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Summer Holidays? Tips to Maintain Data Security When You Work

Posted July 15, 2014 by Lynn Brown

It’s a given today that when employees go on vacation, many pack their work tablets and smartphones alongside their bathing suits and flip-flops.

Vacation time is still connected time, according to the September 2013 iPass Mobile Workforce Report

“Mobile workers aren’t uplugging when they go on vacation,” stated the executive summary. “In fact, the majority (91%) stay connected wherever they go just so they won’t fall behind while they’re away. More than half continue regular daily project work while they’re on vacation and log in several times a day.”

Of course, technology has everything to do with the mobile workforce and the blurred line between professional and private lives. The wireless internet, smartphones, laptops, and tablets have made it easy to work from home – and the beach.

iPass research has also shown that mobile workers carry an average of three devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones. Commenting on findings, Chris Witeck says that many users no longer have to carry two smartphones  (a work-issued device and personal device) – because BYOD (bring your own device) policies allow a single device that is used for work and personal reasons. 

So while employees remain productive outside of the office 24/7, the downside is that they can access corporate data from anywhere. This increases the risk of data breach incidents… and has created a whole new area of information security policies.  

Here are some tips to ensure the confidential business information employees work on outside of the office remains secure.

  • Create a culture of data security in your workplace with a clear Bring Your Own Device policy.  (Ponemon Institute research – the Acronis 2013 Data Protection Trends Research survey – shows that almost 60% of IT professionals had no BYOD policy in place.)
  • Utilize the latest computer protection such as proper encryption and firewalls on all portable devices. Ensure files, laptops and internet connections have password protection with activated security settings and firewalls.
  • Provide employee training about information security best practices outside the office. For example, when working in public places such as coffee shops or parks, don’t leave anything behind in a non-secure location such as a recycling bin, garbage can, or restaurant counter.
  • When leaving the office before a vacation, only take confidential documents that are absolutely necessary whether in hard copy or electronic form.  Transport information in a secure manner.
  • Be very selective about printing out confidential information from laptops or other computers outside the office.
  • Implement a shred-all policy to ensure all documents are securely destroyed whether working in the office – or the cottage. Speak to your document shredding partner about how vacationing employees can do this securely.  

Learn more about data security outside of the office and how working remotely can add another layer of risk to security.


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