensure that you’re at least alleviating the stress of security breaches for your employees, which helps your team remain as happy as possible in times of uncertainty.
Read our blog post with Citrix to learn how to balance the generational differences in the workplace with the rise of Generation Z.
Visit the Fujitsu blog to find out more about protecting yourself from cyber-crime.