Security on the move: protecting devices and data outside the office

More employees are working away from the office than ever before, yet attitudes towards security risks remain lax. If companies don’t put in place measures to keep data secure, there could be costly repercussions, says Nicholas Banks at Imation

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By Guest on 11 February 2015
Security on the move: protecting devices and data outside the office

This article was first published in the Winter 2014 issue of OnWindows

Recent research conducted by Vanson Bourne in partnership with Imation indicates that nearly two in five people have ­either lost or had a device stolen in a public place themselves or know someone who has. Three quarters of these devices contained work-related data including confidential e-mails (37%), confidential files (34%) and customer data (21%). And around one in ten lost financial data or ­access details such as login and password information, potentially exposing even more confidential information to the risk of a data breach.

For employers, supporting remote and flexible working is an ongoing challenge, particularly when it comes to providing secure access to corporate networks. Yet, while many already have the technology in place to make remote working a viable option, what they often overlook are the accompanying security and data protection measures required to minimise the amount of sensitive data leaving the company, and reduce the risk of a significant breach.

Despite the fact that in many countries there are laws in place that give authorities the right to issue big fines for serious data breaches, employees and employers still have lax attitudes about the security risks of remote working. Nearly half of workers stated that data is never encrypted when taken out of the office, three out of ten respondents admitted they do not protect their data with passwords, and nearly one in ten who take digital files outside of the office did not secure them at all.

While almost half of UK respondents believe that keeping work information secure is the equal responsibility of both the employee and employer, the uncertainty surrounding accountability and responsibility confirms the need for businesses to ensure that their employees have the necessary tools to work flexibly and securely. With over a quarter of respondents in organisations that have a security policy admitting that they have broken their company’s security rules or policy in order to work remotely, employers need to educate their employees on the importance of data security, and update systems and policies, so that they cannot be violated and disregarded.

Companies need to provision staff with the technologies and secure processes to work flexibly and securely, making certain they have the necessary policies in place to protect their assets. Data must be encrypted, passwords must be protected, and they must be confident that if a device is considered to be compromised, they can remotely lock it down, or initiate a self-destruct sequence to remove and protect the data.

Nicholas Banks is VP of EMEA and APAC sales for Imation’s IronKey solutions

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