Security Challenges of the Hybrid Workplace

The events of the last two years have largely shuttered offices and left many businesses working from home. Although it took some adjusting, this new, hybrid model has done wonders for productivity.

According to Enterprise Technology Research, as shared by Reuters, productivity was so high in 2020 that the percentage of people working from home was expected to double. All’s well that ends well, right?

Well, not necessarily. The hybrid workplace, like the traditional office before it, harbors its own challenges — particularly when it comes to data security. Here are a few of those risks that every business needs to know about.

1. Making sure no security measures fall through the cracks in the midst of transition

Before the pandemic closed their office doors, many businesses already had measures in place to uphold their network security. But as they continue to transition off-campus, it’s more important than ever to evaluate safety protocols.

Some businesses may be upholding old measures without adopting new ones to address any threats that may arise at home. Sit down with your company’s IT department and hash out any areas of concern that may be leaving the network vulnerable.

More importantly, provide training to employees about their own home network security. Per a survey by Entrust, only 61% of people say their company provides this training, whereas 81% of businesses claim that they do. Addressing this gap in communication can translate to closing gaps in security.

2. When security issues do arise, how will IT combat them?

Once upon a time, you could just walk to your buddy in the IT department if something was wrong. But now in a hybrid environment, there’s no guarantee you’re even in the same state.

IT departments need to be ready when security risks do threaten the company. By installing co-browsing technology, per Computer World, IT can help troubleshoot problems or potential threats hands-on, as if they were still in the office.

3. Unauthorized users potentially accessing private and sensitive information

Particularly in privacy-sensitive industries, working from home can pose additional security risks. To avoid unauthorized access to their corporate network, some businesses are installing platforms that enable their IT department to segment and target users.

In the healthcare industry, for example, this allows IT to recognize when a doctor accesses the network and can likewise revoke or prevent access from outside, unauthorized sources.

Security Challenges of the Hybrid Workplace
Secure the hybrid workplace by taking the proper safeguards.

4. Cloud-based cyber attacks

In a hybrid workplace, more businesses are flocking to cloud-based technology to perform regular duties, like Windows 360 or Google Suite. Although generally secure, cloud-based attacks increased significantly in 2020, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report.

5. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Under normal circumstances, access to the corporate network is highly controlled. An employee accesses it by physically being in the office where they are protected by local network credentials. Or, instead, they access through a virtual private network.

VPNs create a secure connection between the employee and the corporate network. But the very premise of a VPN relies on trust in the user, or employee, who may be working from home on a personal device. According to eWEEK, if that device is riddled with malware, the VPN will become a one-way ticket straight to the corporate network.

By forgoing the once-trusted VPNs, businesses take one step closer to hybrid data security.

For more information about keeping your data secure, check out our Total Defense Security blog or contact us to speak with an expert.