Work from home (WFH) has moved from a side effect of covid mitigation necessity to the new working normal for a lot of high-profile companies (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Obviously not every company in the country can or wants to go full-time WFH, nor should they. But, some version of increased flexibility and/or hybrid working arrangements are going to become the new normal going forward for most industries and companies. While this may be great for workers (and can truly increase productivity if WFH vs. in-office time is apportioned appropriately), it also presents numerous challenges and potential headaches for company leadership when it comes to not only enabling and supporting their employees in this new environment, but also keeping these remote working environments safe from increased security threats that are far harder to manage than concentrated physical office spaces.
The death of the firewall?
Most security challenges in the new WFH hybrid normal come from the environment having no perimeters. Historically, your company firewall was the primary barrier between your employees and external threats. Obviously, with so many employees now operating outside the firewall, each endpoint that connects to any network must be managed differently.
Tanium, a security provider that recently released a detailed survey of IT decision makers, concluded that our “distributed workforce means the end of the network perimeter as we know it and the rise of the endpoint … But managing and securing endpoints requires visibility and control. You can’t secure what you can’t see. As the research reveals, it is critical that IT teams continue to invest in solutions that break down data silos and enable automation to ensure manageability, security and insight for their endpoints.”
To be fair, Tanium is an endpoint security provider, so it does behoove them to highlight this particular risk. But, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong, either. In the survey they conducted, there were a host of risky behaviors CIOs and IT managers saw within the new WFH set up:
- Storing sensitive data was at the top of the list, cited by 41%.
- Clicking on phishing emails was listed by 38% of those surveyed
- Inappropriate administrator access: 37%
- leaking confidential data: 37%
- Using shadow IT or unapproved apps: 35%.
- (Other risky behaviors include the use of chat or conference apps, the use of third-party file sharing sites, the use of personal devices, and the failure to update software)
While robust VPN solutions can surely help mitigate endpoint threats, it not only requires sufficient throughput for things like video chats (not always easy to guarantee), but also requires you to get your employees to adhere to VPN connection protocols unwaveringly (again, not always easy to ensure). That’s where a managed IT provider can help.
It’s not easy securing endpoints on your own if you’re a small or midsize business. If you don’t have dedicated IT experts on staff, building things like endpoint-level security across your entire network can seem like a daunting task (and it can be!). That’s part of why we exist — we take all the guesswork and stress out of building out remote networks securely. You focus on running or growing your business while we make sure you’re safe and secure with little-to-no downtime. Give us a call today if you want help in securing your new WFH normal for years to come.