Ways to Prevent Data Leaks in Remote Teams
The ability for employees to work remotely is growing significantly. It’s expected that as much as half of the entire U.S. workforce will soon be doing at least some work outside the job site.
Technology now allows remote workers to do business just as efficiently as if they were in the office. Tech also creates another level of security concern, however, because of adding additional remote entry points that can be exploited. It also opens up greater potential for data leakage, whether intentional or accidental.
Another concern with remote teams or teams that travel is the growing number of employees that are mixing company-owned and personal devices for work purposes. That behavior puts company data at risk not just on computers you control, but personal devices that may not have the same level of security you provide.
Protecting Your Data
Protecting company data and preventing data leaks has never been more important or harder. Experts estimate that over 200,000 pieces of data are lost or stolen every hour. Additionally, consumers regularly see news stories about data hacks at some of the largest companies on the planet. Some of these hacks have allowed personal, private and even embarrassing data to be placed on the internet for anyone to see.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to protect company data. By understanding where targeted attacks commonly come from, IT teams can add smart technology solutions and best practices that will better protect the company data. Often, taking several proactive steps can prevent data leakage from occurring.
1. Manage Company Devices
You need to make sure that computes and laptops employees use are up-to-date on the latest upgrades and patches. They should be protected with anti-virus and other security software just as if they were in the home office. Restrict what software and apps can be used or require approval by IT before allowing for installation. This can be a step to help prevent report workers from unintentionally allowing malware onto the network. Using access roles that only allow certain users access to specific data sources can also help prevent attacks.
2. Manage Personal Devices
Personal devices being used by employees should be limited and they should be certified to employ the same standard of care when it comes to security. These devices will likely mix company and non-company email, apps, social media, and games, it’s particularly important to have strong guidelines. Something as innocuous as a free game app could be a way for bad guys to tunnel into a personal device and then on to company networks.
3. Secure Connections
A secure connection is critical for remote workers or even employees that may be accessing data while traveling. That’s why a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is so important. A VPN will provide remote access to company networks and servers while encrypting traffic. It also hides the IP address and DNS to make the connection difficult to trace while on public Wi-Fi networks.
Make sure you choose the right VPN to manage your security. Not all VPNs adequately protect your data. As a general rule, free VPNs or those that are created by
4. Strong Passwords
It’s hard to believe, but two of the most common passwords being used in 2019 are still “123456” and “password.” Ensure that your team can’t make it easy for someone to pick up your phone or laptop and punch in something simple. Require complex passwords that mix uppercase and lowercase characters, number, and special characters. Avoid phrases and words. Additionally, it requires password changes on a 90- or 180-day basis.
5. Two-Factor Authentication
Consider two-factor authentication before granting access to company assets. A secret code word, token, or authentication code sent to a separate device can help add another layer of security.
6. Full Disk Encryption
One of the easiest ways for data to leak happens when someone loses their cell phone or laptop (or it gets stolen). With full disk encryption, your data is safe even when your device is not.
Take Proactive Steps To Prevent Data Leakage
While cyber attacks, lost devices, and other potentially risky behavior will continue, there are steps your IT team can take to keep data more secure. When it comes to protecting the company and client data, every member of the team must be responsible and knowledgeable about how they can help. Taking these steps, along with strict security protocols and policies, can help prevent data leakage. Act now before it becomes a problem.