With the USDA’s recent announcement about developing a plan for new remote work options, a broader shift to flexible workplaces may be imminent within the government sector. Given the large amount of sensitive and proprietary information being discussed and shared within these agencies, adequate security and monitoring measures must be in place before leaders move forward with any remote work plans.
Why does remote work pose more security risks than the traditional office environment?
The concept of remote work, or as I prefer to call it, “work from anywhere,” has been present long before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. In fact, many organizations were alerting business models to better support remote work with the adoption of virtual collaboration platforms and the pandemic only further accelerated this shift that has become the new digital workspace. The sudden shift to remote work heightened the need for organizations to enable effective communication through various collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, RingCentral, Cisco WebEx and more. Modern collaboration tools support features like cameras, chat sessions, whiteboards and other applications to provide an easy outlet for data and information to be shared. As a result, this has also increased the likelihood of sensitive information being exposed. This widespread adoption of team messaging and collaborating using technologies like videoconferencing have left companies vulnerable and unprepared for the bevy of conduct and information security risks inside the communications within these collaboration tools. Many corporate infrastructures were built in an era where email was the primary mode of electronic communications and are not prepared for the new reality of multi-faceted communications. Security and compliance practices and the supporting technology must consider new risks in our workplaces which are now dominated by information-sharing inside collaboration tools.