Hybrid work, which involves splitting the working week between in-office and remote work time, is the new normal that many companies have been adapting to after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis forced them to work remotely to continue providing services.
A recent study indicates that, in fact, 58% of companies have been encouraged to promote a hybrid return to the office. In addition, it estimates that 48% of employees will be following a hybrid or remote model in the next two years.
These estimates suggest that the hybrid model is here to stay, but what does this mean for cybersecurity?
The 5 security challenges of the new work model
1. Extended attack surfaces:
With employees working out of the office, companies have a larger area to protect. In some cases, flexibility in the work model can increase the number of endpoints, networks, and software, which adds to the workload of the teams handling cybersecurity for these organizations and can stretch resources thin.
2. Shortage of security talent:
Problems in obtaining qualified personnel can affect the way a company protects remote workers. As a result, outsourcing security to MSPs has grown. These services need reliable technologies that help them optimize their resources to continue delivering the best service to their customers.
3. Less supervision by the security personnel:
The very nature of remote work shifts some system access, network traffic, and data outside conventional company perimeters, which can become a barrier to security monitoring. Organizations struggle to extend monitoring to all devices within the network but often fail to achieve the desired visibility.
4. Susceptibility to phishing attacks:
Phishing continues to be a latent threat to companies. With workers away from the physical office, the risk is heightened. Employees rely more heavily on email and may be more susceptible to a well-designed phishing attack disguised as a legitimate business request.
5. Vulnerabilities in devices:
Devices that enable remote work must have the required patches installed, as they can be a gateway to corporate networks.
Cybersecurity solutions designed for distributed enterprises
Since implementing the hybrid working model, MSPs are facing these new cybersecurity challenges to protect their customers' corporate networks. New targeted security solutions are required to address these issues and achieve the desired results.
WatchGuard has launched a line of Firebox desktop appliances to meet this need. Fast processing and increased memory deliver unified security protection against the latest network security threats for remote and distributed enterprise environments. These devices enable MSPs to protect their customers' locations, remote devices, office equipment, and retail point-of-sale software, addressing the cybersecurity challenges caused by employees leaving physical office spaces.
One point to note is that MSPs can obtain various simplified management experiences locally and in the WatchGuard Cloud. These appliances also make it easy to extend an SD-WAN from a corporate network to a remote location without requiring extensive configuration while incorporating enterprise-class security services such as ThreatSync, APT Blocker (sandboxed malware detection), and IntelligentAV, which gives devices an advantage when defending against advanced threats.
With zero-touch provisioning, MSPs can deploy and configure devices, update firmware, and apply policies after a remote user activates a device, as well as quickly manage and configure the SD-WAN, via the Cloud-based platform, from remote locations.
Hybrid work is here to stay, so it is necessary to adapt to this format's new security requirements. In our blog Hybrid work is only feasible with unified cybersecurity, we highlight the advantages of addressing the unique cybersecurity challenges simply and efficiently through a single consolidated platform.