Why remote work security is everyone’s responsibility

What are the shared security responsibilities of a hybrid workforce? As hybrid work becomes more popular, here’s how to maintain security when employees work remotely.

ARTICLE | 4m read
Nov 16, 2021

Hybrid work has gone from a new experiment to simply the default way we work. But the rise of remote work has also seen a significant rise in cyberattacks directly exploiting the work from home situation. From evolved ransomware threats to login credential theft, our distributed workforces are under attack from aggressive and devious bad actors. This has made the CISO and other enterprise security experts more important than ever.

However, these experts cannot carry the security burden alone. As risks proliferate and demand increases, it is all too easy for cybersecurity staff to be burnt out and stretched thin. This explains why 85 percent of security decision makers view security as a shared responsibility, and 73 percent believe their workforce is highly aware of potential security risks. In this article, we will discuss remote working security tips to help your hybrid workforce embrace their shared security responsibility.

How to increase remote work security and improve the hybrid work experience

Adopting a zero trust security model is a proven way to increase remote work security. This approach assumes all trust must be earned before access is granted to cloud apps and corporate data—but some organizations place all the responsibility of earning trust onto their employees. If you rely on overly complicated remote security protocols to implement zero trust, your employee experience is also going to be overly complicated. This can frustrate hybrid workers, some of whom will look for workarounds that enable easier access to their tools they need for work—only without the security you need to keep your sensitive data safe.

The answer is an approach to zero trust that increases remote work security while improving the hybrid work experience. Half of this is technological, such as using security monitoring to help IT examine every access request to ensure it is contextually risk appropriate without placing undue burden on remote workers. The other half is embracing the human side of zero trust with education programs that empower employees to consistently make smarter security decisions. For example, train your remote workers to assess situational trust factors when they sign in, such as “Is this wifi network safe for accessing company data?”.

The value of simplicity in hybrid work security

Simplifying system complexity almost always reduces security risk, but it’s also important to simplify security for end users if you want them to share responsibility for security. Access security is a great place to start. Adopting a Single Sign-On (SSO) solution can streamline the remote worker login experience while making it easier for IT to verify the user’s identity and access context. This better protects your digital workspace environment because it doesn’t rely solely on password protection.

The pursuit of simplified security can also show you what technologies you can sunset altogether. For example, passwords are not required for access security; by implementing FIDO authentication solutions you can let remote workers use biometric information like fingerprints to securely access business apps without relying on passwords at all. And your hybrid workforce is behind this approach, as 72% of knowledge workers saying a password-less environment is at least moderately important to them. Many organizations are also realizing the security limitations of VPNs, which have security shortfalls while also slowing the performance of cloud apps. Now that there are better security alternatives to VPNs, your organization can safely transition away from them.

Lean into the security visibility enabled by cloud-based analytics

Even the most well-equipped and security-savvy remote workers cannot shoulder all the security responsibility for your organization. This makes it vital you empower your IT team with the end-to-end visibility they need to protect your digital workspace and cloud infrastructure. The best way to do this is adopting an analytics solution that helps IT rapidly evaluate risks from and to remote workers. A strong analytics solution can analyze data points like usernames, time stamps and source IP addresses to immediately identify high-risk users and activities.

However, not all analytics solutions provide the end-to-end visibility and rapid remediation you require. Look for analytics solutions that can easily integrate with your entire infrastructure, which ensures you don’t miss key data sources from all users, endpoints, and networks. It’s also important for your analytics solution to leverage machine learning, as this enables your security solution to learn from how users work to create behavioral models for each employee. This empowers your security to be more proactive, as it can instantly flag suspicious behavior and freeze access before a breach occurs.

Strengthening remote work security is everyone’s responsibility

Security threats are a risk to your entire organization, not simply one department or employee. This in mind, it’s vital to increase the security IQ of every employee in your organization by teaching them how to recognize new threats, leverage the right tools, and make smart decisions. The result is the creation of a thriving security culture where everyone takes responsibility for protecting company data, personal information, and each other.

REPORT

Learn more about the state of security in our hybrid work world by reading this report.

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