Remote working needs good security

Adam Philpott at McAfee Enterprise explains that for hybrid working to be a success, cyber-security needs to be a priority

Covid-19 has completely transformed how we live our lives, with many changes expected to outlast the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, including the rise in hybrid working.

This should, however, be seen as a positive factor and an opportunity for businesses to thrive. The World Economic Forum claimed that “business leaders who take steps to ensure that they’re making hybrid arrangements as effective and fair as possible will be well-positioned to succeed in the post-COVID era.” 

A critical aspect of these arrangements will be cyber-security, especially given the continuous rise of new threats. As more employees continue to work in a way that suits them, whether this is in the office, on the train, at a coffee shop or from home, businesses must shore up defences to stay ahead of adversaries, but how can they do this? 

Bad habits have serious consequences 

Research from McAfee found that over half of Brits (55%) do not take the same online security measures when on the go as they would at home, making them more vulnerable to cyber-crime. In addition to this, when travelling, almost half (44%) never check if a network is secure before connecting. The stats speak for themselves and show the increasing importance of education regarding cyber-security best practices. 

Humans have the opportunity to be the greatest defence against cyber-attacks, but most are often found to be the weakest link in the chain. Lack of proper training and prioritisation of a strong security posture leave employees vulnerable to accidentally releasing attacks into the business.

By placing an increased focus on education and highlighting the importance of using two-factor authentication, questioning an unknown link and reporting any suspicious activity, organisations can help to reduce these worrying statistics. What’s more, they can also call attention to the drastic consequences that will occur if basic cyber hygiene isn’t promoted. 

Creating awareness of the importance of cyber-security, and training employees on how to be proactive in safeguarding private information, is just as important as building a strong security operations centre. In addition, establishing a culture of risk management and accountability ensures that security becomes part of the business and not an afterthought. 

Having Zero Trust can be a good thing

Following an increased focus on education, businesses must adapt to a Zero Trust mindset to ensure the hybrid working model is as secure as possible. Zero Trust is a shift of network defences toward a more comprehensive IT security model that allows organisations to restrict access controls to networks, applications, and environments, without sacrificing performance and user experience. 

In short, a Zero Trust approach trusts no one. As organisations continue to adopt the hybrid working model, and increase their use of cloud, security teams will find it increasingly difficult to trust or identify who and what should be allowed access to their networks. As a result, the Zero Trust approach should become a vital component of their trust network architecture and enterprise security strategy.

Using intelligence to underpin cyber strategy 

Technologies must also have an essential role to play in shoring up defences as businesses shift working models. Risk intelligence solutions today can automate the process of prioritising threats, predicting which malware campaigns will be launched against the organisation, and pre-emptively improving defensive countermeasures, helping organisations to get one step ahead of cyber adversaries, no matter where the threat comes from.

In addition to this, organisations must adopt flexible architectures that can adapt as needed or based on business demand without bolt-on security. This makes it easier for IT teams to achieve complete data and enterprise protection capabilities, underpinned by a holistic, proactive and open security architecture. 

By taking an intelligence led-approach, businesses can rest easy knowing they have taken the steps needed to bolster their cyber-security strategy to help adapt to change, both now and in the future. 

An opportunity to thrive

As businesses move forward with implementing a more hybrid working environment, the ability to work remotely presents employees with a great opportunity to work flexibly and achieve a better work-life balance.

To make the most of this opportunity, however, businesses need to work with their employees to ensure cyber-security isn’t compromised throughout the transition. They must also make sure that correct measures are in place to protect their business, no matter the threat. 


Adam Philpott is EMEA President at McAfee Enterprise

Main image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

© Business Reporter 2021

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