Towards safer flexible working

When discussing ‘flexible working’, there has been a lot of focus on how to ensure people remain productive outside the office and what systems and software to use. But there are other considerations too.

Paul Smith, Senior Risk Management Consultant - Travelers UK

As a regular commuter, I’m staggered by the number of people on the train with laptops open or material spread out on the table in front of them. It surely wouldn’t be too difficult with a Google search and a few covert glances to figure out who these people are and what they’re doing.

We must encourage vigilance outside the office

In particular, we must overcome our false sense of security when working in public. It’s a bit like the wild west, both in terms of what people can physically see and what they could access by hacking into the systems of those who are tapping away on their laptops, oblivious to the threat.

Too many people have this mindset that the office has all the kit needed to keep them safe and that no one will be looking over their shoulder. And at home too, when disposing of work documents, what do they do with them? Is there a process?

Security is everyone’s responsibility

Once outside the controlled environment of the office, employees must exercise their own control. These days, all organisations hold large amounts of data on individuals and clients which can be as valuable as money to criminals. So, we need to make people aware of the importance of good cyber (and general information) hygiene.

Obviously, the IT department should ensure that the business’s systems are protected as far as possible. However, I think there needs to be company wide awareness about this issue. In particular, businesses need to realise that data protection is as much about individuals as it is about IT.