The concept of remote working has become the New Reality.
Even though the remote work practice is not a new concept, the coronavirus pandemic has led to an extraordinary transition to Work From Home (WFH).
Almost all the companies globally are leveraging remote work practices to ensure business continuity during the ongoing crisis.
Around 88% of organizations have allowed or mandated their employees to work from home since the outbreak.
However, remote working has also given cybercriminals a vast array of opportunities to access confidential data and disrupt operations.
With the borderless teams, the organizations will have mammoth amounts of sensitive information moving outside the confines of the office and across many devices, often with questionable security arrangements.
So, remote workforces with no comprehensive security in place will undeniably become lucrative targets for cybercriminals.
In fact, a recent cybersecurity survey revealed that 92% of IT professionals believe that remote workers pose a security risk. At the same time, 73% of VP and C-suite IT leaders believe remote workers pose a greater risk than onsite employees.
Thus, it's imperative for businesses to understand and address the cybersecurity challenges associated with remote working to truly enjoy the benefits of working with the potential employees irrespective of their work location.
Here, we bring you a 10-point plan to help you assess the state of your remote work landscape and strengthen the overall security posture.
Companies are leveraging online tools to ensure reliable communication with the remote workforce. Technology solutions in the form of video conferencing, voice calls and group chat emerged as the need of the hour.
As helpful as digital environments have proven to be, they significantly proliferate the risk surface.
According to a recent survey of 500 decision-makers, 80% of respondents believe that cloud collaboration tools are very vulnerable to cyberattacks.
So, businesses must ensure the privacy and security of their online meetings.
Owning to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, many employees are laid off and many are furloughed. Their responsibilities are often shifted to others who have little or no experience in that area.
Job-hopping has become prevalent today and the trend will continue, making the situation even worse. So, businesses must impart cybersecurity training and hygiene during onboarding and offboarding.
In a remote work environment, giving the right access to the right employee at the right context has become extremely difficult and complex.
“For work from home to succeed, companies need to have good governance policies in place for user access and for evaluating secure access policies and authentication methods,” says Tony Karam, Risk and Security Strategist at RSA.
To keep up with the evolving workforce, the organization must regularly rectify user access rights and entitlements, conduct security reviews and recertifications, and modernize Identity and Access Management capabilities.
The organization should ensure automated governance for this dynamic workforce.
The sudden rush to remote working has led to the rapid rollout of video conferencing tools, collaboration tools and new cloud applications. This has widened the workforce knowledge gap while increasing the odds that put the company at greater risk.
In many cases, the urgency to be in par with the demands of the job will push security concerns aside.
So, a remote workforce should figure out how to use a wide array of new platforms, applications and technologies to minimize the security risks.
The world is about to witness a massive shift towards protection for consumer data and accountability for businesses that control and process it.
So, businesses must comply with the existing stringent regulations while preparing for the new and potentially more severe regulations ahead.
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Automating mundane and repeatable tasks allows businesses and individuals to concentrate on more productive problem-solving activities. This, in turn, can foster innovation and lead to a more resilient organization from a cybersecurity standpoint.
Many companies are striving to accelerate their dependency on automation and robotics to build more resilience in view of all this workforce disruption. But they can reap the real benefits of automation only if they figure out the best ways to manage all those human-machine interactions.
Despite uncertainties regarding the end of WFH culture, returning to work post-COVID-19 is inevitable.
So, companies planning to transition their employees back into the office need a plan that ensures the safety, comfort and well-being of employees. Besides this, the companies need to handle bulk amounts of personal data generated during health check-ups and while monitoring the movement of the employees in the office.
You need to figure out
• The level of physical data to be stored
• Who manages and stores it?
• How is it processes and secured?
• How are the privacy rights of employees determined and guaranteed?
Most of the companies are using hybrid IT infrastructure that is composed of a blend of on-premise data centers, private cloud and public cloud.
So, businesses must embrace a 'zero trust' policy for the safety and security of sensitive data across widely different architectures.
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a sudden boom in cloud migration as companies are striving to build resilience in the new normal.
Even though the cloud offers a host of benefits, it has brought new cybersecurity challenges.
"The cloud holds enormous potential for business efficiency and innovation, but it can also create a 'wild west' of broader and more distributed environments for organizations to manage and secure," exclaimed Abhijit Chakravorty, Cloud Security Competency Leader.
So, organizations must deploy new security policies that consider the different security requirements for cloud architectures as well as on-premises architectures.
Moreover, it's crucial for businesses to be abreast of innovation and determine how to implement it for users in a secure manner.
• Integrate AI-powered analytics into its security environment.
• Deploy Security models that are agile, modern and highly adaptable to changing conditions and requirements
• Embrace a “zero-trust” mindset
• Prioritize risk detection over prevention
• Ensure security operations, risk management and IT teams on the same page
• Leverage security analytics to get insights that help prevent risks
As the work from home culture is going to stay, the enterprise and the employee should work together to address some of the most common security risks in the new reality. Moreover, as the threat environment is not static, it's crucial to focus on evolving threats to avoid unnecessary additional costs and disruptions when we can least afford them.