How robust is your organisation’s cybersecurity in the new hybrid workplace?

With many businesses employing flexible working for the long-term, Kelly Green, product manager at Intercity Technology, discusses the security implications and some solutions for your organisation

Last Updated: 10 Nov 2021

It’s clear: home-working is here to stay. As organisations throughout the UK make a gradual return to the office, a recent ONS survey showed that just 48% expect to do so on a full-time basis, with many businesses and staff considering a hybrid working model split across the office and, well, wherever. 

Yet, this long-term approach poses several challenges for businesses when it comes to cybersecurity.

The pandemic forced companies to adopt new ways of working at pace. Businesses had to ensure continued collaboration and access to important documents. This meant quickly getting up to speed with Zoom or Teams, using online storage drives, as well as an increased reliance on file-sharing platforms. 

But the speed at which organisations had to pivot left many open and vulnerable to cyber-attacks, especially those without robust data security plans in place.

This poses a key question: are organisations fully equipped to continue with a remote model, or do they need to take swift action to address their cybersecurity vulnerabilities?

Rising cyber threats
Since the first lockdown, Government data showed that more than a third of UK businesses reported cybersecurity breaches. Often, these were attributed to scam emails being opened and unsafe links being clicked or downloaded. 

What’s more, a recent report from cloud service provider VMWare revealed a 900% rise in ransomware attacks compared to the first half of 2020, and 76% of global cybersecurity professionals said attacks increased due to employees working remotely. 

Clearly, there is work to be done. Last year, the Verizon DBIR Report found that nearly one-in-four cybersecurity breaches were down to human error, with many workers simply unaware of the potential hazards involved in using personal devices for confidential work matters.  

Customer data, payment details and intellectual property are prime targets. Unsecure home networks, lost or stolen mobile devices used for work, or the failure to update security systems are all easy avenues for data breaches. 

With Government data showing that 77% of SMEs worry that they will be targeted by cyberattacks, businesses must act now to ensure their workforce can access business-critical data and apps on their mobiles securely, at any time and from any location. 

For smaller organisations, with limited or no dedicated IT support, finding an affordable and automatic way to roll-out secure devices is key.  

Secure device management solutions are an ideal way forward for SMEs. Services that support organisations in the protection and management of mobile devices, such as Android Enterprise Essentials, built by Google, offer critical security features that can be applied to manage mobile devices and data, out of the box.  

Default features such as ‘always on’ malware protection and screen lock enforcement – designed to protect sensitive information – are pre-installed, with no need for time consuming and complicated set-ups. Importantly, these features cannot be overwritten by the employee. 

Implementing Android Enterprise Essentials is straightforward for businesses and the end-user, it requires no training and is easyily managed through a streamlined online portal. Employees simply need to set up a mandatory PIN code, and they’re all set. The tool also eliminates the chance of employees downloading malware through sideloading of apps, as it will only allow app downloads through the protected Google Play store. 

Mobile device management is a great way to offer staff more flexibility to work as and when they need to, in any location. Gone are the days when your people were restricted to desktops, with the possibility of securely accessing files and emails via handset devices now viable.

Plus, if an employee’s phone is lost or stolen, businesses can remotely wipe work-related data from the device with Android Enterprise Essentials through a simple setting which can be activated to avoid data breaches, impersonations and ransom requests, putting a swift end to the potential fallout that could be caused. 

The tool also offers data encryption and implements permanent policies that remain in place even after a factory reset is performed for staff changeovers. 

Despite this, the International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that currently, only 15% of devices sold globally to businesses each year are managed by a mobile device management security solution. As a result, the majority often lack protection, opening businesses up to costly and time-consuming cyber threats such as theft, phishing attacks and viruses. 

Data breaches can cost time, money and reputation
A huge amount of disruption can be caused by security breaches, whether via data leaks or malware attacks, and the costs involved – both financial and resource-based – can add up, with the average cost in the UK reaching £2,670 last year, according to a UK Government survey. 

With easy-to-use, secure management solutions readily available, delivering protective measures for businesses can be a straightforward task. What’s more, investing in a robust security platform provides reassurance to clients and partners, providing peace of mind that their confidential information is safe in your hands, and that your business is operating in compliance with GDPR guidelines.

As the economy and workforces recover from the economic downturn presented by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to protect against cybersecurity issues that could impact the stability of the business.

To find out more, go to intercity.technology/essentials

 

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