The affordability of devices—including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops—has changed the way we work and communicate on many levels. These technologies allow employees to work from any location and remain connected to the company network at all times. Nearly all of my coworkers have constant access to their work email and calendar through their smartphones, as well as the capability to work from home if needed. However, this freedom may create vulnerability and open companies up to cyberattacks. How can IT departments ensure the company’s sensitive information remain secure with the increased use of personal phones, tablets, laptops and desktops?
Tech Data Cloud ran a recent poll and found that 62 percent of respondents felt that a business’s largest security vulnerability is their employees. Networks can be secured, updated, patched and monitored systematically, but human behavior is not predictable. With this in mind, it’s important to focus on education and training, as they can help mitigate the risk of human error. Here are some tips to address security threats that can result from teleworking and bring your own device (BYOD) programs.
Employees who use a mobile device (or telecommute) should:
- Be sure their home network (wired and wireless) is secured with a firewall and encrypted Wi-Fi.
- Protect device(s) with a password or PIN number, and ensure that all device(s) automatically lock after being idle.
- Disable networking capabilities like Bluetooth to limit unwanted access.
- Configure applications to support security and use an industry-recognized security product like Intel Security or Kaspersky.
- Do not “jailbreak” devices.
- Do not connect your device(s) to unknown charging stations or unknown public Wi-Fi networks.
- Log onto the virtual private network (VPN) provided by their company.
- Use an isolated, protected and encrypted environment that is supported and managed by the organization to access data and services. Products like Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) help manage mobile devices. To learn more about EMS, check out this free guide.
- Require devices to be protected by passwords or pin numbers before allowing employees to access email on the device.
- Encrypt data and leverage cloud-based services that are secure. Online storage and productivity programs like Microsoft Office 365 can allow easy and secure access for remote employees.
- Encourage employees to set strong passwords and change them often.
- Conduct user awareness training. You may seek help from experts like KnowBe4 who specialize in cybersecurity awareness training.
Do you have another tip to add? Let us know in the comments below. If you have questions about security solutions or how to keep your information safe from cybercriminals, contact our Security Product Specialists at 1-800-237-8931 ext. 73246.
About the Author
Laura Vanassche is currently a Marketing Strategist for Tech Data, where she helps cloud and software partners in the IT channel access vendor and distribution resources. Tech Data is one of the world’s largest distributors of technology products, services, and solutions. Learn more at www.TechData.com