Our list of the top 5 things you should ask your coworking provider about your personal safety and data security.
With upwards of 30% of the US workforce now able to choose where and when they work (at least part of the time), it’s more important than ever to choose a workplace wisely. While many creative class coworking providers emphasize an exciting social environment with free-flowing beer, foosball, and ping pong, a growing segment of professional coworkers can’t play games when it comes to safety and security – personal and digital.
Here’s our list of the top 5 questions you should ask before signing up for a coworking membership.
1. How secure is the coworking facility, including safeguarding me and my belongings?
Does the coworking provider greet and check-in all visitors and guests including deliveries? Does the location lock-down automatically after hours providing card access only to members? Does the coworking provider have security cameras in place and do they screen members for criminal history before allowing 24/7 membership access? Does the coworking facility institute and enforce policies to ensure a safe work environment, to avoid unwelcome advances, sexual harassment, or other inappropriate behavior? Is the parking garage well-lit and safe?
Although you may not be dealing with state secrets, if unauthorized people can walk through the coworking location unattended, you might be putting your valuables and yourself at risk.
2. How safe is my personal information and credit card data?
Does the coworking provider manage and store your credit card information in compliance with Industry Standards? Are their employees trained in how to handle and process credit card information? If not, they could be putting your information at risk.
And what about your personal information? Do they have control over who has access to your usage data? Does the provider have a right to share (or worse, sell) your information with third parties who have an interest in acquiring customers just like you?
3. How safe is my data? Is there encrypted Wi-Fi and secure printing?
Access to free Wi-Fi in a public setting is fraught with real security risks. Therefore, if you’re paying for a coworking membership you should expect more security than an open public network. Ask if your coworking provider offers encrypted, secure Wi-Fi connections with intrusion protection.
Whether your access to the internet is by Wi-Fi or hard-wired, you should ask what cyber threat counter-measures are in place, from firewalls to threat monitoring, starting with a simple question: How secure is the IT room?
And how about printing? How secure are your print jobs that are sent to a common printer? A coworking facility equipped with the latest secure-print technology will enable you to release and pick up your print jobs with your Member ID card, lowering the risk of having your confidential documents seen or picked up by others.
4. Are there enough private places to take phone calls or have a confidential meeting?
Are there enough quiet rooms for a call or meetup? While a great coworking facility has plenty of airy and open spaces, privacy often demands access to comfortable phone rooms at a moment’s notice. Such rooms should provide auditory and visual privacy, so your confidential presentation on the monitor and your notes on the white board won’t become public information.
5. How will the staff recognize me, and how will I recognize them?
Don’t we all feel more secure and cared for when we are recognized and greeted by name? Top-flight coworking companies alert their staff with basic information and the photo of each member at check-in, so the staff can identify and greet them. Great hospitality brands are all about service, so ask how you will recognize and reach staff members when you need to reach them. Familiarity between the staff and members not only promotes a great member experience but also facilitates safety and security. There are good reasons why great hotel brands require their staff to be distinctly presentable and recognizable, down to a name tag.
Now you that you know what to ask when choosing a coworking space, to ensure your own personal safety and security, imagine what your company will want to know about security, compliance and reporting. But, that’s for another blog.
Vinay Kantak is the Vice President of Platform Services with Serendipity Labs. Kantak has evaluated, designed, developed, and implemented the enterprise level technology and member services to ensure delivery of inspirational and safe member experiences at each of our Labs.