A fresh piece of research has pointed to the dangers of having staff members working away from the office on mobile devices, in terms of not having the correct policies in place to ensure the security of a business.
Shred-it conducted a survey of US-based small business owners and C-level executives in larger firms, finding that in the case of the former, 58% of SMBs have at least some employees working flexibly and away from the office at times.
However, the vast majority of these, 68% of small business owners, have failed to implement an information security policy for off-site work environments and flexible working. Thus these mobile workers could be putting crucial company data at risk when they're working from a remote location.
Larger businesses were actually worse, although only a tad at 69% of C-level executive respondents indicating that their firm doesn't have such a policy in place. And of course these organisations are much more likely to have staff working out of the office, with 92% of them having at least some employees working off-site.
It's not a very pretty picture for SMBs or bigger businesses, then, and things could get considerably uglier with more and more staff working flexibly in the future. The report noted that it's estimated that there will be 105 million mobile workers in the US by the year 2020, and of course the UK is likely to follow a similar pattern.
All businesses should have policy points in place for mobile workers, and Shred-It outlines some simple guidelines including advising employees not to leave devices lying around in public places or vehicles, and to ensure devices are password protected and that data is encrypted. Companies should also place limits on the type of documents and files which can be taken away from the office on a mobile device.
Obsolete hard drives should also be securely destroyed, and the survey found that only 37% of SMBs wipe their own hardware in-house (if you're sending hard disks away to be wiped, there's always a chance precious data could fall into the wrong hands).
- Read why every single employee must take up arms in the battle for data security