In 2020 the pandemic disrupted businesses, changed our working culture and forced us into a hybrid working environment. However, there are security risks of hybrid working that all companies must be aware of. Research has shown that 78% of people welcome a hybrid working model. In this article we will be covering many aspects pertaining to security while you work from the office, home or a third location.
Network vulnerability is a growing concern in a hybrid working environment. As employees are working in various locations. Some employees could even be working in three locations and thus pose a larger security threat. Cyberthreats have increased drastically since the start of the pandemic, but their risk can be reduced with the right steps.
At Cambridge Support we recommend conducting a network audit, this will assess the strength of your current network. It will help determine if your current network setup is suitable for your needs. We can help any business, in any industry with their network security, contact us today. Then we recommend communicating new protocols with your employees and enforce standard device use policies. Workers may have picked up bad habits at home and could bring them into the office. Employees using their own printers, cameras and TVs at home also present more security risk. Therefore, to protect employees working from home, we advise providing a VPN (virtual private network). This would ensure that information is encrypted, and it mitigates the risk that a security threat could intercept it.
We would further recommend running security scans for all devices and review all applications to ensure they are safe. Plus treat all returning end points as high risk. Any application that poses a threat, it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Lastly, backup all business-critical data and provide updated security guidelines. In terms of security, working in the office is the safest, providing your company security is well grounded. This is because all employees will be protected by the same network defences. When employees work from home, they are using public networks. Such networks have restricted bandwidth and exposed modem control interfaces.
The Invisible Risks
For a hybrid working environment to be effective, there needs to be a level of trust. Managers will be measuring the amount of work done and productivity, as opposed to time in the office. Bad habits may be produced by employees, which they may be unaware that is it a security risk. These may be saving documents on personal laptops or emailing business documents to personal emails. While it may seem quick and easy for them to do this, it poses a high security risk. This therefore brings us onto training.
Training your staff on basic security measures will help protect them and your business when hybrid working. When they are trained, they will spot security issues before they escalate. They should be trained in matters such as password generation, installing updates and detecting phishing scams. In addition, keeping VPN turned on and ensuring that work and home devices are kept separate. Lines of communication is often overlooked but should always be kept open and easy to access. Utilise the channels of communication like Microsoft Teams and provide regular updates. Regular updates will increase awareness of any pressing threats and will provide an opportunity to escalate any security problems.
How Cambridge Support Can Help
Cambridge Support can conduct an IT security audit for you. This will help assess your current IT systems and practices and provide detailed reports and solutions. We have extensive experience in many security focused services. These include Cyber Essentials, Microsoft 365 audits, security audits, penetration testing and more. We would be more than happy to review your current IT security and determine if there are any areas for improvement.