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Managing the risks when employees work from home

The Workforce Heads Home 

Whether you’re employed by a large corporation or a small business COVID-19 has inevitably impacted the way you work. And where you are physically when you do that work may top the list.  As the days go by the number of remote employees  remains high with some 42% of the U.S. labor force currently working from home. According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the share of working days spent at home has increased fourfold from pre-COVID levels. Medical research validates these precautionary actions and the overwhelming sentiment is our positive rates would be higher yet had we not taken them. So it’s safe to say that working from home is beginning to look like a reality we may need to get used to. 

At the beginning we were hopeful, giddy even.  We’d sleep later, avoid rush hourand rock elastic waist pants 5 days a week.  It was good….in the beginning, before we realized it also came with its fair share of downsides.  Communicating was harder, collaborating more challenging and the day to rules we lived by were stripped from us.  It all happened so fast and with very little warning.  And just like thawe found ourselves managing the change. 


How Working from Home Puts your Sensitive Information at Risk 

Working remotely, regardless of occupation, automatically places you and your business at higher risk for information security threats. Here are just a few ways we thoughtlessly provide access to our sensitive business information when we work from home:  

  • No VPN protection when using Wi-Fi 
  • Incorrect disposal of sensitive paper documents 
  • Sending work emails to personal email accounts 
  • No protection software to encrypt data 
  • Transporting computers and files between the office and home 

 Unfortunately, not many small business owners (SBO) or major corporations were ready for the pandemic and subsequently there was no plan.  Creating policies and platforms and obtaining the proper hardware and software was top of mind, but the crisis exposed yet another vulnerability: what is the plan in case of a data breach and how is this changed based on our remote workforce?   


What to Include in Your Data Breach Protection Plan 

If you or your business do not have a data breach protection plan you should highly consider formulating one. Implementing company policies in case of a breach will save you and your business time, money and sleepless nights. Companies should train their work from home employees on what exactly the data breach is and how precious their data is regardless of where it is located. An important and often overlooked issues is how employees are maintaining and disposing of confidential information from home. Create a policy within your data breach plan that addresses how everyone will handle sensitive business paperwork from home. Set clear expectations for information security at all levels including hiring a trusted IT advisor to monitor suspicious activity. Finally, update and communicate the plan regularly. In order for it to work properly there must be clear communication and buy in at every level. Make it very clear to your team on what documents need to be shredded!

To learn more about Shred Vault’s solution to the secure paper waste destruction by remote employees call or email us today.

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