Remote working is often at the beating heart of creative businesses. It makes sense. Around 1.5m UK workers work from home, and they’re thought to be 10% more productive than their office-based counterparts. For creative projects – film and TV production, for instance – remote and flexible working helps small businesses temporarily expand their workforce, move where needed, and keep pace.
It’s obviously not all good. Remote working requires a culture shift. Structure and communication are still essential – even if team meetings now happen over Skype or Microsoft Teams. But, far above staying in touch, the single biggest risk of remote working is data breaches.
The cybersecurity pitfalls of remote working
Not all employers provide workers with secure and efficient tools for online communication. The result can be a complex web of potentially sensitive information on multiple channels.
Then there’s the hardware issue. Traditional workers are usually issued laptops, desktops and phones with specialist security software, which can be controlled and monitored by organisations. Remote workers and freelancers are often fully responsible for their own cybersecurity. Personal data often blends with corporate data, as remote workers are more likely to mix work and home life on their devices and in cloud apps, where work may also be stored. When workers leave a project or business, removing sensitive data – production files for TV, for instance – is incredibly hard to police.
Simple steps your remote workers can take
It’s impossible to make things 100% secure. Still, creative businesses should stay on top of any relevant security concerns for their ways of working. There may also be an element of compliance as part of a supply chain – we wrote about Netflix’s partner security protocols recently. Here are three things all your remote workers should do now:
Keep everything in one place and you reduce complexity, the risk of mixing personal and corporate data, and the number of places you have to defend. Make sure all your workers keep all work-sensitive data in one secure cloud location – and not saved to individual devices. Added bonus: collaboration and productivity should be higher when everything is stored and shared in just one place.
Beware coffee shop wifi
Remote workers are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime, mainly because many opt for unsecured network connections in cafes or other public spaces. The obvious solution is to use a virtual private network (VPN) where all transmitted data is encrypted. Using a third-party corporate VPN also allows you to quickly apply security patches and identify breaches fast.
Nail the basics
How many of your staff might be using ‘password123’ to log in to your systems? Your cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. Unfortunately, that link is probably a worker that uses the same easy-to-guess password for everything. It’s seriously worth reminding your workers – freelance or otherwise – how to set strong passwords. Better still, add two- or multi-factor authentication to your corporate systems – Office365, Slack and Teams all have this option.
We’re the creative digital workflow and secure storage specialists. Based a stone’s throw from Soho and the West End, we work with small businesses in film, TV and the creative industries to keep their data safe, compliant and stable. Get in touch to find out how we can help.