As the mobile workforce continues to expand, the risk of cyber security breaches grows. Regardless of his or her job function, every employee may have access to or stores sensitive information on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This is especially true with mobile workers. Whenever these mobile employees are on their laptops and mobile devices, they are constantly at risk when connecting to Wi-Fi networks, plugging in USBs or losing devices with confidential company data stored on them.
Imagine what hackers could do with your business financial data, or employee and client sensitive information. What would you tell the public if that happened? It could severely damage your business reputation, run the risk of lawsuits and even make you shut the doors.
Successfully Managing Cyber Security
In the US, 38 percent of employees work from home at least one day each week. More individuals are spending a majority of their day working on the road as they visit prospects and clients or attend conferences and sales exhibitions. With this rise in mobility, it is more important than ever for management to ensure that their mobile employees have adequate IT security. Consider the following five ways to manage IT security more effectively:
- Wi-Fi Networks – Inform and constantly remind your mobile workforce to minimize their utilization of public Wi-Fi networks. This is especially important when they are accessing sensitive company information. Public networks offer a playground for hackers who can easily see such confidential data.
- VPN & Passwords – Recommend that all mobile employees use a corporate Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure that data is private and encrypted. Laptops and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets should have password protection enabled. Employees should avoid leaving unlocked laptops unattended even if they think they are in a secure location. Password strength should be sufficiently complex.
- USB Drives – Advise employees of the dangers of using shared or random USB drives. Even if the random drive appears to be new, they should avoid using it. Such drives can be one of the easiest ways to infect a device with a virus. Strongly advise against employees plugging strange USB drives into their company laptops.
- Cyber Security Training – Ensure that all mobile employees have been sufficiently trained in the best cyber security practices prior to any extended time away from the office environment.
- Mobile Device Management – Mobile Device Management is a type of security software (like an app) installed on every mobile device that allows employers to track and manage devices remotely. Think about implementing Mobile Device Management to enable your IT department or provider centrally track every mobile device used by your employees. This will also allow you to configure devices according to company policy like password complexity and acceptable apps usage. Such management is useful if any device is lost or stolen and needs to be remotely located, locked, and wiped of all data. Management can also monitor data usage on each mobile device.
Taking the initiative to effectively transform the worst practices of your mobile workforce into their best practices is well worth the time and effort. Through education on cyber security, your employees will be better able to maintain a defensive line against social engineering attacks.