Data Risks Involved with Employees Working from Home

Companies that send employees home with proper safeguards face challenges, but those relying on uncontrolled employee-owned phones and computers to get work done “are sitting ducks.”


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work from home notepad laying on desk


The coronavirus has affected the workforce in many ways. One of which is the increasing amount of employers requiring their staff to work remotely, or work from their homes. This week, thousands of additional employers will likely follow suit until concerns about the contagion ease, according to the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM). The association says most employers may have rushed into making their decision without thinking through how to secure their most sensitive data.

Here are some tips on how to keep company data secure:

  • Sign out and track all IT assets that are being taken home. 
  • Make sure solid firewall and passcode protections are in place for accessing company systems.
  • Consider requiring employees to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) about the data they will have access to outside the office.
  • Provide education and training to employees about how to responsibly manage their equipment and the company’s data.
  • Monitor employee data use and other remote practices.
  • Tighten up the reins on “Bring Your Own Device” practices. 

If data is not secured, the list of potential problems that can happen is long:

  • Companies will have little or no information about the devices being used to conduct company business. 
  • Companies that do not require their workers to operate remotely through a virtual private network (VPN) will be relying on personal Wi-Fi systems that may be entirely insecure and/or already corrupted. 
  • The longer employees are working remotely in a vulnerable state, the bigger a target they may become for phishing and other attacks. 
  • Data on personal devices (outside the reach of a company or government agency) likely will remain there when the employee returns to work. 

For more information about the advice given here, visit the IAITAM website.