Remote work: Moving from a reinforced castle to a grass hut

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Remote work: Moving from a reinforced castle to a grass hut
Remote work cast cybersecurity into the spotlight.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

There still some doubt over what exactly the future workplace looks like.

Many organisations are happy for employees to spend minimal time in the office, while others feel there’s no replacement for physical collaboration.

Either way, it’s clear remote-working will in some capacity, form a part of the new way of working; according to research from PwC, three quarters of Australians say their ideal work environment is a mix of remote and in-person working. And it’s not hard to see why, remote working has its benefits; most notably, the flexibility it provides employees, which in turn, has an impact on morale. On the other hand, it brings its own set of risks and challenges—in particular, cybersecurity.

Adequately addressing remote-work cybersecurity risks

Most people and businesses have had more than a year to adapt to remote work, but have they properly addressed the cybersecurity risks?

At the beginning of Australia’s first round of lockdowns, many businesses were forced to operate with a remote workforce. As part of this shift, many business leaders addressed cybersecurity issues as a priority—and rightly so. However, many implementations were short-term solutions that have now transpired into permanent arrangements.

The shift to remote work has ultimately seen entire workforces go from operating within a reinforced castle (i.e. the office, where everyone works off a single, secure network) to individual grass huts (i.e. the home, where people use home Wi-Fi with minimal security). This means the level of security assured in the office, cannot be easily and simply replicated at home.

Making remote work a permanent success

So, for remote work to be a successful and permanent fixture, organisations must ensure they have the security of the reinforced castle, despite employees being in grass huts. This means overhauling your cybersecurity strategy; and not only implementing cybersecurity infrastructure to protect against attacks but having a deeper understanding of each employee’s setup including the devices connected into the network and the level of security on home connections.

In addition, as part of a renewed strategy, businesses must look at developing a cyber-aware culture within their organisation. That is to say, a culture where employees understand the techniques and tactics of cybercriminals, and how to avoid falling victim to their attacks. This can be achieved by implementing a regular training program that educates employees and tests their ability to snuff out attacks.

Cybersecurity has always been important. However, remote work cast cybersecurity into the spotlight as many business leaders realised just how important it is. With this in mind, it’s imperative businesses don’t continue to operate with band-aid solutions that were originally implemented for short-term purposes. Failure to review and overhaul cybersecurity strategies will ensure organisations never fully return to the reinforced castle and continue to work out of grass huts, until cybercriminals wreak havoc.

Shaun Witherden is Senior Channel Development Manager, Datto.

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