Why the Hybrid Work Model Increases Risks of Cyber Attacks
August 11, 2021
The hybrid work model is becoming a standard in many businesses, and it describes several work scenarios, including:
- Some employees work in the office all the time while some work at home all the time
- Some employees work in the office all the time while other employees split their time between work and home
- All employees work at home with periodic in-office requirements
The growth of this remote work model was driven by the need for remote work during the pandemic that started in 2020. It is ongoing because businesses find that it is an important tool to keep their organizations operating efficiently.
In addition to needing new tools for supporting remote work, you also need to address the increased cyber security risks that come with hybrid models.
Why Remote Work Leaves Businesses More Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks
With more employees working remotely, cyber security issues need to take top priority for IT leaders. There are several ways in which your business is more vulnerable.
1. Employees Are Using Their Own Devices
Most companies don’t plan to supply computers for their remote workers. When employees use their own devices, their connection into the company network is much less secure than employees working in the office. This provides a perfect opportunity for cyber criminals to gain access to your servers without needing to break through your cyber defenses.
2. Employees Are Using More Third-Party Apps
Third-party apps for productivity and collaboration are proliferating rapidly. If employees can’t meet face-to-face, they need collaboration technology to maintain the same level of interaction. In addition, employees using their own devices may use a variety of apps that an IT team isn’t even aware of.
Unfortunately, many of these third-party apps have very few cyber security tools, and their default settings aren’t always effective. If neither the IT team nor the employees change the app’s default cyber security settings, a new vulnerability is born. In addition, it’s often necessary to reset the cyber security settings every time the software is updated, and that is an easy thing to overlook.
3. Cyber Threats Can Be Ignored by In-House and Remote Workers
A global study¹ looking at cyber risk in companies using a hybrid work force made some disturbing discoveries.
- Do office workers use their work computer for personal tasks? 70% said yes
- Do office workers use their personal laptops for work activities? 69% said yes
- Do remote workers let others use their device? 30% said yes
- Have IT leaders seen an increase in cyber issues?
- 54% saw an increase in phishing
- 56% saw in increase in infections from web browsers
- 44% saw infected devices used to spread an infection throughout the business
- 45% saw infected printers used to start a cyber attack
4. Cyber Security Training Is Often Inadequate
Cyber security training is critical, and it needs to be reinforced regularly. Human error accounts for 95% of cyber security breaches. Without adequate and consistent training, employees are much more likely to fall for things like phishing emails.
Update Your Cyber Security Plans to Protect Your Business
Whether or not you’re using a hybrid work model, it’s always a good idea to update your cyber security plans regularly. But, if you’ve recently instituted a hybrid work model, it’s even more important.
Cyber attacks can bring your business to a halt and can have long term effects. If you aren’t sure whether you have the resources to keep your business safe, don’t hesitate to find out if Access One security as a service could be the customized solution you need.