Alternative Working Styles & Cybersecurity: The Basics

published on: 11.08.2023 last updated on: 20.09.2023

To most people, Covid feels like nothing more than a fever dream, but it is very real, and it has left a lasting legacy –  an element of which being the increase in alternative working styles. More workers than ever before are embracing alternative working styles, whether that is hybrid working or wholly remote.

While this has been transformative in a lot of aspects, it has also posed challenges in terms of cybersecurity. Luckily, with an understanding of the basics, you can dramatically decrease the possibility of a breach. Take a look.

The Cybersecurity Challenges Working From Home 

During the pandemic, the entire world was forced to push its employees to work from home. But slowly, with the passage of time, cyber security continued to haunt the stakeholders as malicious elements made a dent in the network and held d sensitive data for ransom. 

However, let us understand some of the cybersecurity challenges the entire world faces while working remotely. 

1. Expanded Attach Surfaces

With more employees working remotely, organizations have more endpoints, networks, and software to safeguard regardless of size. Hence, the risks of cybersecurity increased with time. These possibilities affected. The department’s workload was stretched thin. 

2. Lack Of Security Talent

There have been staffing challenges that further hampered the security net of the organization. According to the 2022 Cybersecurity Skill Gap Rapport, around 52% of the organizations failed to retain qualified workers. A shortage of cybersecurity candidates presented far greater risks and uncertainties within their organizations.

3.  Low Oversight By The Security Staff 

The workers, managing their work from home, did not have the cybersecurity team to look at the breaches. Remote work indeed enabled some of the systems to move outside. However, most companies, especially small and medium-sized organizations, could not provide them to their employees. As a result, they were constrained to work from home. 

4. Poor Data Procedures 

The workers download sensitive information to the local devices, which may or may not come under encryption. Now, the data that were not end-to-end encrypted automatically came under a cybersecurity threat.

5. Vulnerable Hardware

The sudden shift or drift to the remote working environment post the Pandemic forced workers to manage their work through their devices. There needed to be more prepared regarding the security of laptops, routers, and smartphones. 

6. Unsecured And Vulnerable Networks

Remote working increases the opportunity for employees to use networks that are not secure, like the public and WI-FI. The authorities might have directed the employees to make use of the VPNs. However, most employees do not have the expertise to set up a VPN. Ultimately, the systems were exposed to threats and vulnerabilities. 

7. Public Cloud Misconfiguration 

Cloud Technology is one of the most essential ones suited for remote work. One such problem that arose is the misconfiguration. It is particularly related to the access. According to the “Security Report,” more than a quarter of the information security professionals opined that their organization experienced incidents in the security of the public or common infrastructure within the past year.  

Cyber Security Basics: The Lifeliene to secure your systems from the possibility of breach

Post the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have pushed to increase measures that enable employees to work from anywhere. This section discusses some of the key points that work to strengthen the alternative styles and, at the same time, strengthen the network with the desired security. 

Secure Networks

First and foremost, your employees should only work or access data via secure networks. This wouldn’t be a problem if they were to work from an office because their network should be secure. Home networks also tend to be pretty robust, so home working also should constitute much of an issue. It is public networks that should mostly be avoided. Some employees might want to get out of the house and work from a coffee shop or the library, but this is a little risky unless they were to use a personal hotpot or VPN.

IT Support/Managed IT Services

Managed IT Services

Regardless of the working style, a business needs some form of IT support or managed IT services. When it comes to alternative working styles, it makes sense to outsource – why spend the money on developing a team in-house when the issues are going to need to be fixed remotely anyway? IT support tends to be reactive, where managed IT services are proactive, so be sure to consider which choice makes the most sense for you.

Luckily, you have a lot of options, so be sure to do your research and consider your base; for example, if you are looking for managed IT services, then you should check out Solution Builders.

Data Encryption

If your employees are not working from an office on secure devices, then they need to be taught and given the tools to encrypt data when working from mobile devices at home. This means that should they decide to take their work devices out and about or otherwise lose or have them stolen that the data on them remains safe.

Mobile devices are also more likely to be the target of viruses and malware in general which is why you should always install anti-viral software on them before handing them out to employees.

Password Protection

Lastly, one of the easiest ways to protect a device is simply to install password protection on it. Regardless of whether they have their own desktop in the office or work laptop or smartphone, all of them should be password protected. It may also be worth advising them on password best practices and how they can create strong passwords.

The Bottom Line

Alternative working styles do indeed have a lot of benefits for both employers and employees, but there are downsides too, and cybersecurity can be a real challenge when you aren’t working in a traditional office environment. Luckily, developing a better approach is easier than it might seem if you take on board the tips listed above. Moreover, there were security-related challenges when working from home. But they were mitigated using technology upgrades. 

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Tags Alternative Working Styles cybersecurity Managed IT Services
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Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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