How to develop a two-tiered security model for the hybrid work paradigm
As corporations plan phased returns of employees to the post-pandemic workplace, the hybrid model has emerged as the best balance between remote work and on-site presence. While the hybrid workplace presents the ideal response to the growing number of global employees, long-distance collaborations, and remote work capability, it is also vulnerable to cyberattacks on account of being a digitally reliant setup.
To enable a healthy and resilient security culture, enterprises, therefore, will need to enact robust security measures at both employee and organizational levels. Here’s looking at some of the ways businesses can create robust security infrastructure for remote as well as in-office workers alike.
Adoption of zero trust and multi-factor authentication policies
The first step to ensuring a robust digital security infrastructure is through the installation of security checks across all staff entry and onboarding points. To this end, multi-factor authentication built on a zero-trust approach offers the most reliable and advanced data protection proposition to businesses. By granting minimum access to critical information, as well as using a combination of OTPs, passwords, and biometric access, organizations can ensure greater data privacy and operational security.
Ensuring regular device updates
The foundations for secure entryways lie in secured and up-to-date device software. While in-office employees benefit from greater IT department supervision, WFH employees are typically left to their own devices. This leaves them vulnerable to cyberattacks owing to unpatched and outdated software, weak passwords, unencrypted storage, and backdoors. Further, the usage of the same device for personal and professional activities puts the confidential business data and enterprise network at greater risk of being compromised.
To ensure the best security outcomes, it is imperative to ensure WFH employees across geographies and time zones install regular software updates, along with ensuring that they are linked to an active anti-malware solution. This must be complemented by the installation of the latest versions of antivirus and regular security checks of employee devices. Employees must be encouraged to use separate devices for doing personal and work-related tasks. If a remote worker uses only a single device, it must have software-enabled compartmentalization of personal and work storage to prevent corporate data from leaking into other apps or websites.
In addition, organizations could institute policies where devices belonging to returning employees must be quarantined until they are cleared by IT teams as having no malicious software.
Remote fixing of devices
Greater supervision being facilitated for in-office employees doesn’t mean that distance workers are beyond the ambit of assistance from the security team when it comes to protecting their devices and data. Remote fixing tools such as LogMeIn’s LastPass allow internal IT teams to diagnose, patch, repair, update, and troubleshoot employee devices over the air. These solutions ensure that workers enjoy an equitable and seamless experience while working from home.
Promoting cybersecurity best practices at an individual level
Providing organizations and their stakeholders complete digital security is a part of the holistic security culture that enterprises must inculcate. This is how they can ensure that the work paradigm of the future is anchored by safety and technological progression on the back of a top-down security culture.
Organizations must promote the belief that upholding digital security requirements isn’t the responsibility of the security department alone. A sustainable security culture requires a collective investment from all stakeholders in the organization. A vision that treats security as a non-negotiable asset, complemented by employee sensitization and training practices, is necessary for the safekeeping of valuable data and prevention against exploitation of vulnerabilities by threat actors. To drive optimal results, administrators must make sure that the mechanics used to deliver security training to employees account for different departments, learning styles, and abilities.
Educate, train, defend
Employees are the bedrock of any organization. Employee errors are common when they are unsupervised, anxious, or uneducated in matters pertaining to organizational security. Dialogue about security best practices must be made part of professional conversations. These activities should be incorporated right from the get-go, with IT and security team members in attendance during employee onboarding and orientation sessions.
Since the threat landscape is constantly evolving, so must the L&D landscape to help employees stay on top of the latest trends and developments. To this end, organizations must facilitate easy and round-the-clock access to resources, tools, and opportunities for employees to self-empower and self-learn. The more knowledge they gain in their own time, the more confidence they’ll possess. This has a knock-on effect on employee satisfaction which will fuel a faster spread of information vis-a-vis safety protocols.
The development of a two-tiered security culture from the employee level to the organizational is a gradual process. No longer an option, it has become a critical business imperative for organizations to not just survive in the face of an increasingly unsafe digital environment, but also to thrive and succeed. And intuitive security tools and empathetic operational practices comprise the key to unlocking a holistic security culture aimed at keeping the enterprise agile, resilient, and protected from all threats – existing as well as emerging.