Putting remote work security to the test

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Millions of people around the world have been advised to work from home to reduce their chances of contracting or passing on the coronavirus. But for many organisations this will be a first-time experiment with home working on a wide scale and the hasty changes made by many IT departments are carrying significant risks. In China, where remote work policies are historically uncommon, the remote collaboration tool Zoom saw a single-day increase in downloads of 15%. 

While remote working has been growing in popularity, many organisations don't have the technology in place to cope with mass remote working. Not only is the spike in home workers putting a burden on technology infrastructures, but it’s also bringing considerable new threats to data security. While some employers might worry about the logistics around remote working, the larger concern is actually securing the proprietary and business-critical data modern organisations rely on. Outside of the corporate network, devices are easily susceptible to attacks from third parties and cybercriminals. Attacking these unsecured endpoints can reveal the employee’s login credentials to cybercriminals so they can access the company’s system, or even use ransomware to lock company data – which happened to the NextCloud service last fall.

Solutions that are built to deliver secure file sync and share give organisations the flexibility to enable employee collaboration and productivity while giving the IT department control over the protection of company data. File sync and share technology is designed with the modern professional landscape in mind; a landscape where workforces rely on multiple devices and location flexibility in order to maximise productivity. File sync and share gives organisations the power to share files across multiple devices and with multiple people using file synchronisation – allowing files to be stored in any approved data repository and accessed remotely by employees from any of their IT provisioned devices.

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Here are some of the ways that secure file sync and share technology protects and empowers businesses:

Secure File Sharing – It’s well known that when a file sync and share solution isn’t provided, employees will often resort to using their own personal devices and tools. Because these tools and devices exist outside of the control of IT departments, they’re inherently not secure and put sensitive company data at risk. With secure file sync and share, employees can easily share and access company files while IT maintains the privacy and security of the data.

Easy Anywhere, Anytime Access – Organisations are beginning to see the workday less as a clock-in/clock-out office environment and have adopted an environment that supports the various schedules and lifestyles of their employees. With secure file-sync and share, employees are no longer constrained to a single corporate-owned device to be productive.

Data Loss Prevention and Disaster Recovery – When corporate data is centrally stored, it’s better protected against data leakage. This includes data lost to a cyberattack, employee error, or a lost or stolen device. With an enterprise-grade file sync and share solution, sensitive corporate data is kept secure and protected.

Easy Collaboration – File sync and share services are adapting to not only protect company data but to aid in remote workplace collaboration. Some tools now provide users with tools to preview and edit files in-browser, search and find specific company documents and versions, and keep all employees on the same version of a document.

While global emergencies such as the coronavirus outbreak may highlight the benefits of having a secure remote work policy in place, the use of secure collaborative tools should be understood as part of a larger cultural shift. As more organisations adopt remote work policies, the IT teams, and MSPs that service these companies should adopt secure file sync and share solutions.

James Slaby is Director, Cyber Protection at Acronis

James Slaby

James R. Slaby serves as Director, Cyber Protection at Acronis, where he focuses on the conjunction of IT security and data protection. Prior to Acronis, Slaby was an industry analyst covering IT security, cloud computing, and networking at Forrester Research, HfS Research, Yankee Group, and The Info Pro. With over 300 published IT research reports, he has been quoted in The Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and countless tech publications. Slaby has also held campaign, solutions, vertical and product marketing roles at a variety of tech vendors, including Sonus, Acme Packet, Bay Networks and Motorola.