A mobile workforce can bring many benefits to an organization: cost savings, access to a more diverse or skilled talent pool and flexibility. However, from an information security standpoint, there are serious risks associated with remote, teleworking mobile employees.
A Growing Issue
The number of mobile workers throughout the world continues to increase exponentially. According to a research study by Strategy Analytics, more than 40% of the global workforce will be mobile by 2020 and in more highly developed economies such as North America and Europe the number of mobile workers will be closer to 75%. At one time, the term remote workers referred solely to sales reps or field technicians. Now, employees in nearly every industry work remotely – either from a satellite office, home office, shared workspace or various “on the road” locations such as an airport lounge. Telecommuting is not exclusive with small companies and start-ups either – large firms such as AT&T started pioneering telecommuting as early as the mid-1990s. Mobile workers are not just limited to the private sector – even the U.S. military utilizes remote workers. U.S. Army General Dennis J. Reimer recently described to Harvard Business Review his daily online communications (via laptop and secure email and online chat) with hundreds of officers throughout the world.
A Multitude of Threats
Whether mobile workers are utilizing a company-issued device or a personal BYOD device, there are several issues worth addressing from an IT security standpoint. Stolen devices containing downloaded sensitive files present a serious liability. Similarly, weak passwords or out-of-date software or applications can provide an easy entry for bad actors into the corporate network. Organizations with a mobile workforce often rely on various collaborative tools as a means to improve communication and efficiency. These tools range from messaging apps to document sharing software, video conferencing technology and project management platforms. While essential for maintaining productivity in a decentralized group, these third-party tools represent a very real risk when they are integrated with devices that are accessing the corporate network.
Cyber Defense for a Mobile Workforce
Organizations that take a proactive approach to cybersecurity have found great benefits from employee cyber defense training. This has helped raise awareness among mobile workers and addressed the many issues associated with weak passwords and out-of-date apps and software. As added security measures, many organizations also prohibit the use of public WiFi and rely on expensive custom VPN endpoint security solutions. Unfortunately, these added measures can hamper productivity and also result in increased costs. Expensive custom cyber defense solutions are not reasonable for many organizations, as they will negate much of the financial benefits associated with a mobile workforce. Additionally, there will likely be significant pushback from workers to any solution that is too complex or cumbersome, making its use difficult to enforce. In order to be accessible to the wide range of organizations that employ a mobile workforce, an effective cyber defense solution must be:
- Commercially available, off-the-shelf
- Easy to set-up and deploy, even by non-technical users
Attila’s GoSilent is an ideal security solution for a mobile workforce – it fits in the palm of your hand, may be used with any IP-enabled device (e.g. laptop, mobile phone, IoT equipment) and deploys instantly. GoSilent offers Top Secret level security – Attila’s GoSilent Client and SilentEdge Enterprise Server is eligible to be used as an IPSec Virtual Private Network Gateway component in a CSfC solution (more information can be found at www.nsa.gov). There’s no need for a team of specialists to set-up and configure the device, its just that easy. Learn more about how GoSilent’s next generation technology can lock-down your company’s network while providing secure access for your mobile workforce.