Protecting Mobile Workers

October 5, 2018

Meeting Growing Employee Expectations About Off-site Security and Safety

The mobile workforce is growing rapidly, at a rate of 10x the growth rate of the workforce as a whole.  Marketwatch projects that within the next few years as much as 50% of the U.S. workforce could be remote. This trend is certainly not limited to the U.S. Globally, 70% of working professionals report working remotely at least one day a week, as reported by CNBC, in a study focused exclusively on full-time employed individuals vs part-time workers, contractors and freelancers. Cloud-based technologies are the central component driving the move to more remote work. It’s also interesting to note that the typical remote worker is over the age of 45, college educated, and earns over $65,000 a year.

Remote workers unquestionably have expectations that their work will be supported by the latest productivity tools and mobile technologies. But, it’s important that employers of mobile workers consider the security and safety of offsite work environments.

Data Privacy and Security for Remote Workers

It’s probably no surprise that data privacy and security is of primary importance to mobile workers and their employers.  Employers have a vested interest in making sure that all information shared online is secure. With the increased likelihood that employees are using the same connections and devices for personal and work related communication and activities, it’s very possible that a breach in an employer provided portal or channel could also result in unintentional exposure of an employee and perhaps the employee’s household’s data and personal information. The average website is subject to 44 hacking attempts a day, as reported by TECH.co this spring.

To protect your organization and your employees, establish strong security guidelines and communicate them in training manuals. Remote workers actually tend to be more compliant with security best practices because they are less likely, when compared to counterparts working in an office, to be led astray by the negative examples of co-workers.

A VPN is essential to drive all employee activity through a secured network, but employers should be careful to consider data security issues for mobile workers that might impact compliance with GDPR. Review tips on how GDPR impacts remote workers here.

Safety Concerns for Mobile Workers Who Travel

Having a more mobile workforce today often means workers are traveling more frequently to visit corporate offices or to call on clients. Best practices to ensure the safety of a mobile workforce should start with a basic understanding of where mobile workers are during the workday. Only 37% of employers currently maintain accurate records of where employees are expected to be during work hours. Having a solid communication strategy in place is essential to providing protection for mobile workers. Consider these statistics as reported by Security InfoWatch in a recent study, Safety and Security for Business Travelers, Lone and Remote Workers:

  • 25% of employers survey had a remote worker in the proximity of a workplace violence event in the past 12 months,
  • 20% had a mobile worker in the vicinity of a terrorist attack within 72 hours of its occurrence, and
  • 84% had a remote worker impacted by a location-specific adverse weather condition in the past year.

Employees have an expectation that their company will keep them informed and safe, whether they are traveling or just working remotely and 83% of employers agree. Today companies are focusing on two key areas to improve mobile workforce safety. 65% of organizations have a plan in place to communicate threats and deliver instructions to employees faced with a threat and 49% provide annual training on how to respond during a threat. What’s missing for many organizations is the ability to tie it all together. Most companies lack a way to both reach out and communicate a threat and also receive back intelligence on the safety of their mobile workers.

Solutions to Support a Mobile Workforce

With a suite of solutions designed for today’s growing remote workforce, Asure Software can help your organization meet the challenges of supporting mobile workers and managing a modern workspace.