Cisco shares five tips to enable resilience everywhere so you can empower work anywhere

As the world transitions into a more permanent hybrid workforce, the flexibility brings both new-found benefits and challenges for employers and workers.

Cisco’s hybrid workplace survey found that 77 per cent of larger organisations are looking to increase their work flexibility, while 58 per cent of employees plan on working from home for eight or more days each month.

The US intelligence service, the FBI, found that cybersecurity attacks increased more than three-fold as a result of the transition to remote work in 2020.

In addition, experts predict that ransomware will cost the world up to £15bn in 2021 and is expected to be a greater concern with the hybrid work model.

As a result, you will need to rapidly scale your security to account for the massive influx of remote and hybrid workers while simplifying and unifying your IT systems.

Whether your team is working in the office, remotely, or somewhere in-between, you do not need to compromise your security for more flexibility.

Here are five simple tips to maintain your hybrid workforce culture while securing your workers and company assets.

Educate your workforce to embrace secure work practices

Workers expect technology will follow them wherever they go – but having flexible locations exposes them (and your organisation) to threats in new ways.

That is why IT and security teams need to ensure the hybrid experience is secure at every endpoint by educating users about safe practices and potential hazards.

Key elements to focus on include the importance of adopting security-centric practices such as learning to identify phishing attacks, strong password policies and keeping software up to date.

Verify the person is who they say they are

Relying on traditional means of user verification, ie username and password, is risky given that phishing and credential theft are still the top forms of social-driven breaches. Research shows that 80 per cent of breaches are linked to stolen credentials.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a simple, first layer of security all businesses need before they can grant access to company assets.

Think of MFA as something you know (your username or password) and something you have (your phone) to verify your identity and device health.

Enable secure access from anywhere

If you aren’t already, leverage security tools that bring users in to your on-premises security and/or move security out to the user with the cloud.

A virtual private network (VPN) provides a safe tunnel between users and applications so workers can stay productive and connected when they are on the road or working from home.

It helps ensure only approved users get in by providing the right level of security, without compromising the user experience.

Defend against security threats at any entry point

The average organisation is still concerned about cloud security. Add to that the rising number of attacks that target the endpoint (devices like desktops, laptops, and mobiles) and it is clear to see that having a first line of defence at the domain name system layer, and a last line of defence at the endpoint for threats that slip through – is an imperative.

The first layer blocks domains associated with malicious behaviour before they get into your network or contains malware if it is already inside, while the last layer protects against more advanced threats.

Unify your security through a simple, integrated platform

Do not patchwork your security with point products and disparate user experiences. Make security easy and effective through SecureX – a seamlessly integrated, built-in platform that connects your Cisco Secure products together with your infrastructure.

The portal keeps your data safe wherever your employees work – allowing you to enable security everywhere and empower anywhere.