August 11, 2015

Secure Your Summer: Tips to Maintain Information Security When Working Remotely

It’s a given today that when employees go on holiday, many pack their work tablets and smartphones alongside their swimming costumes and flip-flops. This post gives you handy tips for maintaining information security while working from your sun lounger.

With the rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies, holiday time is still connected time: according to a study by the Institute of Leadership and Management, 61% of British employees now work while on holiday, an increase of 7% in just two years. The poll of 1,000 UK workers and managers showed that 64% regularly read and send emails during their time off, while 28% take business phone calls. A further 8% even went into their offices while officially on leave.

Another study by holiday company, showed that the biggest cause of holiday anxiety was the fear of falling behind with work, with 67% of respondents saying they continued to work to stay on top of their workloads.  

Of course, technology has everything to do with the mobile workforce and the blurred line between professional and private lives. The wireless internet, smartphones, laptops, and tablets have made it easy to work from home – and the beach. 

Research has shown that UK citizens carry an average of 2.7 devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones. The rise in popularity of BYOD  means many users no longer have to carry two smartphones (a work-issued device and personal device). 

So while employees remain productive outside of the office 24/7, the downside is that they can access corporate data from anywhere. This increases the risk of data breach incidents… and has created a whole new area of information security policies.  

Take these steps to ensure the confidential business information employees work on outside of the office remains secure:
  • Create a culture of data security in your workplace with a clear Bring Your Own Device policy.  (A study by the Ponemon Institute found that almost 60% of IT professionals had no BYOD policy in place.)
  • Utilise the latest computer protection such as proper encryption and firewalls on all portable devices. Ensure files, laptops and internet connections have password protection with activated security settings and firewalls.
  • Provide employee training about information security best practices outside the office. For example, when working in public places such as coffee shops or parks, don’t leave anything behind in a non-secure location such as a recycling bin, rubbish bin, or restaurant counter.
  • When leaving the office before a holiday, only take confidential documents that are absolutely necessary whether in hard copy or electronic form.  Transport information in a secure manner.
  • Be very selective about printing out confidential information from laptops or other computers outside the office.
  • Implement a shred-all policy to ensure all documents are securely destroyed whether working in the office – or on holiday. Speak to your document shredding partner about how employees on can do this securely while on holiday.  

Learn more about data security outside of the office and how working remotely can add another layer of risk to security.