Work from Home carries 3 not so obvious Data Security risks


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We believe the “work from home” idea carries many benefits for the organization and the workforce. 

We also believe it defines a new normal for a bulk of the workforce post the coronavirus pandemic. 

Organizations are changing and managing work differently as they adjust to this new normal (this is how Mithi is managing during COVID-19)

Top benefits of Work from Home:

  1. Reduced operational costs for the company in terms of space, infrastructure, and logistics.
  2. Reduced travel time for the employees is thus saving costs and increasing productivity. A secondary benefit of reduced travel is improved employee health and a reduced carbon footprint contributing to the earth.
  3. Since the workforce is remote and distributed, any impromptu, “walk up and tap on the shoulder,” discussions are not possible. Thus, there is an increased need to improve planning and reporting so that reviews are structured and aligned. And this goes a long way in improving the quality and speed of decisions.
  4. If the employee can work in a secluded space at home, there can be the benefit of reduced noise (especially if they don’t have their cabin at work). The reduced disturbance leads to quieter calls and more focused work.
  5. Sync up meetings are more structured, and everybody comes prepared to the web call.
  6. More time at home (even if at work) can help improve relationships with family members. It also affords you the option to flex your schedule.

How Work from Home creates risks to data:

However, work from home brings with it the element of data risk and creates new challenges.

The standard challenges faced by work from home employees include device security, network security, privacy (as other people overhear conversations or can see your laptop screens), and more. 

Besides these standard challenges, there is a less visible risk element to all the email data being handled by your employees while working from home.

Here are three potentially risky situations along with proposed solutions to help you mitigate the risks.

1. Using email from home devices

The Challenges:

Email is the primary carrier of business-critical information and is one major tool for exchanging information amongst the remote teams. 

Therefore, securing email access is paramount to reduce data-related risks.

Unless all your employees carry work computers/laptops, they would likely end up using their own home devices (which other people at home may also be sharing). 

The use of home devices by your employees dramatically magnifies your data risk. The increased risk could be due to remnants of corporate data left on the devices that are inaccessible by your IT teams in the future (so cannot be erased).

The proposed solution:

To secure the email of your employees, we propose disabling access to desktop & mobile email clients for such users. Disabling device access prevents them from downloading email to their home computers. 

Instead, deploy access control policies to “force” your home users to access their mailboxes with only the web client. Baya4 for SkyConnect is an incredibly powerful and responsive web client. 

The use of a web client like Baya4 ensures that all the emails stay on the server, and once the user logs out (or the system times out due to inactivity), there is no data-trail on the local PC.

There might be a set of employees who neither have a desktop or a laptop at home. For them, accessing email over Baya4 from the mobile is a secure and reliable option to work with email.

SkyConnect allows you to configure policies and rules straightforward to restrict access, as described above.

2. No Visibility or Backup of the email of remote workers

The Challenges:

Remote workers demonstrate an increased usage of email to collaborate and discuss their work with their peers and managers over email. 

Thus, email now carries even more critical business and technical information (many times this is classified information).

The use of email rises to compensate for the lack of impromptu face to face discussions, which happen when people are all accessible in office.

Considering that you have very little or no control over what devices are being used at home by your employees and how secure or reliable the work environment is, you run a high risk of data theft or data loss.

The Solution:

Having a backup of all these emails sent/received by all remote workers is a critical piece in the business continuity strategy of your business.

We propose a straightforward way to do this. You start archiving emails of all these remote workers into Vaultastic, to preserve these emails in tamper-proof vaults for as long as you like. Now, no matter what happens to the endpoints or mailbox, the email data is super safe and easily accessible using ediscovery.

3. Using public consumer file-sharing tools (Dropbox, G Drive, and the like)

The Challenges:

Typically when users are within an IT network of an office environment, they may share files using shared folders on a standard storage mount or a single allocated PC/server dedicated to exchanging files locally. 

However, when users work from home, without a VPN access to your office network, they have no option but to use popular consumer file sharing apps like Dropbox, G Drive, One Drive, or the like.

The risk you run here is that the accounts for the consumer file-sharing applications belong to your employees. In effect, you or your IT team has no access to the data in those accounts during or after the employee’s tenure.

In other words, a resource over which you have no access or control is now carrying your organization’s business-critical data.

The Solution:

We propose you use Ideolve as a tool to share files securely amongst your employees and with outsiders.

You can control how the viewer of the shared files can engage with your data/files, and you can rest assured that all your data is in a single safe repository totally in your control. 

You can ensure the security of your files is by disabling downloads and disabling clipboard operations. You can also un-publish files once you are done with the work so that they are not permanently floating around. 

The Ideolve File sharing tool is akin to showing your data to the relevant people through a pane of glass. They can view it, comment on it, but cannot do much more.

Would you like to discuss the specifics of these solutions? Schedule a conversation with one of our solution evangelists.


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