Managing remote work has become a serious problem for companies all across the world. Moving the operations to a mobile-based workforce with workers using the business data via their mobile devices is not something all businesses are comfortable with. However, most businesses are carefully and slowly introducing remote work policies for their organizations. In the ideal scenario, all these companies have to build dependable network resources and make sure that their employees are safe and are using uninfected devices. Most businesses have to deal with this issue because they were not prepared for it while others were partly ready with their remote workforce preparations.
Risks involved due to exposure of sensitive data to a new remote workforce
Business managers at the moment are busy trying to keep the employees connected. Opening up the cloud-hosted project files, their servers, and directing the employees toward the right software for the remote work from home is taking up most of their time. The hackers would not have sat quietly during all this and the risk is higher than it has ever been. The business networks stand unexpectedly exposed at the moment. A lot of sensitive data is going through an unsecured wireless network. This is providing opportunities for hackers.
Security measures for controlling the risk of sensitive data
Here are some measures to control the risk of exposing sensitive data while dealing with remote workers.
1. Classify the documents to be shared in remote workflow
The first step in the process is identifying what documents are at risk. Identify the portions of your network where the employees are accessing the cloud-hosted documents remotely. These files used to be behind a network firewall but they are exposed these days. You must be aware of all the documents and gateways that are open to remote employee access. The reason is that if an employee can access them it is possible for the hackers as well especially when the remote access plans are not fully implemented. You need to prepare a catalog of places where the sensitive data is shared and may get possibly exposed.
2. Convert the sensitive data into read-only documents
You are never really needed to expose the sensitive data required by the employees to work with concerned documents. Some of these documents have to be live for team collaboration such as shared projects. Sending large files can be one of the problems facing the network experts. You need to obfuscate the various files containing sensitive data by separating the data from the shared documents referencing it. Identify the particular sensitive data and disassociate it from the files having its reference. Concatenate the sensitive data into read-only and private documents and protect it with a higher degree of security than other project files. Never expose sensitive data directly. It is a good idea to take that additional time to pull the sensitive data from the protected area.
3. Encrypt and defend the isolated documents
After you have isolated the documents containing sensitive data you need to defend it to the best of your IT capabilities. Build a referral system so that it keeps the sensitive data inside the encrypted tunnel and just the connected and authorized employees can access the data. Maintain the sensitive data files on a professionally secured server that is capable of resisting the hacker techniques. The key to this defense lies in encryption. Even if the hacker is successful in penetrating the defenses of your remote work, he will not be able to use the data and files he manages to steal.
4. Scan the active documents regularly for sensitive data
Although you have already gone through scanning and securing the vulnerable documents, the employees are required to create and alter the files they are working on. In the process, they may add sensitive data to the documents or develop separate docs for their use or regular work procedure. Sometimes they may misunderstand the new system and place the sensitive data in plain text while using shared documents. You need to scan the remote shared documents all the time for sensitive data. If you find any, change it or secure it.