In almost two years, the world has experienced major changes in workplace structure, employee recruitment, and management. With the need for social distancing due to the coronavirus spread, many companies and organizations adapted the remote work structure for their employees.
However, as the situation eases, employers are adjusting to the various hybrid remote work models that allow some employees to work from home while others from the physical offices, depending on the job descriptions. The implications and effects of this shift are unpredictable, although its ripples are felt mainly in cybersecurity.
Analysts believe that as much as hybrid work models will ease the world back into the typical structures of workplaces, the readjustments will create more issues like cybersecurity challenges.
According to the CEO of security firm Confluera, John Morgan, there will be an increase in cybersecurity issues as employees return to the office. However, companies and organizations will need to prepare even more as the attacks decrease because by then, the hackers will have gained a foothold in the corporate network.
Below are some of the cybersecurity issues hybrid remote work employers’ face:
Insider malicious threats that are risky to data security have existed before the normalization of hybrid remote work models. Remote employees are part of the team that the company trusts and therefore have access to sensitive data, which, when left unchecked, can sabotage privacy. With remote work, the risk of compromising or capturing that data to gain leverage for personal gain like negotiations for new employment prospects or generate extra income is high. Also, accidental insiders are more likely to cause massive errors while working remotely.
To avoid insider threats, every member of the remote team is encouraged to be accountable. Open communication and accountability through monitoring every aspect of collaborating and engagement will ensure the protection of the data during transmission. This way, IT admins can avoid accidents, prevent unauthorized data access and use, and prevent the use of risky data.
Remote employers can incorporate effective software that can create real-time alerts in case of suspicious activities. The software should also allow safe collaboration between team members and managers and secure communication channels that foster data security.
Information Technology Access and Control
While most companies have invested a lot of money and time to create strong, safe, and reliable IT infrastructures that can protect the company against cyber threats, remote work has had to scatter employees away from the haven. With employees working away from the safety and accountability of the network, the IT department is left to up their skills to ensure the safety and success of the tasks regardless of the location of the employees.
Remote workers are now being subjected to the use of unsecured Wi-Fi connections, which threatens data privacy. Consequently, there is the issue of bad actors whose goal is to compromise login records which allows access to critical IT infrastructure that can endanger the safety of the entire organization.
To solve this, remote employers need to train and equip remote employers with tools that they can use to control access to accounts and networks. This includes the use of account password standards, data security services, and tools to practice data privacy and privacy malfunction. Remote employees should be able to know ways to reduce cybersecurity threats and recognize when they are compromised.
Bad Actors and Malicious Messages
Hybrid remote work models have given bad actors even more ways to capitalize on workers’ altruism, vulnerability, and curiosity to compromise corporate data and valuable information. While employees have a role to play in the risks caused, bad actors use several methods to acquire information illegally. These include the use of phishing emails, the use of given credentials for personal accounts, the use of simple passwords, and poor account maintenance.
The increase in remote work in the recent past has led to the growth and spread of phishing. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of poorly secured home networks and the confusion and uncertainty raised by the unprecedented pandemic. Many remote employers and workers have fallen victims to the crimes by opening messages and domains disguised as important news updates, alerts, or sites offering important information.
Development of Safer Code
While most companies readjust existing networks, others have considered solving the problem from the ground. This involves handling the situation from the ground by investing in the DevOps cycle to secure software development and updates that can potentially be corrupted. Hybrid remote developers have to work from home and report to the office; this is where the security professionals come in.
According to vice president at Salt Security, Michelle Mclean, Security can help developers improve the quality of their codes. Kubernetes and container security tools can highlight misconfigurations in those critical components, while API security tools can highlight vulnerabilities in a company’s APIs. When developers work for hand and hand with data security personnel, the result will be exemplary security practices that have been designed to work hand in hand with the application development process.
Identity and Zero Trust Strategy
Cybersecurity risks are lurking everywhere as Identity becomes the new perimeter. This has led to security being primary consideration given the blurring lines between internal and external identities. Employers of remote teams need to centralize access and governance to maintain control.
The perimeters of security have been put to the test with the growing remote workforce. Companies are focusing on identity, privileged access, and the understanding of lack of trust in a person or form of technology.
Organizations and companies have had to embrace a zero-trust strategy to mitigate hybrid remote work security risks. This requires the revision of privileges, giving organizations better control of users and applications with access only granted to authorized users. Best practice guidelines issues include managing identities and roles, managing the type of applications that specific identities and roles can access, and responding to security breaches involving identities.
The hybrid remote work model is a long-term option that many companies and remote work employers will adopt. And as employers seek to hire an effective Hybrid remote workforce, they should also plan to deal with the setbacks like data breaches or cybersecurity incidents using the right platforms, networks, and strategies that give organizations control over system accessibility strengthening cybersecurity. Using a trusted unified employment platform will guarantee your company or organization security and compliance while dealing with sensitive information.