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The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented shift in the way people work. Although most companies initially relied on a fully remote work model, the vaccine rollout has led to popularising hybrid work environments. Which in turn, has raised the question: how can businesses secure their hybrid work environment and ensure both on-site and remote staff can avoid cyber threats?
This question is relevant because hybrid work has never existed at this scale, and most businesses were not structured to function like this. A hybrid work environment has elements of both the traditional on-site work model and the remote work model. Employees can choose to work from home, at the office or a combination of both.
Recommended Read: Lessons in Lockdown – Our Guide to Smarter Remote Working
If you are planning to bring all your workforce back to the offices when you have the chance, consider some of the advantages hybrid environments have, such as:
Hybrid environments help boost employee morale since there is an opportunity for collaboration with colleagues at the office and while working remotely.
The flexibility provided by the hybrid work model helps employees focus on their work when they are at their most productive. In a survey by Microsoft, 82% of business leaders reported good productivity when flexible work schedules were adopted.
Companies no longer need to provide office spaces for their entire workforce at once, and employees need not commute daily to their offices. It helps reduce costs significantly.
Although vaccination is encouraged worldwide, the World Health Organization has suggested that everyone follow measures like social distancing for an extended period of time. Keeping this in mind, a hybrid environment certainly ticks all the boxes.
Related Article: Securing Company Data with a Remote Workforce.
On the flip side, hybrid work environments do have their share of disadvantages as well. Of these, heightened cyber risks need immediate focus.
Flexible work locations lead to cyberattacks and associated pitfalls like data loss because many endpoints operate outside the secure corporate perimeter. That is why 88% of businesses believe it is vital to secure remote work tools and protect customer or employee data in the distributed work environment. This puts the responsibility on the companies to protect their digital assets through regular software updates, proper password management, robust data backups and business continuity solutions, continual employee training, etc.
Hence, asset management is imperative for the diagnostics and mitigation of vulnerabilities and threats. Keeping a tab of all software and hardware your business possesses can be an ideal first step towards successfully managing digital assets. It should not just be a one-dimensional process of noting down the model number, serial number, location, etc. Asset management for security and data breach protection related to hybrid environments needs an in-depth set of inventories. For this, there should be a clear picture of the operating system, the patch levels, the configurations and even the state of known vulnerabilities.
This will provide will with accurate information and an overall view of your technology assets, which is why it should be the first step in securing your environment. Clarity is vital at this moment, and it will conduct you through the following steps.
Asset management provides a firm foundation for risk assessment of your business’ hybrid work environment. A risk assessment helps you identify:
We have a dedicated article explaining what you need to know to begin Building an Asset and Risk Register to Tackle Technology Risk, with a sample risk register available for download as well. Click the link to dive in!
Remember, regular risk assessment offers the following benefits to your business:
Detecting threats and sorting risks based on their potential for harm help you focus your efforts on urgent pain points.
A risk assessment helps you determine ways to protect your critical assets and vital data in the distributed work environment.
Regular risk assessments help you reduce security spending because you know where to allocate funds to ramp up security. You may also find you have more than one tool doing the same thing, thus avoiding redundancy.
Having access to information provides insights into the future and helps you take adequate actions to improve your business’ security.
When you handle your business assets and data securely through regular assessments, you can save your business from a regulatory violation. Learn more about How to Ensure Compliance when Working Remotely.
As mentioned above, risk assessment and asset management can help you address, reduce or avoid security challenges. After knowing your risk and defining priorities, you’ll need to pursue the appropriate solutions to address each of these risks.You can get started with the asset and risk register by yourself. Read our dedicated article on it if you’re looking for more guidance.
However, doing everything by yourself, with no experience, may be confusing. Learning which solutions are best suited for your business could also be tricky, as there is a wide variety of tech solutions available today. If you think you could use some help about where to start, simply get in touch.
By collaborating with a specialised partner in technology, risk assessment and asset management, you can prevent vulnerabilities from escalating into full-blown disasters. Our knowledge comprises all you will need to both identify, plan and implement a tailored solution to protect your business and help your team avoid cyber threats. Schedule a discovery call today!