Why Security is So Critical for Your Mobile Workforce

Wednesday August 17, 2016

In today’s workforce, the concept of the traditional 9-to-5 desk job is undergoing a swift transition. Modern businesses recognize there’s a fundamental shift toward a more flexible workforce, in which mobile workers make up a growing proportion of the payroll.

While this introduces a wide array of benefits for businesses across many sectors, there are also hurdles that each organization has to overcome to ensure they’re putting together a solid mobile worker strategy.

At the top of the list is likely data security. According to recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, there was a 38 percent increase in security incidents between 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, incidents involving the stolen “hard” intellectual property grew 56 percent in 2015.

The average total cost of a data breach reached more than $7 million, according to a 2016 report from the Ponemon Institute and IBM. At the same time, the average expense associated with each individual compromised record is $221 – due to impact on customer or client relationships, as well as technology and legal fees.

Where Do the Security Issues Exist?

According to research from document destruction firm Shred-it, 92 percent of corporate executives and 58 percent of small-business owners indicated they have at least some of their workforce that have a flexible or an off-site work setup. However, just 31 percent of the C-Suite and 32 percent of small-business owners have an information security policy in place.

This can leave mobile workers vulnerable to numerous security issues that can be avoided with strategic policies aimed at curtailing theft of confidential information, including intellectual property and other sensitive data.

With mobile workers specifically, there are a number ways sensitive information can slip through the cracks. ComputerWeekly highlighted the fact that many of today’s cyberattacks are aimed at smartphones, tablets, laptops and USB drives. At the same time, it’s important to consider the security implications of working over public Wi-Fi networks.

Businesses should also be considering information security through their printer networks. According to Quocirca, 60 percent of enterprises indicated they’ve faced a print-related data breach. There’s no question that the printing landscape has become more sophisticated, with increased reliance on printers and mobile devices to capture and transmit information. This includes scanning, printing hard copies and faxing documents. Over shared networks, it’s increasingly important that only authorized users are able to use the various printing and scanning features that make them more productive in a remote environment.

How to Protect Your Data

For mobile workers, there are a number of fundamental guidelines to follow to reduce the risk of a data breach while working on the road. First, it’s always a best practice to avoid sending sensitive information over public Wi-Fi. Whenever possible, use a corporate VPN, or a virtual private network that connects mobile workers to a secure internal network. Finally, be certain that email connections are always encrypted and each password is unique for all accounts.

Businesses can avoid many security issues with mobile workers through the use of the right technology that not only makes remote workers more productive but more secure as well.

For instance, Cartridge World partnered with Samsung to develop PrintWorld™, a mobile printing app that gives remote and telecommuting workers the ability to print and scan documents securely over public Wi-Fi networks across the U.S.