Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more employees are working from home – and remote collaboration presents a unique as well as ongoing set of challenges. Not only must remote employees have real-time access to one another, they also need to access the same files and data they would if they were in the office. This data access must be both seamless and secure, which is additionally challenging when workers are logging in from their homes and personal devices.
Remote workers also have to comply with all the same governmental and industry regulations as on-premises staff. Most companies and organizations are subject to various state and federal laws as well as a variety of industry-specific regulations – and non-compliance, even if inadvertent, can be costly. The Ponemon Institute estimates that the cost of non-compliance, in terms of fines, revenue and productivity loss, and business disruption, can range from $2.2 million up to $39.2 million. That doesn’t change just because you have more employees collaborating from home.
How can your organization ensure secure and compliant collaboration? It’s a challenge, but made easier if you embrace the right strategies.
Best Practices for Secure Collaboration and Compliance
Maintaining security and compliance while collaborating remotely is difficult. There’s no single solution that can ensure total security and compliance, but rather a set of best practices that your organization needs to embrace.
Understand Your Data
Before you can secure your data, you need to understand what data you have and where it is stored. Undertaking a data security audit is a good first step in ensuring secure and compliant collaboration. You need to answer the following questions about the data with which your staff will be collaborating:
· What type of data is stored?
· Where is the data stored?
· Who has access to what data?
· What data is necessary to ensure regulatory compliance?
Create a Compliant Collaboration Strategy
For your employees to collaborate in a compliant manner, they need to know what rules to follow. Chances are, most employees are unaware of your compliance obligations and may unwittingly compromise your organization’s compliance. It’s important, then, to create a compliant collaboration strategy that details the following: what documents can be shared, both internally externally, and who the team can share them with.
Control Data Access with a Zero-Trust Model
Naturally, access to sensitive data needs to be controlled, especially when multiple staffers in multiple locations are collaborating using that data. You need to control who has access to specific types of data, and even individual documents. Employing multi-factor authentication is a good idea to strengthen access controls and reduce the risk of data breaches.
Access can be further strengthened by employing a zero-trust model. Zero-trust means that no individual or type of user gets automatic access to data – literally, no one is trusted by default. Instead, access is given solely based on the need to use specific data. No user, device, or IP address is given access until verified and authorized. Zero-trust is especially important when you’re dealing with collaboration between remote workers.
Strictly Manage Compliance
Data security is essential – and so is regulatory compliance. You need to take several steps to manage compliance across your entire organization, especially among collaborative teams:
· Create a compliance strategy that details who’s responsible for compliance management
· Circulate instructions that all employees have to follow to ensure compliance with specific regulations
· Employ software tools to monitor and ensure regulatory compliance
Choose Collaboration Solutions with Strong Security
The most effective and efficient way to ensure both compliance and data security is to choose a collaboration platform with strong security, such as Wickr. You want a platform that is both easy to use and secured against data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber intrusions. The best collaboration platforms employ end-to-end encryption to ensure that no data or communications can be intercepted in transit. They also are designed to be compliant with all major standards and regulations.
Create a Company-Wide Focus on Secure Collaboration and Compliance
Beyond these best practices, it is essential that you work to bring company-wide attention to the issues of security and compliance. Make sure that all employees know the importance of maintaining a security-focused mindset and are aware of the necessity of ensuring regulatory compliance.
Senior management also needs to have a focus on security and compliance, and be willing to invest in the resources necessary to ensure both. That means investing in both staff and technical resources, such as a secure collaboration and communications platform. Make sure senior management are aware of the cost of cyberattacks and regulatory noncompliance – it costs far less to prevent incidents than it does to recover from them.
Ensure secure collaboration and compliance by downloading Wickr, the collaboration and communication platform secured by robust end-to-end encryption.