Since 2020, we’re witnessing a significant transformation in how modern organizations operate. More and more companies are adopting the hybrid workplace model. The global pandemic has forced many companies to switch to a remote working model, and many companies realized that both remote and physical workplaces have advantages.
So why not use both models?
That’s precisely what they did. Even though this work model brings many benefits, it has introduced security concerns.
Today, we’re going to talk about improving network security in hybrid work environments. Even though these challenges are new, there are ways to deal with them quickly and keep your business safe.
Understanding your goals
Protecting your online security is crucial in modern business. Companies cannot afford to have someone stealing their finances, personal data, or other business assets. The longer companies wait, the higher the chances are of a cyberattack. Thus, tackling the issues related to remote work is essential.
Remember that hackers are adjusting themselves for the hybrid business model and looking to exploit its weaknesses. That’s why you should understand where your most significant weaknesses are. Key priorities should be your network, data, and infrastructure.
In a hybrid business model, the infrastructure isn’t managed on-site within a data center, and instead, some of the critical systems are operated by third parties. Each company must recognize holes, gaps between different systems, and personnel liabilities.
Network protection remains critical in this business model. Companies need to implement different anti-virus tools, firewalls, and threat monitoring systems to patch all holes in your network. Additionally, all passwords and devices need to be reinforced with an added level of security.
In a hybrid environment, people often work from different devices and move them from home to the office and the other way around. There’s a considerable risk that someone might steal their device or see their passwords when logging in.
Companies need to add new security layers like two-factor password authentication and create extensive practices and policies to protect employees from themselves.
For example, prevent employees from using their business laptops for personal use or flash drives as they can easily get infected with malware.
It is also essential to establish the rules for accessing corporate data. For instance, employees should only get the necessary access, not more. Those assets should include everything required for the employee to implement their tasks. However, information that is not critical to the smooth workflow should not be accessible by that person.
Smaller companies or startups could benefit from allowing employees to use their personal devices to conduct tasks. It helps save money, especially in the early stages of building a business. However, it is not the safest decision to make. According to research in 2020, 77% of remote employees use potentially unsafe personal devices to access corporate systems.
Such statistics highlight that many personal devices do not have suitable protection and defense systems. And since these devices are personal, companies cannot demand to monitor their activities or keep an eye on installed programs.
While BYOD or bring your own device policies can seem tempting, it is also important to understand the cons of such an approach. All employees should have company-issued devices they can use while working remotely.
The issue of data is especially a challenge in hybrid working since it can leave networks, infrastructure, apps, and devices used by an organization. Companies need to set data-loss prevention measures, encrypt data with tools like Virtual Private Networks, label data, and classify it.
Virtual Private Networks are especially useful when it is impossible to determine the safety of an unknown network. Remote employees could connect to public Wi-Fi to conduct their tasks at a flexible schedule. However, instructing employees to download VPN services and connect to safe servers is one of the guidelines companies should make.
Such tools encrypt and reroute traffic, preventing potential snoopers from capturing the data exchanged.
Also, companies should emphasize providing personal solutions to employees that they can use when working at home or the office. They also need to invest in better flow and lifecycle data management to avoid exposing sensitive data with this work model.
That makes it easy to manage risks and ensures compliance with all data protocols. Reducing these risks means reevaluating all the processes within a business regarding sensitive data and creating better lifecycle practices, flow, access, and storage solutions.
Changing the infrastructure
For a long time, IT infrastructure has been one of the leading security risks in business. In this hybrid work model era, companies have fully adopted cloud solutions to be flexible and mobile. Even though the cloud is generally safe, this shift has introduced dependency and increased risk.
In other words, it’s important to add protection against threats, create new mitigation strategies, and use a variety of tools that can protect your cloud data. Apart from using VPNs and proxy servers, companies have a variety of data-centric platforms that secure analytics and cloud storage accounts.
Cloud is the number one priority for all operations and storage, vital for security. Luckily there are a variety of solutions that can be used for this purpose and quickly help boost protection.
Potential threats to be aware of
Attackers use a variety of methods to exploit security vulnerabilities. Statistics show that most attempts are focused on malware, mobile malware, web applications, and phishing attacks. Coin miner malware is becoming especially popular as they use network resources to mine cryptocurrencies.
Protocols used for the attacks were DNS, TCP, and HTTP. DDoS attacks are also rising in numbers. Their primary focus is the United States, Asia, and Europe since these regions have the most gaming and financial industries companies.
Hybrid work is the new norm, and companies need to adopt the latest security trends while looking at relevant security numbers to answer security threats. Organizations need to be in the loop and track the latest developments.
Furthermore, organizations should hire security experts or work with third-party companies that can help them assess their framework and recognize potential liabilities. Digital security isn’t a straightforward issue that you can deal with using a single solution – it requires ongoing adjustments.