The pandemic and the resultant lockdown established the importance of building hybrid workplaces. Enterprises, across the globe, have realized that business cannot sustain on physical infrastructure alone, a hybrid model is needed that divides time between home and the office. However, this shift to a hybrid climate poses certain security risks for organizations and employees.
As per Tessian’s report “Securing the Future of Hybrid Working”, out of 2000 hybrid working professionals surveyed, almost half of the respondents have experienced a data breach or security incident between March and July 2020. Most of the attacks were phishing campaigns. Specifically, a third of those surveyed reported an increase in ransomware attacks deployed via phishing emails, while a quarter noticed a rise in vishing (voice spear phishing) attacks.
Let’s look at some of the best security practices that can be implemented to ensure safe and secure hybrid work infrastructure:
VPNs – A VPN creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” of information between home and office work devices. It prevents hackers from accessing a connection and keeps the information secure. Without a VPN, hackers can intercept information being transferred, leading to stolen passwords, credit card numbers, and leaked sensitive information.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – The main benefit of MFA is that it enhances organization’s security by requiring users to identify themselves by more than a username and password. Password is the primary method of authentication, however they can be stolen easily. Hence, adding one more layer of security in the form of fingerprints or security pin, enhances the security of an organization.
Encryption – Encryption takes readable text and transforms it into an unreadable format. It usually requires a “key” to lock and unlock the data. Encrypted data without the correct decryption key is useless to anyone who tries to read it. Even if hackers manage to breach an organization’s network and get to their sensitive files, the data still will be unreadable and useless to them.
Endpoint security – This is the practice of securing endpoints or entry points of end-user devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices from being exploited by malicious actors and campaigns. Endpoint security systems protect these endpoints on a network or in the cloud from cybersecurity threats.
Endpoint security has evolved from traditional antivirus software to providing comprehensive protection from sophisticated malware and evolving zero-day threats. As the volume and sophistication of cybersecurity threats have steadily grown, so has the need for more advanced endpoint security solutions.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies – BYOD security is often a challenge for enterprises. This stems from the fact that in order to be effective, enterprises need to exert some form of control over smartphones, tablets, and laptops that are not owned by the company but are employees’ personal assets. Hence, a multi-faceted BYOD policy is required to curb the potential risks while minimizing intrusions on employee privacy and usability when it comes to personal use. Context-aware security solutions that provide control over user access, applications, network connectivity, and devices, in addition to encryption capabilities, combine the key elements necessary for ensuring enterprise security in the BYOD landscape.
The shift to hybrid workplaces is the need of the hour. However, it increases security risks as not only the work environment but also personal devices are attacked by hackers to steal the data. By following simple security practices, enterprises can protect their data from prying eyes and take advantages of the hybrid work environment.