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Hybrid work is here to stay, but security concerns are high

Most employees favor a hybrid work model while business leaders worry about home internet security and leakage of sensitive company data. Those employers who feel more confident about infosecurity use MFA and VPN.

91% of employees are in favor of a hybrid work environment. However, they experience a loss of productivity due to network issues. Meanwhile, some employers worry about online issues, such as home internet security, leakage of sensitive information, and cyber attacks, a recent survey by trusted identity, payments, and data protection company Entrust showed.

The company surveyed 1,500 business leaders and 1,500 general employees from 10 countries. The survey found that approximately 80% of companies are using hybrid work models or operating remotely. With the new COVID-19 variants spurring fear and uncertainty, the hybrid work model is here to stay.

“If organizations are going to use hybrid work models successfully over the long term, then they will need to further invest in their security strategy,” the report reads.

89% of leaders said they feel confident their company’s data is secure when people work outside the office. Their companies use security measures, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and virtual private networks (VPNs). Some enterprises also use single sign-on and passwordless tech to ensure security.

“But there’s a contradiction here. Leaders may believe company data is protected with standard solutions. Yet leaders cited the security of home internet connections, leaked sensitive company information, and cyberattacks from bad actors as their top security concerns — all of which are closely tied to data remaining secure outside the office and potential challenges to the hybrid work model,” the report reads.

They are also worried about poor data protection, lack of privacy at home, phishing attacks, and poor password hygiene. Meanwhile, more than half of surveyed employees reported the loss of productivity due to network access issues.

“Leaders are taking steps to maintain internal security as they incorporate a hybrid model, with 51% rolling out one-time password technology, 40% utilizing biometric authentication and 36% using mobile identity verification, citing the desire to stay ahead of hackers and protect their internal data,” the report reads.

As companies start bringing workers back to the office, the ongoing pandemic raises the stakes of physical security to include health, safety, and infosecurity. Enterprises are not only worried about the spread of COVID-19 but protecting confidential information, as well. It has been widely reported that coming back to work introduces a whole new set of challenges.

“Cybercriminals have continued to adapt their working practices to exploit the shift to hybrid working, targeting organizations’ supply chains and network links to partners to achieve maximum disruption,” Maya Horrowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research Products at Check Point Software, said.

Security teams should consider updating their cyber risk register to properly account for the new threat landscape posed by a remote or hybrid work environment.

Business leaders claim they have offered additional data security training to address the risks.

“Fortunately, it appears that the introduction of hybrid work has resulted in a step in the right direction for workplace data protection. In fact, while 81% of leaders said their company has offered employees training on data security, the overwhelming majority (86%) said it was offered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating a trend towards enhanced data security,” the report reads.

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