IT assets are increasingly becoming mobile. Whether tablets, desktop PCs, or notebooks/laptops, the use of IT assets outside traditional office spaces is commonplace. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in remote workers — professionals who work outside traditional 9-to-5 office hours and often from different locations.
The number of workers taking advantage of flexible work schedules is only expected to increase, and IT departments need to keep pace with this change in work needs. IT assets present a unique problem when it comes to remote workers: how do you secure them?
The answer may be easier than you think. Here are six ways that organizations can approach the problem of securing both their mobile and traditional office employees’ IT assets.
1) Secure Laptops
The majority of lost IT assets are laptops, which carry the bulk of an organization’s information in terms of both data and access to systems or resources.
Employees without laptops can still access email via their smartphones or tablets, but it is much harder for them to do real work when they don’t have access to a PC.
Organizations can take their laptops and smartphones and password-protect them or encrypt the hard drives for security purposes.
2) Separate IT Assets
This is especially important when it comes to mobile devices such as tablets and notebooks/laptops. Organizations can enable restrictions on mobile devices so that they cannot download certain apps, cannot send personal emails or associate with social media, and/or cannot be used to access sensitive information.
3) Offer Security Training
Your remote working employees must undergo security training. This is something that every employee should do anyway, but in this day and age, it is especially critical when it comes to remote and mobile workers.
Remind them of the value of the information they have access to, and make sure they understand what is and isn’t allowed.
This will also help if your organization does suffer a loss of IT assets — employees may be less likely to download personal apps or send personal emails if security training reminds them that such activity puts the organization at risk.
4) Utilize Anti-Theft Software
We recommend you use anti-theft software on laptops and other mobile devices. This is especially important when it comes to notebooks/laptops, but can be used on tablets as well. It will track where the device goes should it ever be lost or stolen, allowing the company to recover it quickly without risking information leakage.
5) Track Activities
Again, this is important for both laptops and other mobile devices. It will allow IT departments to see what types of sites are being visited or apps are being downloaded, helping them establish a baseline that they can use to establish whether the device has been compromised.
6) Track Sensitive Data
Track and monitor access to sensitive data to prevent yourself from big loss. This is a way for organizations to keep track of what types of information employees have access to, but also when and where they have access.
For example, it can tell an organization whether a remote worker is viewing customer files from their home or if someone in the office has been accessing IT department tools from a personal computer. This way, if something does go wrong IT departments are prepared.
7) Require a Written BYOD Policy
Requiring employees to acknowledge, in writing, that they understand the company data security policies is a simple fix that can reap huge rewards.
Acknowledging these guidelines means employees will be held accountable for their actions if there are any security violations, and it also strengthens your compliance position regarding audit practices.
By sending out an email reminding the employee of your BYOD policy, you can help reduce the amount of time it takes to stop a data breach. This policy will help the business owners in remote employee returning equipment.
8) Location Of Sensitive Data Storage
Sensitive company information should never be stored on a mobile device or cloud service that isn’t managed by IT. However, there are times when employees have to take their work with them for legitimate reasons.
For these scenarios, it’s best to opt for a secure cloud storage service that has built-in sharing options and can be password protected. This move will help keep your sensitive data out of the wrong hands without hindering business productivity.
The rise in remote workers is a trend that will only become more prevalent in the coming years, and this has led to several security issues for traditional office spaces.
However, by implementing these strategies organizations can keep their data safe from outside threats while also making sure that employees maintain access even when they work outside the office.