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3 facts about remote workforce security you need to know

How to start thinking about enterprise security solutions that support remote access.

March 20, 2020

3 facts about remote workforce security you need to know
In the last several years, enterprises have realized that enabling remote workers leads to a more productive, competitive workforce. With multiple mobile devices, remote workers can simply do more. Picture an employee using a smartphone to videoconference with colleagues to collaborate on a document that they’re editing on a laptop, while keeping an eye on sales numbers on a desktop and staying up to date on urgent emails using a tablet. The employee doesn't have to be anywhere near a desk or work during normal business hours to achieve this, either. In fact, according to research by iPass, remote workers put in 240 hours more a year than non-mobile employees.
 
In addition to productivity, remote work solutions support business continuity by ensuring employees can work even when they can’t physically access the office. But a remote workforce also creates security concerns that a more traditional enterprise may not be prepared to handle without the guidance of a knowledgeable VAR. Here are three facts you should know when consulting with customers.
 
1. When it comes to the remote workforce, enterprise security is a top concern.
Multiple research reports and analyst firms confirm that security concerns are the biggest hurdles to remote work and BYOD. Nearly every organization handles at least some sensitive, confidential, or proprietary data, and enterprises in certain large sectors also must comply with strict and sometimes confusing data privacy regulations. Mobility and BYOD increase the number of potential attack surfaces for a cybercriminal to exploit. You'll need to reassure your customers that you're up to the task of helping them secure assets like customer payment card numbers, bank account data, or protected health information (PHI). Get up to speed on technologies like mobile device management (MDM), enterprise mobility management (EMM), data loss prevention (DLP) and client-side data encryption.
 
2. Remote access is a key issue.
A remote workforce is, above all, mobile. That means a rethinking of corporate network access. To enable employees to remain productive anywhere, anytime, organizations must provide secure remote access to the applications and data they need to do their jobs. Failing to ensure security poses a grave threat given the pervasiveness of shadow IT: enterprise end users' tendency to adopt consumer-facing SaaS applications without IT approval when they're locked out of needed enterprise resources. Solving this issue will, in some cases, demand improvements to the VPN. In other cases, it may require a migration of certain resources and applications to a private or public cloud.

3. Enterprises aren't investing enough in security.
These technologies will go a long way toward securing the remote workforce and the data it handles, but not all (or even most) enterprise IT decision-makers have shown themselves willing to greenlight enough budget for such purchases. Persuading your customers to invest more in security for remote workers will require clear communication of the consequences of a breach. Among the most serious consequences are public embarrassment and brand damage, lost revenues, and hefty fines. 
 
Remote workforce security is a critical component of an organization's overall security posture. To learn more, contact your Ingram Micro security team at cybersecurity@ingrammicro.com.