As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses found themselves making the transition to a working from home environment for the very first time. And, some businesses are considering closing offices for good, opting for employees to WFH (Work From Home) as a cost-saving measure.
The problem with shifting to a remote work environment was that many businesses did not have the technical infrastructure in place essential to supporting their workforce being on a WFH basis.
In many cases, remote access systems were only configured to support a small percentage of a company’s employees vs 100% of them. Also, many employees had a limited WiFi capability at home which was not sufficient when it came to sustaining extended, vigorous connections with systems in their offices. Networks became overloaded and connections were dropped which resulted in all sorts of issues for companies and their WFH employees.
Such a sudden and widespread change is not without risks, some of which are significant, including:
- Data privacy and security flaws on public WiFi networks
- Coronavirus-themed phishing attack
- Difficulty in protecting sensitive intellectual property
However, companies can take steps to make sure that important business information created or acquired by WFH is collected and properly secured by the company, thereby protecting business assets against cybersecurity risks.
Making it Work While Keeping Your Data Safe
Protecting business data and creating a safe environment for WFH employees is essential when it comes to safeguarding business assets and mitigating the risks to confidential information. Many employees are having to connect their personal devices to their employer’s network in order to download what they need, but then disconnect to perform the majority of their work while offline. Upon completion of the work, it’s uploaded or distributed to the company’s network.
In light of this, it is crucial that you survey employees about their information management practices when working from home and then provide the appropriate instructions for them to follow based on their responses. Questions should include:
- Do you store any work-related materials on cloud storage sites?
- Do you upload and properly secure all work-related materials processed on personal devices onto the company’s file management system?
- Do you erase all copies of such material from your personal computers and other devices?
- Do you delete any email or text communications that relate to company business from home devices or web-based communication accounts? How do you dispose of hard-copy printouts of business information?
Additionally, you want to survey employees about third-party access to personal devices and review any company policies that apply to computer use, intellectual property, using their own devices, and WHF.
Giving your Chief Technology Officer (CTO) the Support they Need
You should provide your employees with clear guidance on how best to manage WFH during these challenging times. This initial guidance, developed by your CTO (Chief Technology Officer), as well as increasing security can go a long way to making sure that your company can continue reducing risk to business assets while retaining the flexibility necessary to maintain business operations during the pandemic and into the future.
At the Jeffrey M. Verdon Law Group, business asset protection attorney, we’ve been successfully advising business owners on asset protections methods tailored to meet their unique business situation for over 30 years.