Ian Jones, Director of Operations at Matrix Booking, discusses data security, risks and regulations in the realm of hybrid work

The hybrid working model is no longer the novelty it once was, with businesses beginning to settle into and streamline their processes. However, they still face an increasingly complex set of challenges. With decision makers highlighting security and compliance as two of the most challenging areas , this poses a serious problem to businesses. These decision areas are crucial to ensuring companies and their data are protected from growing external threats.

Over the past few years, the digital landscape has become increasingly fraught with danger, with cyber-attacks and data breaches becoming more and more frequent. The stakes have never been higher. To defend against and combat these threats, it is essential that business leaders understand the importance of compliance and security to implement effective processes. The dependency of hybrid working models on digital technology only serves to highlight the urgent need to safeguard confidential information.

So what can be done? How can business ensure they remain one step ahead? The answer lies in efficient data management and security.

Modern challenges require modern solutions

A key concern is the diverse locations and devices from which employees now access and handle sensitive information. In a traditional office environment, 65 per cent of business managers find data protection easier when all employees work in the office, as it can be centralised and controlled to a greater extent.

However, in a hybrid work model, employees can access company data from their home offices, coffee shops or even out travelling. Control is reduced. The endless possibilities of work environments now increase the potential risk of unauthorised access to sensitive data. And remote working already makes it harder to spot phishing email attacks, let alone more serious security breaches.

Employees, however, still need the freedom to collaborate, share files and access information seamlessly without compromising the confidentiality of sensitive data. Therefore, investing in the right resources is key, particularly as 87 per cent of users say they would not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices.

With the introduction of the new Data Protection & Digital Information (DPDI) bill – an update to the UK’s data protection framework that focuses on protecting individuals’ data rights – organisations must adopt a more proactive approach if they’re looking to avoid substantial penalties. It’s an opportunity for them to implement robust compliance measures for hybrid working, providing better protection in our digital landscape.

The road to a safer digital workplace

To effectively navigate data compliance challenges in a hybrid environment, businesses must adopt a set of best practices that prioritise data security and privacy. One of the most important is training employees on data handling. Around 80 per cent of data security incidents are caused by staff errors, so appropriate employee training and refresher sessions are crucial to an effective data security policy.

From there, establishing clear guidelines for remote access and communicating this to staff will help further reduce risks as data breaches pose a unique threat to remote working. In fact, breaches cost over £1 million more on average when remote work was considered a factor in the event. One common solution is multi-factor authentication systems that add an extra layer of security when logging in or even the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) can create secure connections when accessing company resources remotely.

Finally, business leaders should turn to technology to identify security gaps and implement necessary improvements, utilising secure resource collaboration tools and software to keep data safe. Leveraging software that offers built-in security features, such as end-to-end encryption, secure file sharing and secure communication channels will protect confidential information with ease.

Innovation in data protection

As digital technology accelerates, security transformation must follow suit. As staff access and communicate data in a hybrid model beyond corporate firewalls, organisations must adapt. The traditional “castle and moat” security model used within office premises is no longer sufficient.

Enter the likes of resource booking software.

This technology offers a new way of maintaining compliance whilst providing other valuable benefits. Using resource booking software for hybrid workers to reserve desks, equipment or other necessary tools not only ensures more efficient management of resources and staff’s time but it also safeguards employee data, including names, contact information and booking history.

Imagine a centralised booking software system that provides greater control over the data the business collects. Resource booking software simplifies the handling of information of visitors – or those staff booking desks and rooms – and securely stores details externally. In addition, the automatic purging of data after a specified period, is particularly efficient in helping organisations to remain compliant.

Enhancing security and privacy also becomes easier with a standard anonymisation feature of the software. This is a higher level of data protection where older bookings can be completely anonymised, stripping away sensitive data and personal information. This leaves only essential information that can be used to better shape resource allocation decisions, all whilst fortifying data security measures.

More importantly, resource booking software can provide transparency and accountability, as it can maintain a trail of activities related to employee data, such as details of bookings, modifications and access attempts. This helps businesses see exactly who accessed sensitive data, when and where, giving them an advantage over the digital threats lurking in the shadows.

Laying the foundations for the future’s defences

For remote work to remain viable in the long term, it is essential for business leaders to be aware of and effectively manage their digital security in order to make strategic investments and ensure a secure digital future.

Businesses must have a clear understanding of compliance and security to implement effective data strategies and safeguard their sensitive information. As hybrid working has cemented its place in workplace practices, resource booking software has emerged as a multi-faceted tool businesses can use to perfect their hybrid policies while also being compliant and maintaining the highest standards of data security.

The risks are evident. It’s time to implement the right controls for a safer digital future.

Director of Operations at Matrix Booking | + posts

As a passionate customer advocate and leader, Ian helps drive organisations and teams to deliver to their full potential. With a broad background including Marketing, HR, IT, and eCommerce across sectors such as Airlines, Telco’s, Enterprise Solutions, Online Retail and Retail Design – Ian has a wealth of experience to drive growth and shape our business.

Having been with Matrix Booking since 2014 he has helped drive the product from the initial start-up with just three staff, to the solution it is today, in use in at least three continents and over 20 countries.

Years spent in the travel industry has helped to fuel his passion for travel and he is never happier than when he is in an airport or on a plane.