While there are so many benefits to coworking, one common concern, particularly for larger more established companies, is how they can ensure security. Here are the things you should check with your coworking space, as well as precautions you can take yourself, to make sure you stay protected.
Your company data and trade secrets are some of your most valuable assets, so should be front of mind when considering where your company should work from.
Coworking spaces aim to accommodate a range of businesses and professionals, from start-ups and large businesses to freelancers and remote workers. To ensure the space works for all these groups, it’s essential that the right security measures are in place.
The majority of coworking spaces will have put a lot of time and effort into making sure their space is secure, but it’s definitely worth checking what’s in place before you register.
What should you check?
Entrance to the building
Most coworking spaces will have one main entrance, where it’s easy to monitor visitors coming in and out. However, there will be other exits in the building for emergency purposes, so it’s best to confirm that these are never used as alternative entrances.
Most spaces will also have some kind of access system, whether it’s a key fob, a mobile application or a front desk where you can sign in. Take a look around and check these doors aren’t regularly left open.
Make sure you also know the protocol for non-members entering the building, to attend meetings for example. Most spaces will have a clear policy. It’s important to be clear on this and follow the rules to ensure everyone stays protected.
When you have expensive equipment in the office, you want to make sure it’s secure, and carting it home and back to the office everyday isn’t usually a feasible option.
A lot of offices now include lockable storage. Ask if you can take a look at the options and what’s included in your plan as opposed to an extra charge.
One of the biggest security threats to any business comes from data breaches and malware attacks.
Signs that a coworking office is active in protecting against these types of attacks include a security policy for new members and having unique login and password details for each member to access the Wi-Fi.
If the Wi Fi network is open, this should indicate a major red flag, as anyone within range can access the network.
Surveillance is just as important for your physical safety as it is for identifying user misconduct.
Check what surveillance is in place at your local coworking office and who’s responsible for monitoring it.
This can provide peace of mind for you and your team while working from the space.
Most coworking spaces are largely open plan, in keeping with their nature as collaborative and communal spaces.
However, there are times when you will need a completely private area to take phone calls or conduct meetings with your team.
Find out what is available to cater to this need, and if possible, try and get an idea of how busy these facilities are and how you can go about reserving them.
What else can you do
While you would hope that every professional coworking space has the above basics in place, there are still responsibilities that fall on your shoulders when it comes to keeping your company safe.
As well as all the common protocols any company should have in place, here are a few that are particularly important when using coworking spaces.
Lock your computer screen
When in a private office this may not be as important, but it’s crucial that anyone working in a coworking space gets into the habit of locking their computer when away from their desk.
You might only have popped to the toilet or gone to grab a drink, but that could be long enough for someone to see private information or access your company network.
This may sound obvious, but it can be easy to get too comfortable and reveal insider information in a coworking office.
The nature of coworking means that potential competitors could be all around you, so even if you’re chatting to your colleague be aware that someone could overhear vital information.
Similarly, when networking with and getting to know other members, try not to give too much away. Whether it’s the exciting new project you’re working on or the company’s plans for the next year, once that information goes outside your company there’s no knowing where it might end up.
Don’t share devices
Again, this might seem obvious, but if a member you’ve been chatting with for the last week asks to borrow your phone to make a quick call or use a USB drive for their upcoming presentation you might think nothing of it.
Although it’s great to be helpful and build relationships with other members, be cautious about handing over anything that could have company data on it.
Implement non-disclosure agreements
It’s likely that there’s already a company policy in place here for employees, but this can be particularly important if you are embracing more flexible ways of working.
Make sure that any temporary staff or freelancers go though the same protocol as anyone else, and only have access to the information that’s necessary for them to do their job.
If you’re interested in learning more about what a coworking space can do for your business, why not book a tour at SO Fourteen, a stunning coworking office based in the centre of Southampton.