The corona pandemic played a pivotal role in accelerating the digitalization process in the business world and created an environment, in which independence and flexibility are becoming increasingly important. Hybrid working models and the concept of "remote-first" are in great demand on the job market. While this transition clearly presents many new possibilities, companies need to stay aware of any potential dangers arising from employees being involved in work processes on the go. Whether it is an urgent phone call regarding new project plans while getting a coffee, a quick reply to a customer's inquiry or a brief update of an important Excel chart on the train. The optimal protection of sensitive data should take top priority since outsiders could overhear something or read along at any time. It is therefore imperative to raise your employees' awareness of security risks.
Don't speak out – less is more
If possible, business calls concerning confidential information should be avoided in public. After all, confidential or personal information should not get through to the wrong people, and it can never be ruled out that, for instance, an employee of the competitor is in close vicinity. Yet, many people make their business calls on the go since it cannot be avoided in certain situations.
If the business call cannot be rescheduled
- Be sure to be as brief as possible on the phone.
- Do not speak confidential data out loud.
- Try to encode sensitive data as much as possible. You can abbreviate or paraphrase the name of a person or company or find a pseudonym for your projects.
For example: "Mr. P. at company L.".
Laptop and mobile phone – our constant companions
A train ride is not only a good opportunity for making a phone call. Commuters and business travelers in particular use the travel time effectively to complete important tasks. At the same time, sensitive information should be shielded from view at all costs.
- When working on your laptop, you should “isolate” yourself from other people as much as possible. The fewer people there are in your immediate surroundings, the better. For instance, sit with your back to a wall in order to shield your work from unnoticed glances.
- Use a special privacy screen protector to ensure that the person next to you cannot read the content on your screen.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections – especially within public networks – could possibly be unsecured. Use secure connections only and forward sensitive data exclusively via trusted networks. Additionally, you can secure the transmission via a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
- Beware of theft: Of course, it is easier for laptops and mobile phones to go missing in public than at the office. You should therefore always lock your devices – even if you are only taking a short break from working on them.
- Whatever happens, you should always avoid taking business-related documents with you unless there is a valid reason to do so. It is not uncommon for documents containing sensitive data to be left behind on the train or in a café.
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