In a study conducted in 2019, over 60% of people participating in the survey revealed that they worked remotely or while on the move. In the same survey, over 80% of the participants stated they worked remotely sometime in the past. Over 50% of the participants further revealed that they were looking to work remotely in the near future.
In today’s scenario, the physical location of where your employees conduct office operations may no longer impact the productivity of your business. But regardless of the environment that the world will see itself in short, the number of remote workers or traveling executives is likely to increase.
And then there are third-party associates, vendors, clients, and stakeholders who work for the company or could be associated in some form or other without having to work within the office perimeter. These entities may require access to your information and documents in the same manner that your employees would. Most organizations rely on insecure and inefficient data transmission methods such as VPNs to provide secure access to vendors and third-party associates. But such systems could be ineffective in thwarting a data attack and do nothing to control how a document can be used (e.g. edited, printed, copied, etc.) by an authorized user.
And while there is greater flexibility in coordinating and collaborating with employees and third-party associates remotely to ensure productivity, this could often come with colossal data security risks.
Given the rise of remote employees, it is vital to keep in mind that data stays secure regardless of its state. Only in few cases are remote workers’ privileges provided. Some employees who work outside the organizational network may require access to a smattering of business data. In contrast, others may need to obtain crucial business information regarding sales figures, marketing information, payroll data, human resources information, and more. Similarly, external IT service providers who offer helpdesk services may also require access to information as the ones used by internal IT departments. All these contain sensitive and confidential content that must be safeguarded regardless of where it travels.
Here we look at different types of remote workers that require privileges to access confidential documents, data and systems, and how digital rights management can help you to provide secure access to crucial information and control over how it can be used.
IT security employees working remotely
Team members, including network administrators, domain administrators, IT executives and others who generally use critical internal data systems from within the company may be required to do so remotely when traveling or working outside office networks. In this case, organizations must identify the exact levels of access needed by such employees who work remotely. It can help to implement least-privilege rights, available in PDF DRM, to ensure they are only accessing what is required to perform the task. Conventional security systems such as VPNs are unable to offer a granular level of security needed to protect documents effectively. Only through digital rights management can you assign granular access and prevent situations where individuals can be privy to data outside their area of work. Integrating digital rights management can provide automated and specific access, while at the same time enabling you to revoke access after the work is completed.
Third-party associates and vendors
Most organizations have third-party associates and contractual vendors who provide remote services and maintenance work. Such entities typically require elevated privileges to access certain types of information. Recognizing these users and knowing the individual levels of access to specific documents and data must be done on a case-to-case basis. If you are called to share copyrighted material with such vendors, digital rights management can protect your proprietary and other critical business documents in a variety of ways. Through DRM, you could:
- Limit the number of times a PDF file or document is viewed.
- Disable the ability to copy, print, forward, download or take screenshots of the content.
- Limit the number of devices that the content can be viewed on and ensure that those devices have been authorized by the company first.
- Limit the amount of time available to access the content, after which the document is automatically revoked.
- Revoke the file immediately if unauthorized use is suspected.
- Track how and when documents are viewed and printed.
- Ensure documents can only be viewed from specific locations.
Business and IT consultants
All external consultants who work closely with organizations may sometimes require privileged access to specific confidential documents and information. Such data can help consultants be productive on the projects that they are assigned to. However, you need to provide access only for a specific time, after which the file must be destroyed or revoked automatically. In the absence of automatic revocation, external consultants could receive extensive and unbridled access to areas of your business they do not need. Identifying your consultants and the kind of data they require to access can prevent data theft and help safeguard your confidential documents and information. Through digital rights management, you can closely monitor external consultants’ access and secure documents effectively from misuse.
As an increasing number of companies are now relying on remote employees, it is essential to understand the various types of users logging into the organizational system outside office perimeters. And more significantly, it is crucial to manage, monitor, and secure that access through digital rights management.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.