Working from home has been picking up pace for the last five years, but until 2020 was still seen as a luxury for the vast majority of employees. In fact, the 2020 IBM Security and Morning Consult Work From Home Study found 83 percent of employees were provided with little to no ability to work from home prior to the pandemic.
This has changed dramatically over the past year, with many organizations shifting to a hybrid work model - where some of their employees are based in the office and some are based remotely.
While there are a huge number of benefits that this model of work brings, it also comes with some IT challenges that are essential for your organization to address. None more so than keeping your organization’s data properly secure.
In the first of this two-part blog, Genesis Integration will look closer at what the hybrid work environment actually is, why this model means your company needs to put data security at the top of its agenda, and what the most common cybersecurity threats for your remote workers are.
The second part of this blog, The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Company’s Data in the New Hybrid Work Environment (Part 2), will look at some methods and best practices your organization can implement to keep your data secure.
What is the hybrid work model?
A hybrid work model is often cited as the future of work. With social distancing measures in place and limited capacity in physical offices, many organizations are creating strategies in which their employees come into the office on specific days or weeks and then work remotely the rest of the time.
The hybrid work model creates a balance between both working remotely and working in the office. Businesses implementing this approach are finding that they are able to realize both the productivity benefits of remote work and the collaboration benefits of in-person office work. As a result, this model is here to stay long into the future.
Employees working in this model are able to take advantage of the flexibility and cost savings of remote work, while still having the opportunity to come into a physical office to collaborate with their peers. It’s the best of both worlds.
Why this new workforce model means you need to focus on securing data
Despite the benefits that a hybrid work model brings, it also brings a series of challenges. This includes providing your employees with the technologies they need to collaborate efficiently, but most importantly the question on how to protect your organization from data breaches.
Unfortunately, many organizations are still lagging behind when it comes to implementing proper security methods that protect their employees while they are working outside of the office.
Here are some statistics from the 2020 IBM Security and Morning Consult that show how organizations are struggling to protect their data despite the transition to this new way of working:
- 93 percent of those newly working from home are confident in their company’s ability to keep personal identifiable information (PII) secure while working remotely, yet 52 percent are using their personal laptops for work - often with no new tools to secure it, and 45 percent haven’t received any new training.
- More than half of employees have yet to be given any new security policies on how to securely work from home, leaving 47 percent concerned about impending cybersecurity risks.
- 53 percent of employees are using their personal laptops and computers for business operations while WFH, however 61 percent also say their employer hasn't provided tools to properly secure those devices.
- 66 percent have not been provided with new password management guidelines, which could be why 35 percent are still reusing passwords for business accounts.
What are the top cybersecurity threats for remote workers?
For your company to implement effective security measures that protect your data from cybercrime, you first need to understand what cybersecurity threats can impact your business. Here are the most common cybersecurity threats that organizations with hybrid work models need to address:
The use of personal devices: Allowing employees to use personal devices for work opens your organization up to a range of security issues. That’s because these devices simply don’t have any security tools to properly secure your company’s data from hackers.
Phishing scams: Cybercriminals are deceptive, and often use disguised tricks to gain control of your organization’s data. Phishing is one of the most common methods, in which legitimate-looking emails are sent to your employees containing malicious links and attachments. Once opened, cybercriminals will be able to access your employee’s computer or your company’s network.
Unsecured home WiFi: The IT team in your office has probably invested a lot of money in properly securing your company’s network, but this isn’t the case for your employees working from home. Remote employees may have weak security for their WiFi, and may even be working on completely unsecured public WiFi connections.
With these security threats in mind, stay tuned for the second part of this blog, The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Company’s Data in the New Hybrid Work Environment (Part 2), where we will discuss the best practices your organization can implement to secure your data from cybercrime.
For any further information on this topic, or advice on how to secure your company’s tech infrastructure, please feel free to get in touch with Genesis Integration today. Our team of technology experts would love to answer your questions.