September 11, 2018

Why Your Organization Needs a Remote Work Policy Today

Remote working is when employees do work tasks outside of the office, at home or somewhere else, and use smart phones, laptops and other technology to connect to colleagues and teams.

While there are benefits for employees (remote working eliminates commute time and supports family commitments) and the workplace (it increases productivity, business and the ability to attract top talent), there are major security challenges too.  

The 2018 State of the Industry Report by Shred-it found that 86% of C-suite executives and 60% of small business owners (SBOs) said that data breaches are more likely to occur when employees are working out of the office.

There’s also a lack of practical work guidelines for those employees. Only 35% of SBOs have a policy for storing or deleting confidential data remotely, and 54% have no policy whatsoever, according to the Shred-it report.

Here’s why every organization should have a comprehensive remote work policy.

INCREASING REMOTE WORKERS: Most large businesses in the United States (87%) and Canada (89%) and almost half of all small businesses there, reported using flexible or off-site working models, according to the State of the Industry report. In the United States, statistics have shown that since 2005 there has been a 115% increase in the number of employees who work from home at least half the time.

RELIANCE ON MOBILE EQUIPMENT: Research showed that in 2017, 29% of surveyed organizations already had experienced either a data loss or breach as a direct result of mobile working. As many as 44% of companies expect that mobile workers will expose their organizations to data breach risks. 

POOR WORK HABITS: The 2018 Cost of Insider Threats Global study by Ponemon showed that a careless employee or contractor was the root cause of most reported incidents (2,081 of 3,269). While falling for phishing scams, using easy-to-guess passwords and engaging in social media can occur in and out of the office, employees are often more distracted at home by kids, pets and other activities and obligations.

RISING COSTS: In terms of total annual costs, employee or contractor negligence represents the most expensive insider profile. Most incidents in the Ponemon research were caused by insider negligence and each of those incidents could cost up to $283,281. Since 2016, the average number of incidents involving employee or contractor negligence increased from 10.5 to 13.4.

In response to these risks, Shred-it is launching a new remote work policy and makes the following recommendations.  

  • Update the workplace security policy, and add a chapter that is dedicated to remote workers.
  • Develop a secure Remote Work infrastructure, and keep all technology up-to-date.
  • Teach employees to protect all digital and paper documents as well as all devices. For example, keep sensitive information locked away, securely shred paper documents when no longer needed, and dispose of old hard drives correctly.
  • Do not share devices with friends or family.
  • When transmitting confidential data, never use public Wi-Fi.
  • Develop a breach notification process so employees know what to do and who to call. 

Start Protecting Your Business

Click HERE to learn more about how to develop a Remote Work Policy for your organization.