Today’s Small Businesses Lean Heavily on Remote Workers
Were you among the 55.3 percent of employees who took their work devices on the road during this past holiday season? Chances are that if you have employees who find it difficult to complete their duties in the office, they’ll take it home with them over the holidays to make sure they don’t fall behind. Yet, they could potentially be exposing important data to risk, even if it means getting a little bit of work done here and there in the meantime.
A survey from ObserveIT asked several questions about the real threats that face businesses when it comes to remote workers and mobile devices, and the results they found were quite disturbing. Just about anyone--even the best employee--could pose a potential risk to your business if they are unaware of the dangers their mobile device usage presents. We’ll dig into the details and share some of the important takeaways of the survey, as well as what you can do to make sure your organization doesn’t fall victim to these threats.
Using Unsecured Networks is Dangerous
While it might be convenient to use any unlocked Wi-Fi network while out of the office, it’s not the most secure way of accessing the Internet. This is because anyone on the network with the right tools can see what you are doing, as well as steal or intercept data while it’s in transit to and from it. 77 percent of employees use these networks to access the Internet on their devices.
Furthermore, the number of employees using these networks to access their email and other company data while unsecured is somewhat surprising. About 63 percent of employees do this, and it puts your business’ sensitive information at risk.
Employees Use Unapproved Devices to Access Data
Sometimes devices used by your employees aren’t as secure as they can be. For example, someone might bring a tablet that doesn’t adhere to a Bring Your Own Device policy to the workplace. Any unsecured devices that aren’t company-approved could expose your network and data to danger. It’s estimated that just over half--54 percent--of employees use these devices to access company data, whether it’s email or other important files.
A Virtual Private Network Helps Tremendously
Of course, the best way to make sure your business doesn’t expose data while you’re using devices outside the safety of the office is to use a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN works by masking the data while it’s traveling to and from your device, encrypting it so that it remains as safe as possible from any and all threats. While the data is encrypted, if it is stolen or spied on, the interloper will only be able to see a jumbled mess of data rather than anything concrete, protecting the integrity of it. While businesses are starting to see the sense in using a VPN, only about 55 percent of users are currently doing so. This is a number that can be improved on if you can emphasize the importance of cybersecurity awareness with your staff.
White Mountain IT Services can help your organization stay as secure as possible while out of the office, no matter where your business takes you. To learn more, reach out to us at 603-889-0800.