Secure remote working: From short-term fix to long-term value

  • Posted on April 28, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Secure remote working From short-term fix to long-term value

This blog was written by Arno Zwegers (Netherlands Security Lead), Bart-Jan Bosch (Netherlands Modern Workplace Lead) and Rhesa Baar (Netherlands Security Consultant).

Almost overnight, organizations around the world have seen a surge in the number of employees working from home. But how can businesses enable productive remote working on a massive scale while maintaining high levels of information security?

It’s often said that people are the weakest link in security. And right now, they’re more vulnerable than ever. Your employees are looking for ways to share information and collaborate, but they may be unaware of the security risks. They need the guidance, training and tools that will help them make the right choices.

Empowering your people to protect your information
It’s not about blocking what people are doing – it’s about gathering insight into how people are already collaborating, and then giving them the tools and knowledge to do it in a secure manner.

By conducting fast risk assessments to establish the state of organizations’ data leakage protection (DLP), you can quickly determine various DLP risk factors, including:
  • How people are currently working from home
  • What tools they’re using
  • What security they have on their devices
  • How and where they’re sharing information
  • And who they’re sharing it with

With a complete profile of employees’ remote working practices, you can tailor communications to each employee to encourage and empower them to work with colleagues and third parties securely. We’ve found that the whole process generally takes around two weeks to complete.

And when organizations don’t have remote collaboration tools in place, we help them rapidly deploy Microsoft Teams as an intelligent collaboration hub to cope with the huge growth in demand. As part of this process, it’s vital to implement a governance framework to ensure data is only accessible to the right people and the sudden influx of data into Teams doesn’t lead to long-term leakage issues.

A long-term strategy for a short-term challenge
Quickly fixing security vulnerabilities in your remote working setup is important. But, by taking a more strategic approach to this tactical challenge, you’ll find opportunities to enhance collaboration in the long term.

Insight into how your people share information can be a valuable strategic asset. When the dust settles on this crisis, that insight can help you create governance and data lifecycle management policies that balance security and compliance with collaboration and productivity.

Nobody could have predicted the huge increase in remote working we’re seeing. But the way we’re working now is quickly setting remote collaboration as the norm, so finding the best ways for your people to work together securely – wherever they are – is vital. The businesses that set up now to make the best use of the right tools will prepare themselves to thrive in the future: more agile, more productive, more innovative, and more secure.

You’ll be able to respond faster to emerging business opportunities, knowing you already have the governance, compliance and data lifecycle management in place to enable productive and effective collaboration.

Empowering employees is a continuous process
Teaching your employees to use collaboration tools effectively and securely isn’t a one-off task. When you’re taking a strategic approach to supporting remote working, it’s essential to have a framework for continuous learning.

That’s why we work with our clients to:
  • Identify the gap between employees’ current way of working and the desired way of working
  • Guide employees toward the desired security behaviors with personalized learning paths offering bite-size training on specific topics
  • Monitor individuals’ progress and adjust learning paths if necessary

It’s a continuous learning approach that mirrors what we do within Avanade. All of us are continually trained on security as end users. For example, we send phishing emails to our employees to see if they respond, then we send further scam emails after training to see if it was effective. If the training hasn’t worked, we devise new learning paths tailored to individual needs.

Start building your empowerment strategy today
Of course, like any strategic initiative, effective remote working is about more than just technology. So, we’re working with clients to help them plan and execute strategies for secure collaboration that cover everything from leadership to user adoption.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you empower your people to work together securely – right now, and into the future – connect with me here: Arno Zwegers or Bart-Jan Bosch

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