Whether your company has just one outside road warrior or a fleet of travelling workers, it is imperative to manage their mobile technology wisely. Not only will they will be more productive but also your company data will remain secure when everything is correctly managed while on the road. If your field people are not technically inclined, it is even more important to provide the correct level of support while outside the office.
Prime examples of road warriors include salespeople who are away from their home base for days at a time such as engineers traveling to far-flung worksites and healthcare workers visiting client homes. According to recent studies up to 55 percent of inside employees also use work applications from outside of the office. Many of these functions require access to sensitive information to perform their duties. This increases the need to analyze the requirements and configuration of their mobile devices to ensure sensitive data remains accessible and confidential. The issues people face when away from the office are not all solved by creating and following a BYOD policy as there are many more performance and security issues that must be considered.
What kind of run-time do your mobile devices require for a typical work day? Can they stay on all day, go into sleep-mode when not in use or should they always be completely shut down when not in use? It is important to protect both the data integrity and security no matter what power situation the remote worker may face.
Your employees may work directly with clients while on the road, so connectivity must be sufficient and consistent. Unreliable communications due to poor connectivity can lead to client frustration or lost business. Investing in fast and secure mobile wireless routers from a reliable cellular provider is critical. Connecting via an encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network) every time will ensure the privacy of your data. If signal strength is an issue, investing in a signal booster may provide a good payback. In a pinch, a backup connection can be created using a smartphone that can tether to a laptop or tablet.
Most employees spend time inputting or accessing data while onsite and may be tempted to use an unsafe public Wi-Fi system. This choice can be extremely risky because it might not have proper security in place to block infiltration of your network. Also beware of new mobile security threats such as Video Jacking that permits someone to watch a duplication of your video screen.
Today’s remote communications security requires more than simple passwords. Just using passwords doesn’t provide a high enough level of security for confidential communications. Multi-factor solutions prompt employees to validate their identity by using an additional passcode from their phone or a fob when logging into the office network remotely. Using a multi-factor authentication solution guarantees the right people are accessing the right information without losing credentials.
Monitor, monitor, monitor, and then do more monitoring
Intrusion detection systems are now a requirement to protect your mobile communications. Gone are the days of just deploying anti-virus on your devices and calling it a day; it’s simply not sufficient and easily defeated. Your mobile endpoints are bound to be compromised at some point, so you need to monitor for unexpected behavior that can signal a breach. Several solutions do a great job of reporting on not only suspicious activities, but also the activities that preceded and followed those flagged by the systems. Monitoring also allows you to confirm that your mobile workforce is following your overtime policy around use of texts, emails and other activities outside of their working hours.
Losing laptops and portable office equipment to theft is regrettably common. Apart from the equipment cost, having to report the loss of data can be crippling to your organization. The ultimate protection from physical theft is to make sure that strong encryption is installed and enforced on all drives. In addition, you can use remote device wipe software to delete all data on a mobile system once it reconnects to the internet.
With a few precautions and targeted training, it is possible to protect your outside staff at the same level as inside workers. Start now to make adjustments in your policies and procedures to improve productivity and prevent data breaches.