Tips to Remain Secure & Compliant During a Transition to a Hybrid Working Model
Remote work and hybrid working models are relatively novel for many organizations, bringing about many benefits for employees but many potential risks as well.
Pre-2020, working from home was quite rare and, for many, a privilege. Digital nomads have been remaining productive whether from the comfort of home or on a sunny beach in a tropical destination for quite a while, but the global pandemic has ushered in hybrid work from home and hybrid working models for a massive segment of the population.
To give some context, the percentage of employed people usually working from home in the European Union (EU27) averaged around 12.3 per cent in 2020. This is a massive increase over the previous statistics from 2019, whereby only 5.4 per cent of people employed in the EU27 usually worked from home. Some believe that the most recent statistics are indeed much higher than 12.3 per cent, potentially as high as 25 to 40 per cent, depending on the industry, country, and other important factors.
In any case, the trend is clear as day: hybrid working models and work from home schemes are replacing the traditional office at an incredible rate.
How are organisations adapting to this trend? How are organisations maintaining security and compliance when all of their employees are scattered across cities and countries, often internationally? Below are some tips to remain secure and compliant during a transition to a hybrid working model.
Maintain an Accurate IT Asset Register
Do you know where every IT asset is located at this very moment? Before 2020, your IT asset register might have included hundreds or thousands of devices located on-premises in your office, with perhaps a much smaller list of devices approved for use outside of the office. Nowadays, this latter list has overshadowed the former with devices being located in private homes of employees or wherever they choose to work, which could be in your city or another country.
Keeping track of all of these disparate IT assets is crucial, now more than ever with hybrid working models in place. Maintain an accurate, up-to-date IT asset register so that you always know where every device is located. Even a single mobile phone that goes unaccounted for can lead to a serious breach of sensitive data.
Increase Remote IT Support
The importance of Remote IT has come under the spotlight during the pandemic, with labour shortages, government restrictions of freedom of movement and mobility (i.e. lockdowns), and a massive increase in demand for online services from clients all playing vital roles.
The ability to provide timely and effective support remotely within organisations has been kicked into high gear, with many organisations responding with increased investment into remote IT support. From simple solutions such as remote video conferencing to remote infrastructure management (RIM) solutions for data centre services, remote IT is more important than ever.
Remote work data protection is another key consideration, especially in terms of compliance and security. Regulations such as the GDPR in Europe and the UK haven’t gone away; if anything, the importance of GDPR and other data protection regulations have only been emphasised by the shift to remote working models.
To wit, ensure that all employees are adequately trained on the importance of data security and compliance wherever they may be working to promote working from home safety. This may include VPNs, working only from approved corporate-owned IT assets (not personal devices), and having robust password protection and email encryption, for example, to better protect corporate data.
Already since before the pandemic, many organisations had already begun a great migration from traditional data centres to cloud-based services. The pandemic only helped to accelerate this trend. While there are many potential security benefits for organisations that choose to migrate data to cloud-based solutions, some security and compliance risks may open up that are worthy of consideration.
One major risk comes not necessarily from the cloud-based data storage itself but rather from data centre decommissioning. The entire process of shutting down a traditional data centre, including the removal of network gear and hard drive disposal opens up vectors of attack for cybercriminals.
This major risk requires the assistance of reputable, trustworthy IT asset disposition (ITAD) providers to safely and securely perform data destruction such that all sensitive data is rendered irretrievable. Furthermore, secure data destruction should also be fully auditable and compliant, including the issuance of data destruction certificates in the event of an audit.
Foster Clean and Effective Cyber Hygiene Practices
The 2021 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results found that although 75 per cent of respondents felt that cyberattacks and cybersecurity posed major security concerns within organisations, as many as 44 per cent of respondents felt that they lacked the cybersecurity skills and knowledge to adequately respond to a threat where it to occur.
Hybrid work schedules most certainly pose a unique set of challenges in this regard. Not only are IT assets now largely decentralised across geographic locations, where some may be prone to cyberattacks through home internet networks, but the ability to respond and contain any potential threats has become more complex. This point is related to the previous one regarding remote IT support; quick and effective responses are urgently needed to isolate cyber threats to organisations, no matter where employees or their devices are located.
Can Hybrid Working Models Remain Secure & Compliant?
Since at least the start of the pandemic, most of us have been incentivised to maintain good hygiene by disinfecting our hands before entering shops or at home. Is your organisation taking the proper precautions to maintain cyber hygiene during the transition to hybrid working models?
Security and compliance matter more than ever during these times of transition to hybrid working schedules and work-from-home for millions upon millions of employees worldwide. Organisations can and should take precautions to uphold their commitments to security and compliance, especially when it comes to data and IT assets.
Holding an accurate IT asset register and offering better remote IT support, cyber hygiene, and secure data centre decommissioning services – these are all key elements of maintaining security and compliance with data protection regulations, data disposal laws, and for protecting your organisation from the growing threat of data breaches.
How Can Wisetek Help?
Here at Wisetek, we can help manage your IT assets, including laptops and monitors, within a hybrid working environment worldwide. Our Remote IT Solutions include IT Asset Recovery, which is guaranteed to be fast, secure and has additional benefits. Once collected at an agreed address, our team will review, clean, and catalogue the IT assets in our facility. We then report to you the make, model and serial number and securely store the device where it will be ready for redeployment.
Our IT Asset Redeployment Services includes a full audit to report any hardware configuration and faults, and HDDs are wiped or destroyed with Blancco wiping software. We will also issue a Certificate of Data Erasure. Lastly, a decision is made regarding the future of the asset: will it be redeployed, used as parts, or recycled in line with environmental regulations.
Our user-friendly RetunTek portal allows customers to request an IT service solution and to manage the collection, tracking, and reporting of IT assets worldwide.
Get in Touch Today
For truly global, secure data destruction and efficient ITAD services, look no further than Wisetek. Our sustainable, secure, and cost-effective solutions can help improve your organisation’s commitment to environmental stewardship whilst thoroughly ensuring that any sensitive data on end-of-life IT assets are rendered completely irretrievable.