Remote work makes it easier for employees to leak sensitive data

As remote employees increasingly leak confidential company information during the coronavirus crisis, a New Zealand startup is launching a new product to ebb the flow. 

The company, PRAAS, is launching what it says is the first “Print as a Service” product that works on all printers – even home printers used by remote workers – to help enterprise cybersecurity teams monitor a key weakness in data loss and theft: employees printing sensitive information.  

“When COVID hit, we realized the world’s knowledge workers weren’t heading back to the office anytime soon,” says Brendan Francis, the CEO of PRAAS. “Print is not secure, and there was no visibility into data loss.”

The cloud-based product manages all enterprise printer use, meaning that when employees print a document from their work computers – whether in the office or at home – the PRAAS system provides the company IT teams with an audit trail, helping them to track sensitive documents. The PRAAS can manage any brand or model of printer, and the system gives IT teams other printer-related services, too, such as management of contracts, service, and supplies. 

A recent report from the cybersecurity firm Tessian showed that half of employees cited “not being watched by IT” as a reason for not following safe data practices. Meanwhile, 84% of IT leaders also said that data loss prevention is more challenging when employees are working from home.

A white paper from PRAAS says print-as-a-service may be a promising market because only a quarter of the 80 million remote printers used by employees are currently managed or overseen by employers.   

After rapidly transitioning to remote working, companies may lack security, visibility, and control of sensitive customer information, introducing data compliance dilemmas with legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to International Data Corporation in an independent market-research report. GDPR is the European data-protection legislation that carries major fines for companies’ mishandling of customer data. 

“Some employees might be unknowingly managing customer data in a non-compliant way, while some might be aware of the risk, but decide to print anyway,” the IDC report found.

With many employees desiring to continue remote work after the quarantine lifts, and companies seeing cost-savings as a result, addressing remote oversight of sensitive data is a longterm issue, the IDC report says. 

PRAAS will launch its service on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform this week,

“The advanced analytics featured in the solution will help organizations print in a more sustainable way, and the security and compliance features are important in the post-GDPR era,” Microsoft New Zealand Chief Technical Officer Russell Craig said in a statement, “E specially with so many organizations now having staff working and printing remotely.” 

Source: Business Insider

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