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The global pandemic of 2020 caused a significant disruption in the way many organizations conduct business. In the midst of the pandemic work environment and beyond, remote and hybrid remote-workplace environments have clearly become a new norm for many organizations. As welcome a change as this has been for many employees, this shift presents serious cybersecurity challenges for employers.
Security chiefs must now find ways to support a complex and changing mix of remote and workplace workers, with company-provided and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) models. Hackers have taken advantage of the sudden shift to insecure home networks and poor security controls in corporate networks accessed by remote workers, and attacks are on the rise. Advanced “weapons-grade” hacking techniques and tools have been developed to exploit new loopholes and vulnerabilities, and businesses of all sizes have been affected.
Consider these statistics:
With remote and hybrid work, workers have more autonomy. With that, the risks of employees letting others use their work devices, downloading software not approved by IT, and using personal devices for work rises substantially, as do the corresponding risks of security breaches for each of these behaviors. According to HP World Security, the percentage of global IT decision makers who believe employees have increased their company’s risk of a security breach ranges from 85% to 88% for each of these risks.
Other, similar risks include computers that have been sitting idle without security patch updates, computers that sometimes connect to the internet without the protection of the corporate network, and computers that connect to smart home devices. Employees on the road or in coffee shops connecting to public wireless networks also presents a particularly high risk.
Here are 8 steps every small-to-midsize business (SMB) should take in 2021 and beyond to minimize vulnerabilities to cybersecurity attacks, especially in remote and hybrid workplaces:
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing cybersecurity with the new hybrid and remote work arrangements. With increasing levels of intricacy, most SMBs cannot afford to go it alone, nor to manage physical IT environments. Virtualized cloud-based managed applications and cybersecurity services offer the necessary solutions to support the steps above in the new post-pandemic paradigm.
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