With most of your workforce still working remotely, cybersecurity and data privacy have never been a higher priority.
Since the shift to a fully work-from-home environment, both employees and businesses have expressed mixed feelings about the future of the workplace experience. Some studies show the change has brought on new challenges when it comes to a healthy work-life balance, with some research showing an increase in time spent actually working.
But longer work hours aren’t the only downfall of remote work — there are also external threats to consider that can put your business data at risk.
Employees are exposed to an increasing number of sophisticated threats that can exacerbate the challenge of managing cybersecurity. With more opportunities to exploit unsecured systems, remote work adds a new layer to IT teams’ efforts to keep sensitive data out of the wrong hands.
These practices aren’t just for the short-term. Over 50% of employees plan to work remotely for part of the workweek after the pandemic, making secure home office technology more critical than ever.
IT leaders need to focus on getting the remote workforce on board in order to secure business information and prevent any attack that could put your data in jeopardy. It's important to stay ahead of emerging trends, like meeting room booking and visitor management systems, so you can adequately prepare your IT strategy to address any potential risks.
Here’s what you need to know about home office technology and cybersecurity in 2021.
According to TechTarget's IT Priorities survey, 44% of CIOs were already planning to boost their spending for security and risk management prior to COVID-19, in response to the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks.
Because cloud-based software is easier to access, manage, and maintain, many enterprises adopted SaaS solutions prior to the pandemic. According to the survey, 41% of companies planned to invest in cloud software and 29% expected to spend less on on-premises systems.
That's because moving away from legacy technology and toward cloud migration cuts costs and increases productivity.
But now that most people work remotely, they need access to documents from any location and on any device. That puts IT teams under more pressure to minimize any vulnerability that could put sensitive information at risk.
Working from home increases the likelihood of your employees using their personal devices to access customer and company information, potentially from unsecured Wi-Fi networks. There's also the potential of a lost or stolen device that could give unauthorized access to business data.
Without interventions now, it will be difficult to maintain the integrity of and trust in the emerging technology on which future global growth depends.
That was the consensus in the World Economic Forum's November 2020 report, "Future Series: Cybersecurity, emerging technology and systemic risk" by more than 100 leading security experts. They also stated that "… the increased complexity, pace, scale, and interdependence shown by our forward look at technological trends will overwhelm many current defenses." While the push toward adopting home office technology and flexibility is positive, return-to-work plans will likely involve collecting sensitive health information, such as health risk factors and symptoms.
To comply with privacy laws and maintain your brand’s reputation, it’s important to consider how you’ll protect this information during your return.
Use this time to strengthen the security of a work-from-home model to ensure an easy transition from working fully remote to much more flexible work. Don’t wait until sensitive information from your workplace analytics is at risk to act and set yourself up for success now.
Here's how to keep valuable company information protected and minimize the risk of employees' home office technology.
Even as the workforce starts returning to the office, you'll still need to maintain tighter home office technology security measures because experts believe the future of work will be hybrid — involving a mixture of working remotely and coming into the office.
Cybersecurity is a team effort and you need employees to assist you in keeping their home office technology — and all the business data it contains — secure to protect the business.
Your company will have greater confidence in your ability to accomplish this by communicating why security is important, how information can be exposed from their home office technology, and what they can do to prevent a data breach.
To bring employees back safely, you will play a key role in keeping buildings and systems secure and helping remote employees stay productive by making sure they have the tools and hardware they need to get their work done.
Make sure you're prepared to implement the technology you need and then incorporate these best practices around your building access control, room scheduling, and desk booking policies. That way you can mitigate the risk ahead of time, and keep company information, as well as employee and visitor data, safe.
Looking for more resources about IT's role in a safe return? Get your copy of our latest e-book, "How IT Leaders Can Support a Safe Return to Work."