Staying Secure Outside the Office

Staying secure in the office is relatively easy. Sure, you have to be vigilant, but you have a whole team of IT pros, you have office protocol and guidelines, and network security to keep you safe and sound. Once your employees step out of the office, it's a whole other story. Here are a few of the top security risks outside of the office, compiled from research papers and tech security blogs across the web:

Stolen Phones

This is going to disappoint you: leaks don't always involve a saboteur in the company, and hacks don't always involve a team of cyberpunks in black leather jackets. A huge chunk of sensitive data is leaked simply because an employee left their phone on the table when they went to the restroom at a coffee shop. Even if your employees know better than to be so careless, public WiFi brings its own security risks. When it comes to the really sensitive stuff, it's a good idea to enforce a company policy that will keep that data where it belongs: on secure, in-office hardware.

Out of Office Notifications

An employee gets a message and their text chat program automatically responds "Out of the office, be back later!" These notifications are great for personal computers, but announcing to the world that your work laptop is on, and unguarded, is like putting a sign up on your front door reading "On vacation, please don't break in and steal our silverware!" Turning company computers and devices all the way off when not in use will prevent would-be hackers from breaking into unmonitored equipment.

The Disgruntled Former Employee

Once an employee is not only out of the office, but out of the company and off the payroll, what do they have to lose by sharing sensitive information? Well, quite a lot if you make sure that all employees sign a non-disclosure agreement before they begin working for you. If you keep your turnover rate low by hiring only the best candidates, and if you make an effort to part on good terms when ending a relationship with an employee, you'll have a bit less to worry about, but the non-disclosure agreement at least gives you some recourse should a former employee go out of their way to make your life a little harder than it needs to be.

By all means, keep your data safe and secure. Hire the top IT people to handle encryption and manage your data center. Just bear in mind that hackers tend to be kind of low-tech and opportunistic, just as quick to snatch a laptop off a coffee table as they are to spend weeks cracking your email password.
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