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Data loss prevention during home-working

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Alex Blackwell (27943125)

How can we protect corporate data while working remotely?

Alex Blackwell replies

Working remotely, especially for organizations with no pre-existing remote-working experience, will increase the vulnerability of data. Many data-protection strategies focus on company networks and are therefore restricted to office perimeters, meaning that many devices will lose most of their protection and compliance policies once they are outside of the workplace. Employees, freed from the restrictive policies of company networks, may also slacken their security practices and endanger the data they take home with them.

One way of ensuring that data protection policies remain in place even when employees work remotely is to apply them on the endpoint, through deploying a data-protection agent directly on the devices rather than at network level and centrally managing them from a cloud portal. This ensures policies will stay active no matter where the devices are located. This is ideal, especially for companies that have had no time to configure a Virtual Private Network (VPN), meaning employees will have to use their own private Wi-Fi networks to connect to the internet and corporate applications.

Given the rapid state of emergency, compliance has taken a back seat with considerations surrounding employees’ wellbeing and the need to continue business operations remotely taking priority. This instinct to overlook data protection goes against the fundamental principles of data-protection legislation such as GDPR. It means that data protection is no longer an afterthought that companies can choose to incorporate in their strategies, rather one that needs to be at the foundations of business operations.

Tools like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions applied at the endpoint level can support remote compliance through their focus on special categories of data protected by data-protection legislation as opposed to the overall devices the data is stored on. By applying policies directly to sensitive data, DLP tools help companies monitor and control the transfer and use of personal information remotely, ensuring that it is not sent outside the company or uploaded to unauthorized third party services.

Encryption is also an essential part of secure remote working, ensuring that if devices are stolen or lost while outside the office, the data cannot be accessed or removed from them. Many computers come with native encryption tools, and companies are strongly encouraged to request that their employees use them.

The Redcoin team are on hand to discuss Data Loss Protection with you in greater detail.

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