With today’s modern and sophisticated technology such as slim and fast laptops, smartphones, tablets and programs such as Skype and FaceTime, today’s employees are no longer married to the five day, 40 hours a week of being in the office, working at a desk. Rather, they can have the flexibility of working from home, sometimes even as a full time set up because these days if your company is based in LA but you live in New York City? No problem! Simply telecommute.According to Nemertes Research Group, an Illinois-based research advisory firm, as many as 71 percent of U.S. companies offer full-time or part-time telecommuting to employees. As with anything, this modern convenience can come at a price for companies. The issue at hand? The security of sensitive and confidential information when employees are allowed to work from anywhere at any time. Additional research from the Center for Democracy and Technology has shown that people tend to place the issue of security on the back burner for more urgent needs; such as the ability to be able to log into their company’s network via an unsecured Wi-Fi network in a place such as Starbucks or Panera. While trying to be productive and get the job done, employees do not realize that hackers pray on these networks and place devices such as password sniffers. In addition, some employees are very lax with their company-issued devices and allow their children to install games, instant messaging and other applications which can set up a system for outsider threats.
· Companies can run interference and try to avoid issues through taking the following measures:· Have clear rules about use of company devices: no personal or family use· Have strong encryption in place so information travels securely· Have rules in place about where to store company issued devices: Do not leave them in an unsecured place vulnerable to theft, such as in plain sight, in your car.While not foolproof, education is key and having rules in place goes a long way in protecting sensitive information while allowing employees much needed flexibility.