IT Security With Hybrid Work Operations

IT Security With Hybrid Work Operations

IT Security in Los Angeles With Hybrid Work Operations

The pandemic brought unprecedented changes throughout most industries across the world. One of the most significant obstacles that companies had to overcome was transitioning to operating remotely.

As pandemic-related restrictions began to be lifted, many organizations adopted hybrid models. This is essentially a workflow that incorporates both on-premise and remote work.

However, there are many IT security concerns associated with hybrid work operations that can’t be ignored. Let’s dive deeper into what you need to know.

There Are More Data Access Points Than Ever

As more and more companies adopt hybrid models, the number of access points exponentially increases. This is simply due to the fact that each employee will be required to have their own device to work remotely.

However, you must also consider the existing devices at the brick-and-mortar location. In some cases, this can effectively cause your number of data access points to double or triple.

With this occurrence comes a drastic shift in vulnerability. If not handled correctly, your organization could be put at risk when you allow your employees to work from home. In fact, even a single overlooked device could cause substantial issues.

So, it’s essential that you account for every access point that your company manages. In many cases, this also requires you or your managed IT services Los Angeles based company to extensively audit employee activity at your business to determine any potential issues.

Security Risks Are Increasing

Unfortunately, hackers are fully aware of the opportunities that a hybrid workforce provides them.

This is one of the primary reasons why the cybersecurity industry is estimated to be worth over $10 trillion before the end of this decade. As a result, cybercriminals are painstakingly developing new methods to procure data.

Businesses across virtually every industry will be more at risk than ever. By preemptively understanding this situation, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments to help protect your organization. For instance, you should recognize that all data transmission between remote sources and your company should be fully encrypted.

You should also have complete control over who is able to access certain information. Failure to do so could have catastrophic consequences. In some cases, these could be impossible to recover from.

For example, hackers don’t always simply sell your data after they steal it. They may attempt to extort you by threatening to provide trade secrets to your competitors. Or, they may contact public news outlets and provide them with details of the data breach.

This is something that will alert the public that your network security standards are not up to par.

Compliance Issues May Arise

In many industries, there are certain regulations that must be adhered to at all times.

For example, let’s assume that your business operates within the healthcare sector. You would be bound by the standards imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). Breaching these regulations results in fines, penalties, etc.

More often than not, maintaining compliance involves taking a specific set of actions under most circumstances. This means that you must change the way you manage your organization.

When implementing a hybrid model, you may be required to transmit data to a remote worker that would normally be kept within your office. Transferring this information may actually breach compliance standards in some situations. Unfortunately, there is no universal solution for this issue.

Your course of action will depend on the standards that are in place in your industry. Regardless, it’s essential that you educate yourself on how your hybrid model will affect your compliance. This is the only way you can ensure you will not encounter problems in the future.

Your Employees Are Now Your Biggest Liability

This is an important truth to acknowledge. You will no longer have the amount of control and management that you once had when all of your employees were working at your facility. This means that they are much more liable to make mistakes.

This comes not only in the form of incorrect behavior but also in falling victim to common scams. As previously mentioned, hackers are working harder than ever to take advantage of organizations that employ hybrid models. For example, you can expect employees to receive a much larger number of phishing emails.

These are fraudulent messages that attempt to mislead the recipient into taking a specific action. The reason they are so successful is that they appear to be from a legitimate source. Your employees must also know how to recognize signs of a malware infection and how to determine whether or not a resource is legitimate.

When developing IT security protocol for your business, be sure to take this into consideration. The way you manage your employees will need extra attention when implementing a hybrid model.

The good news is that it shouldn’t take long for you to get competent employees up to speed and prevent issues from arising.

Old Training Methods May Not Be Relevant

What worked in the past will most likely not be sufficient today.

As you might guess, this is due to the fact that hybrid models have never been this prevalent before. As a result, it’s crucial for you to update your training methods to reflect the required changes. For instance, onboarding new employees will require you to educate them on best practices for remote working.

This extends to how they manage data on their computers, what they use company devices for, and how they communicate with others. If any ambiguity is left in this area, you run the risk of having your employees fall short of your expectations. It’s also worth mentioning that you should be willing to make amendments to your training protocol.

