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5 Important Best Practices for Keeping Data Secure When Employees Are Working from Home

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Making remote working an option for employees doesn’t mean having to compromise on data security, in spite of what naysayers might claim.

All it takes is a few of the right policies and technologies to ensure that your business can keep up with current trends, while still protecting mission-critical information. Here are some examples to get you started down the right track.

Prevent Employees Using Personal Phones to Access Work Information

Unless you have no other option, it’s generally best to outlaw the use of personal portable devices in a work context, because data security can suffer in this scenario.

The rise of iPhone and iPad spyware means that employees might have suffered a breach without realizing it. Where possible, supplying them with separate handsets and tablets to use when on the move or working from home will let you take the reins and implement tighter controls over what apps they can install and what sites they can visit.

Implement a VPN for Connecting to In-house Systems

Remote workers will usually need to harness the same on-site resources as their colleagues in the office. If they are doing this over a network connection that you don’t have direct control over, that increases the risk of it being compromised.

This is where setting up a business VPN comes into play. With a virtual private network, team members can log into your servers and access data from anywhere in the world, with the same level of security as they’d enjoy if they were physically present on your commercial premises.

Have a Consistent Policy on Data Sharing & Software Use

You need to be unified in the way you approach the distribution of data, both for remote workers and on-site employees.

If everyone is using a different platform or approach to sharing files, it’s not only a security risk but also a problem from a productivity and efficiency perspective.

For instance, if you don’t have your own internal data storage setup, selecting a top rated file sharing platform which every employee must use will avoid common snafus.

The same goes for other types of software. Don’t let workers pick whatever service they prefer for things like instant messaging, social media management and so forth; be clear and consistent in setting out what software should be used, and in what context.

Train Employees and Review Their Progress

Employee training doesn’t have to be time-consuming, and it’s also something that pays dividends when it comes to data security.

When you roll out best practices and policies, bring remote workers up to speed with the right instruction and information on how to adhere to these rules and use the services you’ve chosen.

Also remember to provide refreshers on data security skills over time, and check that everyone is sticking to the framework you’ve set down, rather than deviating from it.

Ask Remote Workers What They Need

When working from home for the first time, it can feel like being thrown in at the deep end, and unless you get feedback from team members in this context, it’s not just security that can suffer.

Be willing to listen to input from people who are actually getting on with the home working experience from day to day, and you’ll find all sorts of useful tweaks to best practices that will make a real difference.

The Bottom Line

Being savvy about data security is a must for any business manager, especially when employees are working from home. Choose, document and implement best practices to govern this, and you’ll be impressed with the results.

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework stands as a pinnacle of guidance in the realm of cybersecurity. Developed by NIST, a non-regulatory agency within the United States Department of Commerce, this framework has garnered widespread [read more]

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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