Companies have been creating hybrid workplaces as they attempt to transition back to the office after switching to remote work during the pandemic. Hybrid workplaces combine in-office work with work from home, giving employees the flexibility they want. The 2022 Work Trend Index Special Report found that 73% of employees require a better reason than company expectations to go into the office to work.
While hybrid workplaces may enhance the employee experience, they generate cybersecurity challenges for organizations by testing the limits of network security. Companies with hybrid workforces may have difficulty protecting endpoints and gaining full visibility into the network to manage security.
Here’s a closer look at 5 top security challenges faced by businesses with remote workforces.
Expanded Attack Surface
Hybrid work expands the attack surface, giving hackers more opportunities to breach company systems. Every remote device a worker uses can serve as an entry point for cybercriminals.
These devices are located at the edge of the network, making traditional firewalls inadequate. Companies need a way to inspect traffic at the network edge to detect and respond to suspicious activity that may signal a threat.
With the rise of the hybrid workforce, the number of endpoints companies use has increased. The devices used by remote workers are all endpoints that create points of vulnerability through which hackers can infiltrate the company network.
Once cybercriminals have gained access through an endpoint, they can move laterally along the company network to access sensitive data and mission-critical applications. Some threats can lurk undetected to launch attacks in the future.
When the hybrid workforce is working from remote locations, employees may use unsecured Wi-Fi. Using the Wi-Fi to connect to the company network from home or a coffee shop exposes company assets to hackers.
Cybercriminals can use man-in-the-middle attacks to intercept communications between an employee device and company systems. Once the hackers have access to the device, they can infiltrate the corporate network to stage attacks.
Lack of Visibility
When employees use their own devices for work, companies lack the visibility needed to protect data and applications being accessed by the device. Organizations need to know which assets are being used both in and outside of the business because each one acts as a potential entry point for an attacker.
Because the devices used for remote work are located at the edge of the network, businesses may have blind spots that prevent them from identifying threats in time to prevent an attack. Companies need full visibility into the network and connected devices to set uniform security policies.
Inadequate Identity and Access Control
When employees work from home, a company no longer has a perimeter that can be protected by a traditional firewall. This means that identity and access management is more important than ever. Without it, bad actors may use the device to steal or compromise company information.
Setting security policies for employee-owned devices can be difficult. Identity and access management tools, such as multifactor authentication (MFA), should be implemented to ensure that only authorized users are accessing company data and applications through the device.
How to Meet Hybrid Work IT Security Challenges
Meeting these hybrid workforce security challenges may seem overwhelming. And hybrid work doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Partnering with the right managed service provider (MSP) will help your company access the tools, processes, and people you need to protect hybrid workers.
The Purple Guys delivers trouble-free IT to companies with in-office, remote, and hybrid workplaces. We offer Managed IT and Consulting Services that can help your company put together a hybrid workforce strategy using the right tools and processes.
For example, we can provide your business with unified communications as a service (UCaaS) for secure collaboration between remote and in-office workers. Our IT Consultants and virtual CIOs (vCIOs) can advise your company in developing cloud and network strategies for securely supporting your hybrid workforce.
Find out more about how to protect your hybrid workforce. Request a proposal for managed IT services from The Purple Guys.