Reboot Cybersecurity in Hybrid Work Era


By Sunish Raghavan, Senior Director, Printing Systems, HP India

The dawn of the hybrid work era has revolutionised how organisations operate, blending remote and on-site work for optimal flexibility. While the advantages of this approach are apparent, it’s essential to acknowledge the new cybersecurity challenges it brings. In India, the recent India Risk Survey report by FICCI and Pinkerton revealed that Cybersecurity is among the top three business threats in the country, emphasising the urgency of addressing these risks.

Hybrid work has introduced a new set of priorities for security teams making it paramount to re-think the cybersecurity strategies needed to prevent, detect, and contain the threats to ensure a productive and secure hybrid work environment. The extended attack surface resulting from the adoption of remote work has become a significant challenge for Indian organisations. The shift to remote work has created a more relaxed environment where employees lack the immediate presence of colleagues for consultation, leading to increased vulnerability to various cyber threats.

One pressing concern is the potential compromise of hybrid employees, exposing them to risks such as phishing attacks, ransomware incidents, and threats targeting unsecured home networks. This risk isn’t limited to home offices; remote workers can be found in various public settings, including cafes, airports, and those fully embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, further amplifying the cybersecurity challenge.  Indian enterprises are recognising the increasing complexity and sophistication of cybersecurity threats. According to IDC, to address these challenges effectively, almost 67% of them are considering outsourcing certain critical components of their security landscape.

Redefining Security Strategies for the Hybrid Workplace Era

 Beyond Perimeter-Based Approaches
The significance of a robust hybrid workplace security strategy cannot be overstated. This emphasises the importance of effective remote device management, especially when remote machines are stolen or lost and are offline or powered down, creating a challenge in securing data on these devices. To mitigate these concerns, a new approach to connecting with remote computers over cellular networks is essential. This method enables device management even when they’re powered down or offline. This functionality can be leveraged to connect with lost or stolen devices, enabling remote lock and wipe capabilities.

 Work securely anytime, anywhere
Equally crucial is empowering employees with hardware-enforced security. Endpoints, such as PCs and printers, have become the epicentre of most attacks, making their protection paramount. Adopting security features above, within, and below the operating system, such as application isolation, is pivotal in safeguarding users without hindering the agility offered by hybrid work. Another critical security measure is the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA). This adds an extra layer of protection when accessing critical systems and sensitive data. By requiring multiple verification steps, MFA makes it significantly harder for unauthorised individuals to gain access. It’s like having an additional lock on the door, ensuring only the right people get in.

Train your workforce adequately
Continuous employee training forms the cornerstone of a strong defence, educating staff about the latest threats and best practices in data protection, and empowering them to respond effectively to security incidents. The preparation for the worst-case scenario is equally important. That’s where a robust incident response plan comes into play. It’s not just about detecting threats; it’s about knowing exactly how to respond when a breach occurs. This plan should outline communication protocols, data recovery strategies, and legal obligations, ensuring a swift and organised response to any cybersecurity incident. Educating employees on safe public network usage is also vital.

The convergence of hybrid work and cybersecurity is undeniable, and organisations must not underestimate the consequences of overlooking this intersection. Taking proactive steps to fortify their security posture enables organisations to navigate the hybrid work environment confidently, protecting valuable assets and earning the trust of stakeholders. By recognising these intertwined challenges and investing in robust security measures, organisations can thrive in the hybrid era while safeguarding their digital landscape. Let’s remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing process. The threat landscape keeps evolving, and so should our security measures. We must constantly review and improve our strategies to stay ahead of cyber risks



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