Remote Work & Redefined Operational Realities

In Data Lineage, Governance, Information Management by clairvoya

Get The Visibility You Need For The Future Of Remote Work

At the recent remote AWS Summit, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, declared, “The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digitization of businesses and ushered in a new era of technology… It is my assertion that in 2020 and beyond, most organizations are going to be transforming into a completely cloud-based environment, where any workers can access any application or service from anywhere at any time.”

Cue audible gulp.

Many companies, including social media giants Twitter and Facebook, have already announced permanent work-from-home options in response to the pandemic. With the rest of the office-occupying workforce expecting this new “operational reality” to be made permanent for them as well, those responsible for ensuring they understand what’s going on in a remote work environment and that it’s secure are being challenged like never before.

According to the Brookings Institution, “Up to half of American workers are currently working from home, more than double the fraction who worked from home (at least occasionally) in 2017-18.” With that swift and unexpected shift, many employees are left with no choice but to spread out on their dining room table, hope they can stay vigilant with required security processes, and pray their home network can comply with company requirements.

Additionally, work-from-homers are now increasingly being targeted by bad actors. A recent New York Times article stated Russian hackers are exploiting the sudden change in American work habits to target many of the United States’ largest companies. And, as the volume of sensitive data accessed outside the typical office environment rises, concerns over data security follow closely behind.

Given that remote work is the new norm and work-from-home fraud on the rise, many industry leaders are left asking, “How can I better secure my remote infrastructure, protect my company’s data, and enable employees to get their jobs done?”

One surefire way to ensure your organization can persevere and thrive in a remote environment is to know the answers to these 5 questions! However, you can also start by having the right insight and control over the following three areas:  

Know What’s In Your Data

You can’t protect what you can’t see. Understanding what data is being accessed and where it is being stored will go a long way to knowing how to best protect it. And, you can’t effectively ensure compliance with GDPR, CCPA, and other new privacy regulations without full visibility into your data environment.

According to a recent interview with Clairvoya CTO, Phil Richards, the majority of CISOs would be shocked to know the type of data their organizations are storing and where it’s being stored. Something as simple as customer social security numbers living in an open Word document on your employee’s laptop can create unknown risk and exposure. Couple that with a connection to a poorly protected VPN network (or, even worse, home wifi) and it’s a recipe for disaster. Knowing what’s in your data is the first step to designing an operational reality ready for the future of remote work.

Understand Its Flow

Today, while information security technologies are commonplace, the unfortunate truth is that companies are using them in ways that don’t actually protect against the risks they’re trying to prevent. That’s because those tools are put in place without understanding how the data being used actually flows.  While work from home and remote work policies on computer and internet usage can help, the only way to significantly mitigate risks in a remote environment is to understand how data flows through your organization so that you can put controls where they need to be.

One way to architect a remote-friendly environment is to consider a solution that focuses on data lineage. By understanding how data has changed, where it’s moved, and who’s accessed it along the way, you can make sure that you understand your company’s new operational reality and its related risks. Then you will be better equipped to target your real areas of need.

Ready to Respond

It’s simple. If sensitive information is breached or unlawfully shared, can you immediately identify the compromised data and notify the appropriate parties? Can you delete all personal data or provide its full history upon request?

Consider this – 2,000 UK adults currently working from home revealed in a recent survey that 24% ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ consider data protection policies when sharing information with colleagues. Even more unfortunate, 72% of participants in the same survey said they need to access and share sensitive customer information as part of their job.

Make sure you have the tools in place to identify needed information, quarantine content, delete records, and provide data on demand. Having the tools to quickly react and respond is just as important as understanding the data itself.

Ultimately, with statistics like these, gaining visibility into and redefining your operational reality has never been more critical to the health and safety of your data. Remote work is a challenge, but an obstacle modern companies can overcome with the right tools, resources, and processes in place.