Since early in 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdowns began, cybercrime has increased significantly and remote working has produced major cyber security challenges and higher risks for many businesses and organizations. The surge of CV-19 cases driven by new variants has challenged many companies to quickly devise long-term hybrid work models that meet the needs of their businesses and employees. The term hybrid has been coined as there are many degrees from total office attendance to total at home work. Some companies are now allowing only a stated number of employees in the office at one time or requiring a set number of days work to be performed at the office. These needs include both health and business continuity issues.
The Corona Virus pandemic may be receding, yet it looks like for many people remote working will remain for the long term. Researchers have found that 80% of global businesses are confident their home-working employees have the knowledge and technology needed to handle basic cyber threats. Now enter constant cyber threats, other sources indicate that 45% of businesses said they had experienced a cyber breach. In the same study, over three-quarters (73%) admitted they are likely to be impacted by a cyber security incident and half said they had already been breached in the past. This kind of disconnect does not make for sound cyber security planning.
The majority of information technology leaders believe employees have increased their organizations' risk of a security breach by using personal devices for work and downloading software to do their jobs which is not approve and in many cases is not approved by their firm's IT professionals.
These uncertain times require a new approach to perfect the hybrid work model if it is to become sustainable. Companies need to think carefully about planning for securing their data and overall access in any new network infrastructure. This will become the “long game” for security strategy planning as work from home will not go away in the next several years. Employees of all levels have rebelled against work cubicles and long commutes since the pandemic and to retain quality employees, mangers will have to make some difficult decisions.
A recent report surveyed 1,500 leaders as well as 1,500 full- and part-time employees from 10 countries across four global regions and discovered a clear trend towards a more distributed workforce with less emphasis on traditional offices. Ninety-five percent of business leaders said their policies discuss data security and privacy best practices. In addition, 89% of leaders and 87% of employees said they feel confident their company’s data is secure when people work outside the office. This could produce a false sense of security.
Throughout the pandemic, bad actors have exploited security deficiencies of remote remote environments, such as insecure home tech hardware, poor password hygiene and employee use of unapproved tools. This suggests that the need for a high standard of security has never been greater.
If companies are going to use hybrid work models successfully over the long term, then they will need to further invest in their cyber security strategy and be prepared to pay for increased costs. In a remote, mobile-centric world where everyone in your company is an endpoint, IT leaders must put responsibility for cyber security into the hands of the very people who may be the most vulnerable, their employees who may be working on computers shared with family members. Best to try and segregate these computers if at all possible.
Firms with a security-first culture empower employees at every level of the organization with security tools that make employee’s lives simpler with great user experience and supportive training tailored to specific remote user behaviors and skill sets.
Red Sky Alliance is a Cyber Threat Analysis and Intelligence Service organization. For questions, comments or assistance, please contact the office directly at 1-844-492-7225, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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