How to Keep Client Data Safe at a Coworking Environment

Jordan MacAvoy

Coworking spaces are in vogue right now, with more people in the modern workplace choosing them over conventional office environments. 77% of people using these spaces claim that working in them offers them more happiness than before. They promise and deliver a benefit galore, from easier accessibility and improved networking opportunities to flexible working environments and some peace of mind. They have become so popular that a number of Fortune 500 companies, like Starbucks, Facebook, and Microsoft, have already added them into their programs.

While owning a coworking space will mean steady business for you, among the biggest risks you have to weather the risk of data theft. Case in point, the report by Fast Company about WeWork's weak Wi-Fi security measures back in 2019 was a huge blow to the credibility of the company. As a coworking space, you need to take data security seriously.

Here are some cyber security tips for implementing both by managers and members to enjoy a safe and amazing experience when working within your workspace.

Keep up With Security Updates

Without security updates, the operating systems and software that your business owns will be quite vulnerable to attacks by hackers and other cybercriminals. These threat actors spend endless hours in search of security vulnerabilities that they can take advantage of within your business. Since updates are meant to help patch these vulnerabilities before they can be taken advantage of, ignoring them will expose your business to security risks.

A great example is the Wannacry Ransomware attack, which most businesses could have averted had they made updates to their devices in a timely manner. Ideally, you should have a specific employee in charge of updating your coworking space's devices. If updating these devices and systems seems like a hustle, you should consider automating the updates.

Train Your Workforce

Your workforce is at the frontline of your business when it comes to fighting common data security risks. Considering that 90% of all data breaches stem from human error, having employees who are aware of common security loopholes is essential. They can easily take charge of your business and avoid making common errors.

Take your time to educate your managers on data security, and how it ties to the nature of their job. You should have them trained on how to prioritize the data security of your clients too.

Ideally, it would be wise to craft security policies that will guide them throughout their tenure with your business.

Keep an Eye out for Phishing Attacks

Phishing scams have become a norm, but they can be detrimental to the data security of your business. One of the most recent phishing attacks has been launched by cybercriminals who have been using on the COVID-19 crisis to dupe unsuspecting victims. A cybercriminal, who is working in the façade of a trusted party, can send texts or emails to anyone in your workforce or the users of your space. They can use these methods to gain access to login credentials and end up stealing your business' data.

Lucky for you, most phishing attacks can be easy to spot if you have a trained eye. While some phishing messages have spelling mistakes riddled all over them, others are written in an unnatural tone. Urge employees to look out for such mistakes when reading through emails or texts, and report them to you.

Other measures to help you curb phishing attacks include:

  • Watching out for fishy messages that come with a sense of urgency.
  • Installing firewalls and updating web browsers.
  • Avoiding to share any business information with unauthorized people.
  • Installing software that helps filter out emails that are commonly used to send phishing attacks.
  • Include stickers in your coworking space to warn clients about these threats.

Focus on Physical Security

While digital security matters, eavesdropping can be one of the greatest risks to the clients’ data security, and it has been growing over the years among coworking spaces. It can be easy for people to see or hear some sensitive information, without even intending to. A simple thing like having locks on the doors to secluded office spaces can ensure that unauthorized people don't make their way into them. You can also launch site access control measures that require clients to use keycards or their smartphones to get into your space.

For you to avoid having other clients snoop into the data of others, you should also install curtains for conference rooms, implement noise control measures, and design the layout of the coworking environment with data security in mind. You should also introduce secure lockers where clients can leave their devices whenever they want to step out. Lastly, installing surveillance and alarm systems can help keep criminal activities at bay.

Install Antivirus Software and Firewalls

Cybercriminals work overtime to get their hands on your data. Though some of their tactics are easy to identify and stop, others can easily slip right through your fingers. For example, it can be quite easy for your clients to use your devices to log in to unsecure sites, which can overwhelm your devices and entire network with viruses and malware.

Installing strong antivirus and firewall software, such as Norton and Kaspersky, will help mitigate this risk. They help to both protect your network and filter anything coming into your business mailbox.

Your members' data security is tied to the security measures you put in place as a coworking business. The good thing is that high data security standards are easy to maintain as long as you commit to them. Consider the tips above to earn the trust of your clients.

The article was written by Jordan MacAvoy, VP of Marketing. He is the Vice President of Marketing at Reciprocity Labs and manages the company’s go to market strategy and execution. Prior to joining Reciprocity, Mr. MacAvoy served in executive roles at Fundbox, a Forbes Next Billion Dollar Company, and Intuit, via their acquisition of the SaaS marketing and communications solution, Demandforce. He brings to the team nearly two decades of marketing and business development experience helping to grow early-stage, venture-backed companies. Mr. MacAvoy is a graduate of Boston University.

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