The world is getting used to the idea of a permanent shift to remote and hybrid work. The Everywhere Workplace means your employees are, well, everywhere: some might be in the office, while others come and go, others work from home, and still others are part of the rising trend of digital nomads.

It’s a good thing that we’re growing comfortable with the idea of employees being everywhere.

But there’s a catch: that means our data is everywhere, too.

There are three key areas of data across the enterprise:

  • Data in use is active data that is constantly changing.
  • Data in motion is data that is moving across the network.
  • Data at rest is inactive data.

Historically, data in use was passively stored on-site. The Everywhere Workplace has pushed data distribution to a new level. Data is no longer being passively stored but is instead actively moving through a complex IT infrastructure. Enterprises are struggling with the complexity of managing vast amounts of highly distributed data – and that’s on top of current supply chain disruptions plus a rampant increase in data breaches and cybercrimes. This adds up to a serious privacy and security problem. Plus, new regulations have emerged, both in the US and globally, as governments act to increase security awareness and best practices.

It's no wonder that IT leaders are feeling tremendous pressure. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure that data in use is safe. Enterprise security is dependent on the actions and trustworthiness of end users, who are no longer protected behind perimeters. 

What can be done? Here are key practices to implement right now to protect enterprise data in the Everywhere Workplace:

  1. Track and report data access to detect suspicious activity and potential threats. Ensure that those who have access to the data actually need access, and track who, where, why and when access is granted.
  2. Establish authentication measures including user authenticationstrong identity management, and well-maintained permissions for profiles across the organization.
  3. Ensure that highly secure data never leaves its location, whether on-premises or in the cloud, no matter who is asking.
  4. Deploy endpoint management to ensure that every device, everywhere, is mapped and regulated at all times. This also means locking down the endpoint OS and keeping it and all applications updated.
  5. Invest in a patching solution that offers a clear understanding of what is being patched, along with testing and management that includes rollback.

All of this can be accomplished while preserving the user experience and avoiding inhibiting productivity. After all, nothing inhibits productivity quite like the downtime and issues associated with a breach. Security of data in use is about risk mitigation. In today’s Everywhere Workplace, the risk level is extremely high. It’s imperative that enterprises implement effective processes and technology solutions to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.