4 security practices mobile and remote workforce must follow


Dipti Parmar

July 14, 2016

It no longer comes as a surprise if an employee chooses to work from home because it is raining outside, or that the CEO is working remotely because she is attending a business conference at the other end of the planet. As working practices become more casual, comfortable and collaborative, organizations need to tighten their belts to ensure data security.If you find your mobile and remote workforce expanding, you need to ensure that your security practices expand with it. Automatic and secure passwords generated by your IT staff will no longer cut it; newer and more secure methods are being introduced to ensure that your employees and their devices remain safe from prying eyes and security threats.

Here are four security practices that are applicable for your remote staffers and mobile employees, and for those who choose to use their personal devices.

BYOD security

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is one of the biggest factors responsible for increased productivity. Large enterprises and even small companies across the globe are slowly — but sometimes grudgingly — accepting the benefits of BYOD policies. I said grudgingly because the use of personal devices for work opens the floodgates to attacks and risks. BYOD makes your data vulnerable to a number of dangers, from peeping Toms to phishing attacks. However, if you want to keep your millennial workforce happy, you have to not only allow them to bring their own devices to the office, but also allow them to use those devices when they are working from home or other remote locations.

This makes it very important that their phones and tablets are secured with something more powerful than passwords and pattern locks. PIN Genie Vault offers a way to lock iPhones and iPads with a four-button pad, decoy passwords and an AES 256 algorithm. It secures all content formats, be they images, documents, notes or messages, so all the data on your employees’ devices is 100% safe from prying eyes.

If someone makes incorrect entries, it records those entries and captures a picture of the nasty intruder. If your employees’ devices are safe, you can relax in the knowledge that your data is safe too.

Cloud storage

In addition to protecting devices, organizations must also take care of the way the data is stored. Many companies allow access to only partial data.

They also use cloud or web-based storage software that allows sharing and editing of documents. However, not all cloud services are created equal.

That’s why Cisco introduced CloudLock, a technology that uses APIs to monitor the operations of data and content stored on cloud applications such as Office365, Google Drive, Dropbox, AWS, Slack and Salesforce.

It also works for on-premises servers. CloudLock tracks users’ behavior and their data in whichever cloud services they use, including SaaS-, IaaS- and PaaS-based offerings.

All these tools help users when all is good. However, sometimes employees themselves turn against an organization.

That is why large enterprises use security tools that help them remotely retrieve, redact or erase all data remotely. This is great in case an employee absconds with your intellectual property after quitting or getting fired.

Email security

Email is one of the most commonly used methods for communication and sending data. Most email providers offer industrial-strength security.

Nevertheless, it makes sense you advise your employees against cyberthreats like phishing emails, link manipulation and CEO phishing scams.

You must also implement mandatory email encryption across all office emails. There are several “set and forget” email encryption tools on the market. These systems deliver end-to-end protection, taking care of everything from scanning to encryption.

They are more efficient and easier to use than older data-loss-prevention systems, but they can work alongside those systems, too.

Make sure to secure emails from all endpoints, including PCs, Macs and mobile phones, as well as software and CRM systems like Salesforce.

Most email encryption software offerings, like DataMotion, Proofpoint etc., are compatible with all email clients, including Outlook, Gmail and Lotus, and can be directly integrated with them.

Two-factor authentication

All modern business applications must implement two-factor authentication or multifactor authentication. This adds a second level of security to important applications. Multifactor authentication uses OTP (one-time password) technology, certificate-based USB tokens, smart cards and many more advanced security technologies. On the other hand, two-factor authentication is simpler and more cost effective. It adds a second identification factor to the login process when employees are trying to access sensitive data or web applications. This authentication could be instantaneous, like an OTP sent over a verified phone number or email. Alternatively, you could ask preset questions that only your employees can answer. Facebook, Google and a lot of sites these days use two-factor authentication to ensure social accounts are not hacked. Identity theft is one of the biggest cyberthreat today, and if someone from top management is vulnerable to it, the effects can be disastrous. With headlines about CEO phishing scams emerging every few days, it only makes sense to be safe rather than sorry.

Final words

All the above-mentioned methods are not stand-alone solutions; they’re complementary to one another. You need to secure everything from mobile devices to your cloud storage with the best possible means. Breaches and data leaks can cost millions of dollars and, of course, there’s the added risk of damage to a company’s reputation. To ensure you don’t fall prey to fraudulent schemes and hacks, implement these four best security practices for your mobile and remote workforce.


This article was written by Dipti Parmar from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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