5 Cybersecurity Challenges of Hybrid Workplaces (and How to Resolve Them)

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April MillerSenior IT and Cybersecurity Writer for ReHack Magazine

Friday, January 7, 2022

Cybersecurity is a pressing issue many companies need to face. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for industries worldwide.

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5 Cybersecurity Challenges of Hybrid Workplaces (and How to Resolve Them)
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An unprecedented amount of people have been working remotely due to the pandemic, and companies will likely continue using either a hybrid workplace model or go fully remote. No business is immune to the effects of the pandemic, and these new workplace options will likely remain.

For example, Spotify introduced a “Work From Anywhere” model, allowing employees to work in the office, from home or a combination of the two. It’s expected that more companies will follow suit, as the work-from-home transition has not negatively impacted productivity levels.

Here are five challenges the new hybrid workplace may experience in the next few years.

1. Employees using personal devices

This is likely the most notable cybersecurity challenge enterprises are now facing. When working remotely, employees typically connect to the internet using an unsecured wireless network. Because of this, hackers can access sensitive information more easily than if someone had the protection of an in-office secure network and device.

This issue is made more complex when employees bring their own devices from home into the office. Security staff must constantly monitor machines coming in and out of the network.

One of the best ways to resolve this issue is to provide staff with company devices that can only be used for work-related purposes. It’s also vital to stress the importance of practicing cybersecurity hygiene, such as using multifactor authentication or prohibiting other people, like family members, from accessing company information using any device.

2. Rise of social engineering attacks

Hackers will use social engineering attacks to gain access to private, sensitive information, including a company’s financial records or passwords to various accounts. Hackers try to persuade their victims to perform a desired action, such as opening a spam link or email attachment or complying with a request.

Social engineering attacks have been on the rise, and hackers will likely continue to find unique, innovative ways to infiltrate company networks. Understanding what types of attacks to look out for will help employees and C-suite executives protect themselves from potential social engineering attacks.

Many of these attacks are carried out via email, so it’s wise to avoid opening links from unknown sources and critically analyze emails for anything out of the ordinary. Use best practices to avoid falling victim to a social engineering attack.

3. Poor cybersecurity training for employees

Some of the challenges listed above touch on this point: Unless they have a hand in the cybersecurity industry, many companies may lack proper training on how to protect themselves.

At the same time, employees are usually the most vulnerable to experiencing a cybersecurity incident. Workers who are unclear on cybersecurity protocols could put the entire organization at risk. This is why proper cybersecurity training should be prioritized among all organizations.

Security software and firewalls can only do so much to protect a company. When employees are more aware of cybersecurity attacks and how they occur, they improve their ability to detect them. That makes the whole organization safer.

4. Lack of proper cloud security

Cloud accounts are worth between $5 and $10 to hackers. They’ll use just about any method to gain access to those accounts to sell sensitive information.

The size of a business or the industry it operates in does not prevent hackers from targeting and carrying out attacks. No company is immune to cybersecurity incidents, from small mom-and-pop shops to large corporations.

Businesses using a cloud provider may be unsure of what aspects of security they should be responsible for implementing. Enterprises are typically accountable for securing all assets within the cloud, such as data, applications, access control and supporting infrastructure. They should also consult with the provider about other practices that can protect the organization.

5. No monitoring of virtual workspaces

While remote working offers plenty of flexibility and benefits to the average employee, it does come with its downfalls. People may be using personal devices to work from home, making it more difficult for security professionals within the organization to secure those computers and home networks.

This lack of monitoring opens employees up to being vulnerable. Security staff don’t have the same level of control over the devices being used, which is a nightmare when implementing proper security measures.

This issue can be resolved by encouraging employees to use a virtual private network (VPN), update their device software regularly, use unique passwords and multifactor authentication and install encryption software. These steps, paired with proper cybersecurity training, can help reduce the risk of facing a cyber attack.

Prioritizing cybersecurity measures

All these tips are crucial to ensuring remote employees can work without fear of their devices becoming infected with malware or any other type of malicious software.

Since the start of the pandemic, about 30% of organizations have seen a spike in cybersecurity incidents. While working from home may be the new normal, it’s critical to examine and understand the latest cybersecurity threats that make it more difficult for businesses to protect themselves. Consider the tips listed above when forming a security strategy.

April Miller

Senior IT and Cybersecurity Writer for ReHack Magazine

rehack.com/

April is a senior IT and cybersecurity writer for ReHack Magazine. She aims to make technical security topics easily accessible for a broad audience and is passionate about educating readers on how they can use their technology to make the most of their workplace.

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