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Remote vs. Hybrid - 5 Security Aspects for your Company to Consider with Remote and Hybrid Office Environments

Hybrid and Remote Work

According to a recent Gartner’s forecast, approximately half of all Knowledge Workers work Remotely or in a Hybrid Work Environment in 2022 and 2023. 

With many security measures to consider when assessing your company’s risks around Remote and Hybrid Work Environments, both Remote and Hybrid Work can be secure if proper security measures are in place – we cover 5 important topics below. 

1. Network Security

In an office environment, companies typically have dedicated IT departments that implement security measures, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and secure Wi-Fi networks. These measures help protect against external threats. However, when working remotely, employees rely on their own home networks or public Wi-Fi, which may not have the same level of security. It is crucial for remote workers to take steps to secure their home networks, use virtual private networks (VPNs) for secure connections, and follow best practices to protect sensitive data. 

2. Physical Security

Working in an office provides physical security measures, such as restricted access to the premises, security guards, and surveillance systems. These measures help protect against physical theft or unauthorized access to company resources. In a remote work setting, employees need to ensure the security of their work devices and maintain physical security at their home offices to prevent theft or unauthorized access. 

3. Data Protection

In an office environment, companies have control over the physical infrastructure and can implement security measures to protect data stored on servers and workstations. However, when employees work remotely, the responsibility for data protection shifts to the individual. Remote workers must follow company policies for data handling, encryption, and secure file sharing to minimize the risk of data breaches or unauthorized access. 

4. Device Security

In an office, IT departments often have centralized control over employee devices, ensuring they are properly patched, protected with antivirus software, and configured according to security standards. Remote workers across industries need to take similar precautions with their personal devices, keeping them up to date with security patches, using antivirus software, and employing encryption for sensitive data. 

5. Social Engineering

Remote workers may be more susceptible to social engineering attacks since they are not physically present in a controlled office environment. Scammers may attempt to exploit employees through phishing emails, phone calls, or other methods. It is essential for remote workers to stay vigilant, be aware of common social engineering tactics, and follow proper security protocols. 

. . .

According to a PaloAlto Networks study, the state of Hybrid workspace has evolved, and both models can be secure if proper security protocols are in place and regularly reviewed and updated.  

Remote Work – where employees work entirely from home, or outside the office – can present its own security challenges. Remote Workers may be using personal devices that may not have the same level of security as company-owned devices. They may also be using public Wi-Fi networks that can be compromised by hackers. To mitigate these risks, companies can provide employees with secure devices and require the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to encrypt all data transmitted over public networks.  

On the other hand, Hybrid Work – where employees work both in the office and remotely – can also pose security risks. The increased use of cloud-based services and collaboration tools can create new vulnerabilities, such as unauthorized access to company data or sharing of sensitive information through unsecured channels. Companies can address these risks by implementing strict access controls and training employees in secure collaboration practices. 

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