Securing a Hybrid Workforce From Cyber Threats

Maria Sadek
By Maria Sadek | May 27, 2021 11:08:47 AM

The transition into a hybrid workforce has significantly accelerated the need for comprehensive cybersecurity solutions. While most security products protect against external threats, 70% of small and medium-sized business data breaches stem from internal vulnerabilities. The risk increases when employees are working from remote places. Household internet service, laptops, and even IoT devices around the home are targets for criminals. Smart devices can be used to gain entry to the home network, and once compromised, exploit corporate activity. A qualified MSP will work closely with your team to identify these threats and develop a plan of action. Here are four key steps business leaders can take to secure their hybrid workforces and improve their overall security stance.

Security best practices for all devices and accounts

Cybercriminals are always looking for the easiest point of entry into an environment. They usually find success breaching devices that are not protected by an antivirus, don’t have a firewall, or don’t have the latest Microsoft security updates. To reduce potential points of entry, it is recommended that you turn on automatic updates for all your business devices, install an antivirus solution, and configure a firewall. Most modern computers have many of these features enabled by default, but it is a good idea to be vigilant and ensure that these features are enabled across your organization’s entire security environment. Additionally, it is crucial that your hybrid workers’ digital identities are protected. Enforce the use of strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all user devices and accounts.

Security in the cloud

The best way to ensure cloud-based network security in a hybrid work environment is to use Zero Trust architecture which is an approach that assumes there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on physical or network location. Zero Trust requires any entity to verify its identity and trustworthiness before gaining access to the network. Micro-segmentation, a key component of a Zero Trust policy, can be implemented using software-defined networking services and cloud offerings. This kind of strict network traffic control helps ensure a strong security posture across the network. The focus of Zero Trust, however, is multifactor authentication. Two factor (password/PIN and device verification) is becoming the norm, as consumers have become increasingly familiar with processing device verification codes.

Network protection options

Employees are now accessing business data and cloud services from multiple endpoints, across multiple devices, and from multiple locations. Protecting the network amid such dispersed activity will be a high priority. Fortunately, there are multiple options to improve an organization’s network security footing. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) collects and aggregates data about endpoint use and analyzes it for threats. Part of a defense and depth approach to security, EDR doesn’t just monitor and analyze a network, but all endpoints communicating within that network. Deployed directly on the network as an internal platform, it also offers digital forensics to determine points of vulnerability.

There are 3 main tasks that a successful EDR solution is meant to accomplish:

  • Monitor and collect data in real-time to detect threats
  • Analyze the collected data to determine threat patterns
  • Respond immediately to any detected threats, isolate the infected endpoint, and then remove the threat

Educate your hybrid workforce

The best line of defense from security breaches is an informed and educated user base.

By staying vigilant and keeping your user base aware of what to look out for, you can help prevent them from falling victim to the latest cyber threats. Here are some of the most prevalent current cyber threats to keep your workers informed on:

  • Identity compromise. Attackers are always looking to steal your users’ digital identities. In fact, this is the number one point of entry for cyber criminals. Make sure your users are on the lookout for unexpected websites and applications asking for credentials. Also make sure they know to not accept MFA requests if they did not initiate the requests.
  • Phishing attempts. Cybercriminals attempting to break through via phishing attempts may seem old hat, but these types of attacks are still very much in fashion. Users should be wary of offers that are too good to be true, promise a free prize, or pressure a deadline to reply in some way. These types of attacks also regularly use hot button issues to incite fear and drive action.
  • Tech support scams. Tech support scams are a type of cyberattack where hackers will call or message a user and use scare tactics to try and trick you into paying for unnecessary services that supposedly fix a device, operating system, or software problem. If users receive an unsolicited tech support call or message telling them there is something wrong with their computer, they should ignore the message or hang up on the call and contact their trusted IT team to notify them of the event.

 

Managed services are growing increasingly in demand with the new hybrid workforce because they remove much of the daily responsibility for security monitoring as mentioned in this article. Contact Lloyd to learn if your company is properly equipped for safe hybrid working.

Topics: Security, Partner, IT Services, Technology, Leadership, Cyber Security, Cyber Attacks, Microsoft, industry events, IT Management, Collaboration, Remote work, social media, Hybrid, Remote

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