Using Cloud Technology Solutions to Enhance Remote Working Security

Cloud Technology Solutions

Remote and hybrid working, where staff spend some days in an office or formal environment and others at home, have swiftly become the norm since businesses and employees experienced the benefits and cost savings of flexible working structures during the pandemic.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 44% of workers spend at least some of their working hours at home, while 16% work exclusively from home – equivalent to over 14 million people who work partially or only from a home office or device.

While there are numerous advantages for companies who have worked quickly in developing applications to manage workflows and remote communications, maximising the efficiency of their processes, there remains one big potential problem – cybersecurity.

The Key Importance of Digital Security for Devolved Workforces

Hybrid, remote or flexible working is largely welcomed, where businesses enable their employees to make decisions about the times of day they work, the hours they complete each day of the week, or the ways they engage with their colleagues. Studies have shown that staff are often more productive, and more satisfied with their professional lives when they have autonomy about the way they work.

However, the issue for so many businesses is that a single employee working from home might mean their security risks increase substantially due to factors like:

    • A lack of control over BYOD devices
    • Logging into secure systems from a remote network
    • Staff using unsecured Wi-Fi connections
    • Issues around file sharing and data transfer controls

We often speak with clients who need to find ways to support improved productivity while protecting sensitive data and ensuring colleagues working remotely can continue to communicate with their supervisors and managers without putting sensitive information at risk.

Cloud technology offers an excellent solution as a way for companies to pivot their digital infrastructure to a safe, highly controlled environment that is ideally suited to remote working. Depending on the systems and software you use, a cloud-based set-up can host everything from workflows to virtual meeting applications and resources, rather than having confidential data accessed remotely from a third-party workstation outside of the building.

How Cloud-Based Solutions Slot Into Remote Working Environments

Cloud technology solutions have evolved rapidly in recent years as the needs and requirements of businesses adapt to a new working culture, incorporating evolving tech like artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop more responsive, reliable security controls.

A study commissioned by the Google Cloud platform found that 85% of IT leaders believe that the cloud offers enhanced security compared to an on-premise data management system, providing a computing environment that overcomes potential limitations of physical in-house infrastructure.

There are many reasons that cloud technologies help to improve data protection and access controls:

    • In-built encryption adds to cybersecurity safeguards, particularly when colleagues are accessing confidential data from an external location. Continual analytics ensure that files or information circulated to and from remote staff or databases remains protected, where a successful breach would access only encrypted data.
    • Device management features can assist in ensuring that a device used by a remote colleague, such as a laptop or smartphone, can be wiped remotely if it becomes damaged or lost. Data or passwords saved on the device can be thoroughly removed through a cloud security dashboard.
    • Adjustable access permissions enable business administrators to manage access to certain databases, applications or networks, granting permissions only to those aspects of systems that each remote worker requires to carry out their role.

Additional functions such as real-time data monitoring offer excellent cost-efficiencies, at a fraction of the amount a company would need to invest in real-time in-house security surveillance – ensuring supervisors and managers have the assurances that allowing staff to work remotely will not result in any compromise.

Cloud Technology, Remote Working and Data Protection Compliance

Just as the trend for remote work has grown significantly, so too have the regulations that organisations must comply with, both here in the UK and across Europe. Legislation, including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, require businesses to adhere to strict rules around the way they collect, store, manage and access personal data.

Cloud services are often pre-configured for data privacy or can be adjusted to meet the needs of the specific company and requirements specific to its trading sector. These tools help businesses to control access to sensitive data and demonstrate full compliance – irrespective of whether staff are working from home some or all of the time.

These features are particularly relevant to businesses in sectors with higher levels of regulation, such as financial services providers and healthcare organisations.

Facilitating Any-Time Secure Access to Business Systems

Depending on the way the business manages employee time, staff may have the freedom to choose when they log in, or might, for example, work in early mornings and in the evenings to accommodate child care requirements.

While in a conventional set-up, the nature of any-time access might pose a security issue, a cloud system is wholly flexible. Employees can log in, authenticate their access permissions, and use tools and databases at the time of their choosing without the complications linked to on-premises data centres, which are often inaccessible during maintenance downtime.

During time-sensitive projects, the system administrator can adjust the access controls as necessary, extending or limiting access to certain parts of the system or network. This process helps to ensure that very sensitive data is robustly protected, and is only accessible for restricted periods, and when needed to complete tasks or projects.

Finally, cloud technology is entirely scalable, where businesses that have shifted to remote working structures can extend their data storage requirements as necessary to enable staff and teams to transfer data quickly and securely.

Remote workers can access software or solutions from any device, with new applications rolled out across remote teams to reduce unnecessary overspend or investments in hardware where legacy data storage devices are no longer fit for purpose.

For more information about how cloud technology provides a solution to creating improved cybersecurity across hybrid, remote and flexible working teams, or about the benefits explored here, please contact the Jera team at any time.