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Hybrid Working and The Impact on Your Company’s Cyber Security

6 December 2022

Hybrid working is a flexible method that strikes a balance for employees to work from home and in a business’ premises. This strategy allows staff to choose how and where they work, and gives them the autonomy to structure their working week in a way that works for both them and the company. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increasing need for a more flexible way of working. However, as Covid rules relaxed, the hybrid work model’s popularity has continued to skyrocket. In fact, according to an article posted by Office for National Statistics, 84% of workers who were forced to work from home during the pandemic intend to continue with hybrid working.

As more organisations adopt this arrangement, the security challenges of a remote workplace are becoming painfully visible. For example, research by the Infosecurity group indicates that 86% of UK cybersecurity specialists estimate that attacks have increased due to remote workers.

So what should your business consider when dealing with employees who are working from home, as well as the office?

Password or Credential Sharing

While sharing passwords in a hybrid working environment is part of the job, password sharing poses a significant threat to organisations. According to a recent report, 81% of hacking-related breaches are accomplished with stolen and shared passwords. 

Providing all employees with access to a shared application or file may be practical, but doing so exposes confidential information to the risk of intrusion by malicious parties.

It’s always a good idea to only allow access to the details needed for each employee’s specific tasks, rather than having a centrally accessed database containing a lot of sensitive information accessible to all. 

Downloading or Saving Sensitive Material on Home or Shared Computers

Managing remote or hybrid workforces is a significant problem for organisations in protecting sensitive data. The danger of data loss or damage grows with remote work because employees use various devices, save data across many locations, and access different versions or instances of the numerous programmes they need to carry out their jobs.

Data stored on external devices or in places that the IT personnel of a business cannot secure, is risky and open to numerous threats, including phishing and ransomware. 

Therefore, IT teams must design policies that restrict account access based on, among other things, granular user permissions, group permissions, locations, and devices. This can limit or reduce the risk of criminal conduct and data loss.

Firewalls and Anti-virus Measures on Home or Shared Computers

The best way to prevent security dangers from infiltrating a company’s network is by using firewalls and antivirus software. Anti-virus software and firewalls offer a defence against external threats. In addition, users can use it to stop the spread of viruses and data leaks.

Vulnerability of Public Networks

Most public Wi-Fi networks are unprotected, posing a severe risk to a company’s data if hybrid employees use them. The primary risk of using public WIFI for businesses is malware and other attacks that put vital company data and passwords at risk. 

Although the drawbacks of using public Wi-Fi are immense, there are safer ways you can use them while still safeguarding the company’s data such as utilising anti-malware software. 

You will also need to ensure all the devices are running the most recent version of software to benefit from recently released security updates and bug fixes.

How to Address Issues Related To Hybrid Working

While each working strategy has shortcomings, hybrid working requires more attention to ensure smooth working. 

Three things a company can do to ensure their employees can deliver are:

Provide the Necessary Technology

Organisations should provide their employees with the necessary hardware to operate the technology, both at work and when working elsewhere. Establishing these guidelines from the outset can contribute to the security of the workplace, regardless of where or when your staff is working.

Seek Expert Help

If you and your company are brand new to this way of working, it can be hard to know where to start. Here at ICT Solutions, we offer cyber security services to help businesses across the UK defend themselves from the evolving threats that cyber attacks can pose. From ransomware detection and firewalls to password management and real-time monitoring, our expert team can help you feel confident when it comes to your new hybrid workforce.

Have a Clear Staff Policy

Ensuring that all company policies are clear to everyone is the first step to making hybrid working a success. For example, have a policy that says that employees should never share their devices with others outside of the company – intentionally or not, sharing devices could make private company information land in the wrong hands.

Protect Your Business Moving Forward

It’s clear that work in the future will continue to be hybrid and organisations must focus on improving employee workflow and easing hybrid working, while safeguarding company data. 

If you need advice and guidance when it comes to protecting your business, your customers and your data, we can help. 

Get in touch with ICT Solutions today to find out more about our tailored cyber security services and how we can provide you with knowledgeable and friendly support.