How to Manage a Hybrid Work Environment: Security Risks & Advantages
Over the last few years, COVID-19 has triggered a seismic shift in the way businesses operate, leaving many executives questioning the future of work. Many organizations were encouraged to rethink traditional work models and how they should evolve to meet the needs of the modern workforce.
But as the pandemic eases and restrictions continue to lift, companies that once had a thriving office-centric culture are hesitant about going fully remote. Fortunately, the hybrid working environment option offers the best of both worlds, giving teams the flexibility to divide their time between home and the office.
However, as with any new experiment, there are pros and cons that must be considered.
What are the security risks for a hybrid work model?
Even part-time, working from home means a greater reliance on technology. But, the rush to give teams the choice to work remotely often meant that security wasn’t immediately top of mind. Unfortunately, roughly 30% of companies have seen a sharp rise in the number of cyberattacks since the early days of the pandemic.
When people work from two different places, frequently utilizing two different sets of company-provided equipment, this gives hackers double the opportunity to gain access to your network and steal valuable data.
Here are some of the most prevalent security challenges that come with a hybrid environment:
Unsecured home network connection
While most end users remember to perform updates and install antivirus software on their own devices, making updates to their home router software is generally overlooked. Routers that aren’t routinely updated are more vulnerable to security gaps and security risks such as data breaches. In addition to encouraging remote workers to be more aware of suspicious activity, organizations should consider implementing multi-factor authentication for all end-user access.
Lack of virtual private network (VPN)
The purpose of a VPN is to establish a protected connection between your network and another network while masking your device’s IP address and encrypting your data. Unfortunately, people may attempt to bypass the VPN connection if it’s too slow or if the connection suddenly drops. Though these interruptions can be frustrating to deal with, using a company VPN connection will avoid exposing your network to potential security risks.
Targeted ransomware and phishing attacks
According to research from IRONSCALES, more than 80% of organizations around the world have seen a sharp rise in email phishing attacks since March 2020. Phishing scams are designed to trick people into sharing sensitive information or downloading malware on their devices.
Since a hybrid model means you can work from your office, home, or other remote location, hackers are aware that any distraction can lead to poor decision-making. They also know that it isn’t as easy to ask for a second opinion on a suspicious email message the way you can in an office, allowing them to launch more focused assaults. The best way to protect remote workers and their devices is by conducting phishing simulations and training staff on cybersecurity best practices.
Even if your business takes the proper precautions by using VPNs, firewalls, and security software, your information may still be at risk from employees using weak passwords. Instead of breaking through tight security infrastructure, cybercriminals will always aim to target accounts with poor or reused passwords. Maintaining a permanent hybrid work model means strengthening password requirements and mandating credential changes regularly.
Advantages of a hybrid working environment
Moving forward in the post-pandemic world, it’s clear that a hybrid strategy will be the model of choice for many organizations. When planned carefully, combining remote and office work has the potential to yield a variety of benefits:
Increased collaboration and better relationships
The hybrid work model not only allows for face-to-face communication and collaboration but also helps to improve collaboration between employees, in comparison to a solely remote work environment. Allowing employees to communicate and socialize in person will help to facilitate stronger work relationships, and will also help to improve collaboration across departments, teams, and workgroups.
Enhanced work-life balance
Long before the pandemic hit, work-life balance played an important role in healthy working environments. A flexible work arrangement takes work-life balance to the next level. It can help prevent burnouts, minimizes stress, and puts the power back in the hands of the worker, giving them more time to run errands, pick up their kids from school, or take care of anything else that may come up in their personal lives.
Boosted productivity and employee satisfaction
Each business measures productivity differently. In an office-only environment, managers prefer to see everyone at their desks working their allocated hours. With a hybrid work model, employees are able to work in a way that best suits their work-related needs, and performance can judged by their results.
Improved mental health and well-being
For many, working solely from home can be isolating. For others, working in an office setting can be stifling. Affording people the chance to split their time between both places introduces a better alternative for those that have a preference for either type of work.
Managing remote teams while welcoming some staff back to the office can be a daunting endeavor for many businesses. But with a remote device management system, you can make your hybrid working environment easier for your staff and more productive for your organization.
Addigy gives you the tools to seamlessly manage all the Apple devices in your managed networks.
If your current remote device management software wasn’t designed to support Apple devices or fails to keep up with your company’s changing needs, it may be time to consider an IT device management provider like Addigy who can help your organization scale and unlock growth.