Steps to Increase Security for Hybrid Workers

Hybrid work environments are promoting flexibility for the workforce as companies adjust to this extended period of remote working. While some organizations are testing the waters of returning to the office, most employees are continuing to split time between the office and working from home. 

While hybrid work can increase productivity and employee satisfaction, it can also create security risks as employees use email as a primary source of communication and rely on endpoints, such as mobile devices and laptops, to perform their work.  

 Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure you create a safe and secure hybrid work environment for your employees: 

 1) Educate your hybrid workforce. 

Employees can be your greatest security liability or your greatest security asset. Workers may become frustrated with security as they jump through many hoops to access information. They may also unwittingly expose your company to risk by falling for phishing attempts.  

 Educating employees about security awareness will help empower them to recognize suspicious emails and prevent them from clicking on links and attachments that are infected with malware. 

 2) Promote a Zero Trust approach to security. 

In a hybrid work environment, the Zero Trust approach to security makes the most sense. Zero Trust security, with its principles of never trust; always verify, protects your hybrid workplace from internal and external threats. Every attempt to access information, whether from your on-site systems or from remote endpoints, is evaluated to prevent unauthorized access.  

 Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an essential part of a Zero Trust approach because it restricts access using several forms of verification. Security information and event management (SIEM) also promotes Zero Trust by analyzing access attempts and alerting you to threats as a preventative measure. 

3) Build security into the way employees access information. 

Access control can be made flexible enough to protect both remote and in-office employees. A virtual private network (VPN) brings on-premises security to the user, while the cloud moves security out to the remote user. Secure access service edge (SASE) can protect users no matter where they are working, using cloud-native capabilities. 

 4) Protect your email platform. 

Email is a key point of vulnerability for both remote and in-office workers. Hackers often target employees with phishing attacks by using social engineering to impersonate co-workers and authority figures to gain trust. These phishing emails trick employees into clicking on attachments infected with malware. Moving email to the cloud can help protect your hybrid workforce from ransomware and other advanced threats. 

 5) Defend your endpoints. 

Hackers are increasingly attacking the endpoints remote workers depend upon. Your company’s last line of defense is at the endpoint, so you should have full visibility into them, no matter where they are located. Endpoints should be monitored in real time, and you should have the ability to send alerts so any breach can be remediated immediately. 

 Start Securing Your Hybrid Work Environment  

As your workplace environment changes, your company must revise its security strategy. Working with the right security technology partner will ensure you choose the ideal security solutions to protect your hybrid workers. 

 

iConvergence is a Premier Cisco Partner staffed with certified experts. We can work with your company to define steps for implementing a hybrid work security plan. iConvergence can help you with all the Cisco tools you need for hybrid work security, including Cisco Secure, Endpoint, Cisco Umbrella, Cloud Mailbox Defense, AnyConnect and more. 

 

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Tips For Hybrid Work

Despite predictions that companies would be returning to the office, the emergence of new COVID variants has extended the reliance on remote workplaces. Now many organizations are creating hybrid work environments that give employees the flexibility to work from home, the office, or other locations. 

Cisco’s The Rise of the Hybrid Workforce study found that post-COVID, 24% of employees report working from home 15 days or more a month. With employees splitting their time between the office and other work environments, companies must find ways of supporting hybrid work through technology. 

Here are 5 tips on how to create a winning hybrid work environment: 

1) Adopt Intelligent Workplace Technology 

Collaboration tools can be enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) for a remote work experience that rivals working in the office. AI can be used for reducing noise, eliminating administrative friction, prioritizing tasks, and accessing information when it is needed. An intelligent web conferencing platform can use automation to increase employee satisfaction, whether at home or in the office. 

 2) Create Secure Access Controls 

Business information must be protected whether an employee is working on-site or off-site. Identity authentication and access controls prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information using the company network. Access controls can be set according to the employee’s job level, so only the appropriate information is at a worker’s disposal. These access controls should be consistent no matter where employees are working from. 

 3) Support Collaboration 

To create a productive hybrid work environment, companies must provide a range of collaboration tools. Collaboration encourages employees to innovate by working on projects together. Collaboration tools, such as web conferencing, chat, and file sharing, allow employees to work together as if they are in the same room, even if they are working remotely. A unified communications (UC) solution will have all the collaboration tools your employees need to communicate in the ways they prefer. 

 4) Enhance Visibility 

Technology should provide real-time visibility into distributed applications, as well as security, network, user, and service performance, for the best user experience. Visibility tools include performance management and insights correlation from infrastructure to code. Real-time analytics and alert thresholds will allow you to monitor network performance and troubleshoot any problems. These tools should grant visibility into a distributed workforce. 

 5) Provide Support for a Variety of Workspaces 

Technology should support a blend of home, individual, collaborative, and common workspaces. Web conferencing platforms with video should provide every individual workspace with secure login, contactless join, and access to your calendar and virtual workspaces.  

 Common spaces need technology that enables safe, intelligent, and engaging use of space across buildings and shared spaces. Video and collaboration tools support meeting room and jump spaces for scheduled and ad hoc meetings through intelligent booking, contactless join and control, voice commands, in-room controls, and notifications and alerts. 

 Put Hybrid Work Tips Into Action 

Technology can enhance the experience of working from home and in the office. Working with the right technology partner will help you get on the path to designing the best hybrid work environment for your employees. 

 As a Cisco Premier Partner with Advanced Certifications in Security, Collaboration, and Data Center, iConvergence is equipped to help your company design a successful and custom hybrid work environment. We believe in delivering results-driven technology solutions. Our team can work with you to decide which leading solutions will empower you to make the most of your hybrid workplace.