New issues may arise, new methods may develop, etc. If you do not readily integrate these into your company training program, your employees may become a more significant liability than they should.

Under circumstances like these, it will be worth it to outsource technical support to professionals to help get you on the right track.

This is especially true for small businesses, as they are often not ready to fully adjust to a hybrid model. Attempting to manage this responsibility on your own could cost more time and resources than it should.

Expect Contingencies to Increase

The advent of hybrid models has made contingencies much more likely to arise.

This means that businesses of almost every type will encounter more issues they have never dealt with before. For instance, imagine a situation where you are dealing with a data breach that occurred while an employee was working remotely on a project.

This project itself was stored on a remote server, but the server log does not detail any interference from a third party. You would need to know under this circumstance that what likely occurred is that one of your workers’ computers had become compromised. If you can’t proactively respond to unexpected scenarios, you run the risk of bearing the full brunt of the consequences.

Unfortunately, even a short period of downtime could cost your company tens of thousands of dollars (or more). If the complications are severe enough, your business may not be able to feasibly recover.

This brings upon numerous issues on its own, such as eroding relationships you have with your investors. Put simply, you should plan for every situation that could realistically occur. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, do your best to research trends in your industry.

You could also take a look at companies of a similar size to yours and see what struggles they have had to deal with in terms of IT security.

Don’t Overlook the Utility of Cloud-Based Software

Cloud-based software is going to provide more useful than ever before for businesses. In order to handle all of the nuances associated with a hybrid workforce, you will need to use the appropriate software.

In context, this means having a centralized platform to monitor employee activity, manage data, and establish secure connections between parties. When integrated correctly, cloud software can allow interactions to be both safer and more efficient.

So, it’s worth reworking your budget in this area if you were not already heavily investing in this type of technology. In the past, it was often a luxury for many small businesses.

Today, however, it’s quickly becoming a necessity.

The good news is that you can a reputable IT support company in downtown Los Angeles who can help ensure that everything is configured correctly. When searching for one to work with, it’s essential that you consider their past reputation with previous clients.

This will help ensure that you choose a firm that is ideal for your company. For example, some providers only have experience working with larger organizations and not small businesses.

What works for bigger companies might not work for you.

Adapt to Changes

It’s no secret that hybrid work operations bring about widespread changes.

In order to thrive in the wake of these changes, you will need to be highly adaptable. It’s also worth noting that your competitors are more than likely doing everything they can to adapt as quickly as possible. You may find yourself left behind in terms of performance or productivity if you encounter security issues.

There is a primary factor to consider in this regard — your brand reputation. If word gets out that you can’t facilitate secure connections or keep your data safe, you will lose clients and customers.

This is also true regardless of what type of business you run. Obviously, nobody would trust a financial institution that is liable to experience a data breach. This is something we all witnessed during the 2017 Equifax incident.

However, let’s assume that you run an independent clothing brand. If people do not feel that their personal/financial information is safe when buying products on your website, they will likely go elsewhere instead. Changes will continue to occur as people begin to optimize hybrid workforces.

Staying educated on these trends will allow you to implement new strategies as quickly as possible.

Safeguard Stored Data

As previously mentioned, you need to have full control over the data access at your organization.

This means there should be some sort of hierarchy implemented to prevent unauthorized parties from interacting with certain information. One of the best policies to implement is known as zero trust. As the name suggests, this means that you should never assume that the individual who is requesting access is a legitimate actor.

All too often, data breaches occur because devices are compromised and a hacker assumes somebody else’s identity. A zero-trust policy would require this person to provide key identifying information to prove that it’s really them.

One of the key components of a zero-trust policy is known as multifactor authentication (MFA). This means that users need to input different forms of verifiable proof instead of just one (such as a password).

Of course, a password could be a key component of the required MFA. The other element could be an access code that is sent to the user’s company email which is presumably something only they would be able to access.

Prioritizing IT Security Is Essential

Otherwise, there’s a chance that you may encounter complications in the future that could put your organization in jeopardy. So, be sure that you keep the above information about IT security in mind when adopting a hybrid model so you can circumvent them.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.