There is no doubt that people’s lives and businesses have been significantly disrupted by the global pandemic. As many organizational leaders understandably concentrate on crisis management, business continuity, environmental initiatives, and employee well-being, increasing thought must also be given to the system and network security in a post-pandemic hybrid work environment.
As businesses resume their operations, safeguarding employees, facilities, assets, data, reputation, and products will be critical. Although some companies are planning to stay fully remote or in a hybrid work arrangement after the pandemic, their physical, personnel, and system security implications must remain of paramount concern.
Organizational security should be the core business trait, especially for the post-pandemic workplace. Many companies have finally realized the importance of providing a safe and secure work environment even on employees’ home networks, which can experience malicious remote access attempts.
As the work culture paradigm changes, here are some critical considerations for post-pandemic work security.
A New Paradigm: The Hybrid Workforce
While the term itself encompasses various systems, “hybrid” work arrangements refer to a more flexible work environment. Hybrid work grants more autonomy to employees and combines sociability, structure, and flexibility for a work culture that some might call ideal. In these hybrid arrangements, companies typically designate specific days for in-person collaboration and meetings; other days are reserved for remote work that requires individual focus.
This workplace paradigm shift has had a direct impact on the technology an organization chooses to rely on for its management and routine tasks. Work arrangement changes encompass everything, ranging from infrastructure offices to culture modifications, and security is a core element of each change.
The hybrid workforce will only add intricacy to security and IT operations. In many scenarios, workers are moving between secure office environments with enterprise network monitoring, firewalls, event, and data analytics to vulnerable home networks that might have rogue devices, weak passwords, or outdated equipment.
This creates an avalanche of concerns about inadequate security for businesses.
Critical Considerations For A Secure Hybrid Workforce
If your company has adopted (or is planning to adopt) a hybrid working arrangement, you must rethink how you manage your infrastructure and effectively provide tools or resources to keep employees and company data secure. There will not be a one-size-fits-all approach to how companies could handle hybrid work security. Some organizations will have to move toward solutions that drive better collaboration and engagement across their teams. Others might choose to use extremely invasive or restrictive policies for remote work connectivity.
Nevertheless, there are some tools available to take care of key concerns when building a protected work environment:
Use a company VPN. A virtual private network could be leveraged with remote desktop protocols to secure your communication channels between the office and the remote employee. VPNs encrypt all the user’s connection data, and they are the most practical solution to minimize data privacy and security concerns. Essentially, VPNs create a data tunnel between an exit node (e.g., a protected device in your business location) and a device located anywhere. This arrangement allows your employees to access company data in a more secure way and protect it from third parties.
Establish ID-management strategies. In a hybrid work environment, the role of IT increases more than ever. Employees use their home network to connect to work resources, leverage personal devices and depend on various digital tools. Some of those can’t be managed by security and IT departments, which leaves additional entry points for unauthorized users and security threats. I recommend implementing full-access and identity-management strategies to ensure your team members within the business perimeter, as well as those working from their home offices, are protected and secure at all times.
Develop a security culture. Building and maintaining a robust security system and culture can help you minimize data security risks among a dispersed workforce. You can start by providing frequent security training, both virtually and in-person. This can help instill greater awareness among your remote workforce and enhance overall privacy.
Ultimately, managers need to consider security in the context of where, how, and when their businesses operate, especially considering that customers are demanding more seamless interactions and the global pandemic has lead to a drastic change in employee and business expectations about connectivity, flexible working patterns and more.
Some of the other aspects businesses need to consider include:
• Ensuring hybrid arrangements do not damage your compelling value propositions to retain employees. Rewards and recognition, quality of work, learning and development, connected communities, seamless interfaces, and corporate values and purposes could all be of paramount importance to employees.
• Determining whether you need to implement more tools into your operations that allow you to change and segment the work environment for many people. How will you achieve the right balance between technology and people? Is your organization ready to continuously retrain employees and redeploy them to different roles, as well as adjust them to the new normal in the hybrid work environment?
• Whether you’re ready to invest in frameworks and talent to drive greater transparency and trust, mitigate data security-related concerns, and embed privacy and cybersecurity principles into your organization.
The Covid-19 outbreak triggered businesses to adopt new working conditions and IT. As organizations transition to hybrid work, it is critical to fortify remote employee security. Address potential cybersecurity risks by integrating security and designing work patterns to help you manage a more intricate threat landscape.
Article Provided By: Forbes
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