A director at a Dutch company runs a remote meeting with his employees through a laptop over Zoom. People all over the world have relied on Zoom and other collaboration tools to stay productive during the pandemic, but there are security implications. Today’s columnist, Joe Payne of Code42, offers some insights on how companies can keep leveraging these tools and stay secure. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The COVID-19 crisis has transformed how and where we work. And that has profound implications for data security. When shelter-in-place orders started last March, IT organizations did heroic work expanding their VPN capabilities, distributing secure endpoint devices, and accelerating adoption of collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Slack. Stanford researchers have found that 42 percent of our nation's labor force now works from home full time, accounting for more than two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity.

Once the crisis subsides, employees will continue to work remotely in some form and use collaboration tools. We'll share more data, on more machines, with more people than ever. And that’s good. More information usually leads to faster decisions, better outcomes, and more successful organizations. But it can also lead to problems when companies are not properly prepared. Because as companies use the collaboration tools the potential for breaches increases and data spills become harder to detect.

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