Working from anywhere, keeping your files in sync and staying secure

Large, modern enterprises strive to achieve maximum productivity, so it’s no wonder most take advantage of the flexibility provided by remote working. People working from home or in places like coffee shops, hotels and public transport has become normal.

If you work in the information security industry, chances are you’ve experienced work outside of the office: working on the airplane on your way to a client, checking in on the status of your project while attending a conference, or you might work from home at least one day every week like 70% of people around the globe, according to a study released by serviced office provider IWG.

As the cybersecurity skills gap shows no signs of closing, it’s not uncommon for companies to run teams with team members and security personnel located around the globe. Two-thirds of IT, security and other nontechnical employees said it’s difficult for their organization to find qualified cybersecurity professionals. That’s why, to meet the changes of today’s fast-paced threat landscape, remote work for infosec professionals is not just a perk, but also a necessity.

What about your files?

Depending on the size and scope of the organization, the IT infrastructure can vary substantially. But however it may be structured, the network has to allow both in-house and remote workers to access, edit and share an assortment of files.

Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile and does not use just one workstation. Far from it: we rely on laptops, tablets and smartphones to access and modify work-related information on a daily basis, so, file syncing for an uninterrupted workflow is essential.

But before starting to work remotely, the worker should make sure that they abide by the policies set by the security department of their organization. It’s imperative to follow all procedures carefully in order to minimize any risk of data leakage or data theft.

The advantages provided by the cloud

Having files securely available in the cloud and accessible at all times has a few major advantages.

First off, you always have access to the most recent version of any file, and you can preview it and edit it by using different devices and platforms. Secondly, you can allow access to others, which enables an entire team to work on the same file. Thirdly, you can share your files quickly, with anyone, from any device. And last but not least, offline file access makes work possible even in situations where there is no Internet connection, like when you’re on a plane on your way to a client.

I would advise on setting up a separate folder for sharing files with individuals outside of your organization. Make it part of your workflow to check this folder periodically and remove any files that don’t need to be shared any longer. This way you’re not inadvertently leaving files exposed to outside unidentified access.

Security considerations and advice

Constant access is very beneficial, but it comes with risks. When you’re on the move, file syncing potentially exposes your data in several ways. This is why you need take some precautions:

1. Practice cyber hygiene and keep all your computers and software up-to-date. It’s the first step towards keeping your data well-protected.

2. Your mobile devices can be lost or stolen, it happens every day. Lock all your devices using biometrics and/or a secure passphrase.

3. Refrain from using public Wi-Fi networks. Instead, take advantage of your own data connection or use a mobile hotspot. If you’re in a situation where using a public wireless network is the only viable option, always encrypt your connection.

4. Even if your devices are locked tight and you’re using your own connection, it’s still good practice to encrypt your content at rest, in motion and in use.

5. I know that sometimes working fast, on the move, can lead to bad decision making, but there’s one crucial point to keep in mind – never mix your personal and business files, always keep them in separate accounts. You might not even realize it, but putting non-business files on a corporate network might violate your company’s rules.

It’s easy to get complacent about security for the sake of convenience, but adopting these simple steps will reduce the risk exposure for your files.

The cloud and the future

Despite security fears, the advantages of cloud computing are undeniable: cloud services allow businesses to work faster, collaborate more easily, and scale quicker than ever before. So, the cloud option is definitely here to stay.

What’s more, IT departments in many companies are opting for a cloud-first strategy, which states that new projects should use cloud technology first, instead of solution located on-premise. According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, vendor revenue from sales of infrastructure products for cloud IT, including public and private cloud, grew 48.4% year over year in the second quarter of 2018, reaching $15.4 billion.

At the same time, keeping the data in the cloud secure should not be an option, but an imperative, especially because an estimated 21% of it is sensitive.

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.

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