Employees Working from Home to Avoid Coronavirus? Protect Your Data

With the coronavirus threat having moved on from disrupting your business’s supply chain to threatening your employees’ health at home, now is the time to implement that company-wide remote workplace plan.

While there are a host of considerations in transitioning to a fully remote workplace—hardware, software, securing a connection, training employees, and maintaining productivity among them—perhaps the most pressing issue is protecting your company’s sensitive data.

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Remote employees are more susceptible to hackers and allowing unauthorized access.

And while top management may have secure connections, company laptops, and adequate training, other employees may not. They may be working remotely for the first time, trying to get acclimated with a host of new protocols and be productive while working from home. Converting an entire workplace to remote work is certainly a challenge, said Gregory Bombard, a partner with the law firm Duane Morris.

Bombard offered several “speed bumps” for bad actors that could help prevent the theft or loss of company data by remote workers.

First, limit access to particularly sensitive information, he said, by increasing the permissions necessary to access it.

Then, “monitor employee accounts for unusual activity like large or rapid downloading, printing, or emailing of data. There is rarely a legitimate business purpose for large-scale transfers of data,” he said.

“Even adding a minor speed bump can help limit the risk,” Bombard said. “For example, implementing a system where employees have to get approval before using file sharing websites, downloading significant amounts of data, or accessing particularly sensitive information.”

Lastly—and this might be difficult in a rapid scale-up of a remote workplace—make sure all employees have appropriate non-disclosure agreements in place and receive training on the proper handling of confidential information. Employees should be regularly reminded of the company’s policies for protecting its data and the consequences for failing to do so.

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To read the full article, visit the Compliance Week website.