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6 common challenges to data protection caused by remote working
The SRM Blog

6 common challenges to data protection caused by remote working

Mark Nordstrom

Written by Mark Nordstrom

20th May 2020

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safe remote working

As businesses continue to adjust to life in lockdown, cybersecurity has never been more important

Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus and Government lockdown rules, businesses across all industries are having to adjust to remote working as standard. And while modern technologies and software makes this possible, working from home can still leave organisations with a range of fresh challenges to overcome.

From choosing the right platforms to factoring in human error, cybersecurity and data protection are more important than ever while remote working is in place. Here are some of the challenges you’ll need to consider in order to protect your business data during these strange times.


Choosing the right video software

One of the many effects of the spread of COVID-19 has been the rise in video teleconferencing popularity, both within businesses and as a replacement for social gatherings. Platforms like Zoom have seen their memberships skyrocket, as organisations continue to find their services useful.

But care is required with such platforms. All screensharing apps have vulnerabilities if not used correctly. Meeting calls that are not secured with a password can be easily hacked, providing easy access to sensitive information.

Zoom has even found itself embroiled in controversy regarding its privacy and security in recent weeks, with many businesses making the switch to Microsoft Teams instead.


Putting your trust in multiple connections

When your entire team is congregated in a single office, you can rest assured that bolstering the security of your office network will keep your business data safe from cybercriminals. But working from home inevitably means putting your trust in a range of different networks – ones you have far less control over.

Ensuring that all home networks in use are secure is paramount, as is equipping your employees’ devices with effective security software to keep them safe even outside the office. Making sure your laptop or device is updated with the latest security patches will ensure you are maintaining the best possible security for the data held on your device or any data your device has access to.


Leaving a paper trail

Remote working makes it even more important than ever that you closely control your privacy filters and ensure that you never leave an unlocked screen in a public place. This is paramount to protecting your data. Try not to print documents where this might increase the risk of the information getting into the wrong hands.

If paper is required for any reason, keeping sensitive paper records secure and away from prying eyes is important. Maintaining a secure environment such as a safe, locked drawers or even a locked room is good practice and will provide an extra layer of security when working from home.


Lack of knowledge

Security awareness is a crucial factor in data protection, particularly while home working is in place. When team members understand the essentials of cybersecurity, they are far less likely to leave themselves (and your sensitive data) vulnerable.

This includes the basic building blocks of cybersecurity, such as having a strong password. Knowing how to create strong passwords – and understanding the importance of utilising different passwords for different tools – can make a significant difference to an organisation’s risk posture.


Data is constantly on the move

Remote working means that your team are staying put, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for data and documentation. Information is constantly travelling between locations, devices and networks as staff share their work, provide feedback, ask for updates and work collaboratively from different places.

Long email chains containing unencrypted data are a goldmine for hackers. Instead, consider investing in one of the many leading cloud-based platforms like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. These allow data to be stored securely in the cloud, allowing access to authorised people, who can view, edit, share, download and upload documents without the need for emails.


Human error

Last year, over 90% of cybersecurity incidents reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) were the result of human error. This comes back to a lack of knowledge among team members.

Ensuring that your team know how to spot a suspicious link or a phishing attempt can significantly reduce your chances of suffering a data breach. Be sure to put clear protocols in place for staff to follow should they come across anything they consider suspicious.

As SRM Consultant, Katie McMillan explains, “When working in an office environment your company has policies and procedures in place to protect the data you access or work with. It is perhaps even more important that you adhere to these when working away from a secure office. Being vigilant about your surroundings will not only protect company data but will also protect your own personal data.”

We’ve all got enough to worry about during these uncertain times, don’t add a breach to the list. Be proactive with your data protection and let the SRM team help you shape a more robust approach to information security. Get in touch today by clicking here or by calling 03450 21 21 51.


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