Safeguarding data in the hybrid era
Ian Jones, Director of Operations at Matrix Booking discusses data security, risks and regulations in the realm of hybrid work
As hybrid work models become the new norm, businesses face a complex set of challenges, particularly regarding data compliance and security. Whilst managing remote teams has become more refined in recent years, there is something that threatens this way of working.
That threat is unseen, unsafe and unsuspecting.
It’s a digital danger that comes in the form of sensitive data loss, cyber-attacks and data breaches, each one looming ever larger in this evolving working model. The stakes are high.
Therefore, business leaders must understand that compliance and security controls must be equally effective to protect any business and its people, irrespective of where the work is done. And with hybrid working models relying on digital technology, there’s an urgent need to safeguard confidential information.
So, how can this be addressed? How can businesses stay ahead of the threat? Well, the first hurdle lies in managing data security for hybrid teams.
The challenges of data compliance
A key concern is the diverse locations and devices from which employees now access and handle sensitive information. In a traditional office environment, 65 per cent of business managers find data protection easier when all employees work in the office, as it can be centralised and controlled to a greater extent.
However, in a hybrid work model, employees can access company data from their home offices, coffee shops or even out travelling. Control is reduced. The endless possibilities of work environments now increase the potential risk of unauthorised access to sensitive data. And remote working already makes it harder to spot phishing email attacks, let alone more serious security breaches.
Employees, however, still need the freedom to collaborate, share files and access information seamlessly without compromising the confidentiality of sensitive data. Therefore, investing in the right resources is key, particularly as 87 per cent of users say they would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices.
With the introduction of the new Data Protection & Digital Information (DPDI) bill – an update to the UK’s data protection framework that focuses on protecting individuals’ data rights – organisations must adopt a more proactive approach if they’re looking to avoid substantial penalties. It’s an opportunity for them to implement robust compliance measures for hybrid working, providing better protection in our digital landscape.
The steps to a safer workplace
To effectively navigate data compliance challenges in a hybrid environment, businesses must adopt a set of best practices that prioritise data security and privacy. One of the most important is training employees on data handling. Around 80 per cent of data security incidents are caused by staff errors, so appropriate employee training and refresher sessions are crucial to an effective data security policy.
From there, establishing clear guidelines for remote access and communicating this to staff will help further reduce risks as data breaches pose a unique threat to remote working. In fact, breaches cost over £1 million more on average when remote work was considered a factor in the event. One common solution is multi-factor authentication systems that add an extra layer of security when logging in or even the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) can create secure connections when accessing company resources remotely.
Finally, business leaders should turn to technology to identify security gaps and implement necessary improvements, utilising secure resource collaboration tools and software to keep data safe. Leveraging software that offers built-in security features, such as end-to-end encryption, secure file sharing and secure communication channels will protect confidential information with ease.
A unique way to protect data
As digital technology accelerates, security transformation must follow suit. As staff access and communicate data in a hybrid model beyond corporate firewalls, organisations must adapt. The traditional “castle and moat” security model used within office premises is no longer sufficient.
Enter the likes of resource booking software.
This technology offers a new way of maintaining compliance whilst providing other valuable benefits. Using resource booking software for hybrid workers to reserve desks, equipment or other necessary tools not only ensures more efficient management of resources and staff’s time but it also safeguards employee data, including names, contact information and booking history.
Imagine a centralised booking software system that provides greater control over the data the business collects. Resource booking software simplifies the handling of information of visitors – or those staff booking desks and rooms – and securely stores details externally. In addition, the automatic purging of data after a specified period, is particularly efficient in helping organisations to remain compliant.
Enhancing security and privacy also becomes easier with a standard anonymisation feature of the software. This is a higher level of data protection where older bookings can be completely anonymised, stripping away sensitive data and personal information. This leaves only essential information that can be used to better shape resource allocation decisions, all whilst fortifying data security measures.
More importantly, resource booking software can provide transparency and accountability, as it can maintain a trail of activities related to employee data, such as details of bookings, modifications and access attempts. This helps businesses see exactly who accessed sensitive data, when and where, giving them an advantage over the digital threats lurking in the shadows.
Ensuring a more secure future
For remote work to be sustainable in the long term, business leaders must conduct comprehensive audits of their digital security and make strategic investments to fully ensure a more digitally secured future.
By understanding and implementing effective data strategies, organisations can navigate the complexities of data compliance and safeguard their sensitive information. And resource booking software has emerged as a practical tool for organisations that are striving to perfect their hybrid working policies when protecting data. It helps them navigate the evolving challenges of data compliance and maintain the highest standards of data security in a dynamic and evolving work environment.
The risks are clear. It’s high time to put the right controls in place for a safer digital future.