The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adopt a remote work model that continues day-to-day operations while ensuring the health and safety of its employees. This adoption has added a host of new vulnerabilities with employees working from home or in a public space with open wi-fi hotspots. Organizations now wrestle with a new paradigm, forcing IT departments to create or expand an infrastructure that can handle full-time remote workers and data, and develop a long-term cybersecurity strategy. This larger digital footprint raises the threat of cyber attacks.
Along with a new infrastructure and policies, organizations are now required to increase cybersecurity education. Employees are caught in between adjusting to a new remote work environment that replaces impromptu meetings and water cooler conversations with video conference calls. With nearly all communication being digital and web-based, a new threat has evolved – the “disrupted employee.”
Unlike a malicious employee who actively seeks out to cause harm in the workplace, the disrupted employee follows the rules, but due to new work arrangements their daily activities can cause security conflicts. One of those conflicts can come from a less-than-secure home office. Home networks lack the higher-grade network security that offices typically provide. A shared family computer used for sensitive office communications and documents can introduce a number of vulnerabilities, and hackers have many ways to take advantage of these insecure workstations. Disrupted employees will unknowingly search for workarounds to reach the needed resources, and this can perpetuate the problem.
Data security is now more important than ever. It is important for all organizations to adopt and educate a security policy that incorporates all employees, both at home and at the office. Beyond full-time remote workers, the latest trend in 2021 is the hybrid workplace, where remote and local employees are connecting to enterprise resources.
Microsoft has resources to help organizations navigate the new landscape of remote security, including deployment guides and enterprise cloud security products such as Azure Active Directory.
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