PLUS: WFH, WFA, Hybrid: Why the New Workplace Reality Has Companies Rethinking Their Cybersecurity
The risks associated with WFH are amplified when the move is made to WFA—because it includes not only our home base but also frequently working on the road at customer locations, airports, coffee shops, and just about anywhere with wired or wireless connections.
The elements that build for security and privacy that may normally be available in a controlled corporate physical environment setting with defined physical barriers are routinely obliterated in WFA environments. And the risks associated with WFH are amplified when the move is made to WFA. This is because it includes not only our home base but also frequently working on the road at customer locations, airports, coffee shops, and just about anywhere with wired or wireless connections.
"Adapting to working from home was a challenge to cybersecurity personnel everywhere, but the growing trend of working from anywhere entails a new set of threats to consider," adds Gurinaviciute. "Working from anywhere usually means using unencrypted public Wi-Fi, which can lead to information being intercepted, malware being distributed. There is an array of ways in which hackers exploit unsecured public networks, and businesses have to adapt their cybersecurity strategies accordingly."
Adapting Cybersecurity Protocols
The consequences of poor cybersecurity hygiene while working remotely can include anything from compromised sensitive data to unauthorized access to the organization's infrastructure. Secure communications while working remotely can be ensured by the combination of technical solutions and controls with proper employee operations security (OPSEC).
"Typically, when it comes to securing your teleworkers, the first item on the agenda is developing a corporate policy. This policy should outline what's acceptable in a remote working environment, how data is handled, what levels of authorization are available, etc. Risk-based decisions can also be made depending on the types of devices employees use for teleworking (for example, company-issued devices, personal laptops or smartphones, etc.). Devices that haven't been issued specifically by the company should be subject to more stringent controls," says Gurinaviciute.
Since every remote employee is a potential threat to the integrity of a given company's data, businesses are shifting their cybersecurity strategies away from the castle-and-moat approach. Previously, companies supposed it is enough to have a robust, perimeter defense-oriented approach to cybersecurity. Now, network security solutions based on the Zero Trust principle are replacing traditional, static defense strategies.
In the Zero Trust framework, the given network is protected by granting users and devices access to only those parts of the network that are essential to their task. In such a system, every user is authenticated before being allowed to access the needed data through an encrypted tunnel. Because of this, even if a device gets compromised, it can't cause network-wide damage.
Organizations that have Zero Trust-based system in place enhance their cybersecurity in three key areas - secure access, secure browsing, and increased cybersecurity training opportunities.
Adds the NordLayer expert: "First, a comprehensive security framework of this kind allows the remote employees to safely connect to the company network without putting the whole network at risk.
“Second, web browsing becomes considerably safer, allowing cybersecurity personnel to ensure employee browsing habits are not potentially harmful to the company.
“Finally, due to the automated nature of Zero Trust-based systems, managers gain more time to educate their personnel on best cybersecurity practices, which is crucial because defrauding humans is one of the chief enablers of successful cyberattacks."
A SHIFT IN WORK LOCATION SEES A SURGE IN THE USE OF BUSINESS VPNs
As the coronavirus crisis has intensified, most businesses have commendably followed government advice to enable their employees to work from home. NordVPN Teams has discovered this mass shift in work location has caused a huge surge in the use of business virtual private networks (VPN).
What is a business virtual private Network?
A business VPN is a network of computers that are virtually linked together to allow those granted access the ability to securely send as well as receive files, data and applications from anywhere possible.
NORDVPN Teams Business VPN Usage Growth
Since Wednesday 11th March 2020, the US has experienced a 65.93% growth in the use of business VPNs. Amazingly, business VPN usage in Netherlands (240.49%), Canada (206.29%) and Austria (207.86%) has skyrocketed beyond 200%. Opposingly, Italy has had the most modest growth in business VPN usage at just 10.57%. It is the US which has seen the biggest time extension of the normal working day – adding an extra three hours – from 8 to 11 hours. In countries such as Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria—daily working hours have risen by an average of one hour. The working hours in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Canada have on average increased by two hours per a day.
Desktop and Mobile App Usage Growth
Mass remote working in the US has contributed towards an increase in the use of both desktops (94.09%) and mobile apps (0.39%). Notably, desktop usage in Austria has grown the most at a colossal 161.15%. Whilst mobile app usage in Netherlands has soared to 44.09%. Surprisingly, Belgium has seen a 16.67% decline in mobile app usage, though desktop usage has flourished by 96.63%.
For more information, please visit https://nordvpnteams.com/ who commissioned the data.
NordLayer is an adaptive network access security solution for modern businesses — formerly NordVPN Teams, we help organizations of all sizes to fulfil scaling and integration challenges when building a modern secure remote access solution. Moving towards an ever-evolving SASE framework, our solutions are quick and easy to implement with existing infrastructure, hardware free, and designed with ease of scale in mind, NordLayer meets the varying growth pace and ad-hoc cybersecurity requirements of agile businesses and distributed workforces today. For more information, please visit https://www.nordVPN.com.
ABOUT NordVPN Teams
NordVPN Teams is a cybersecurity solution for business from the world's most advanced VPN service provider NordVPN. NordVPN Teams has a full range of features to ensure convenience and powerful digital protection for enterprises, remote teams, and freelancers. NordVPN Teams offers advanced 256-bit encryption, fixed IP, site to site connection, unsecured traffic prevention, automatic connection on Wi-Fi networks, and 24/7 customer support with a dedicated manager. NordVPN Teams is available on all major platforms. For more information, please visit https://nordvpnteams.com/ who commissioned the data.