• Richard Blech

Data Security for the New Normal-The Hybrid Workplace


As the world tries to emerge from the worldwide pandemic and the hybrid workplace surfaces as a permanent fixture for many organizations, the need for data security remains omnipresent.


DATA CONTINUES TO BE AT RISK IN HYBRID WORKPLACE

The need for the distributed workforce to have access to internal organization resources is a data security challenge for multiple reasons:

  • Data, in all its forms, is being stored or traversing back and forth across devices, applications and services, often across multiple locations (such as work sites, data centers, multi-cloud environments and hybrid environments). It exists well beyond any clearly defined perimeter of an organization’s network.

  • Organization networks and non-organization networks (residential networks, hotspots, etc.) are, in a sense, converging as both are gateways to organization resources.

  • Not only is the quantity of endpoints being used for work tasks increasing, but these devices usually have inferior security capabilities. Malicious actors are targeting desktops, tablets, laptops, residential IoT devices, residential internet networks and more to gather information on organization’s network and to access corporate resources. IoT requires a particular mention here, with its increasing number of devices, wide range of devices types and the amount of interaction between the devices.

  • All of these factors are contributing to an expanding and increasingly complex the attack surface that can be difficult to protect without the right policies and technology solutions.

  • Cyberattacks, including ransomware, are still escalating and increasing in number.


At its foundation, the hybrid workplace is a digital workplace, and data protection in digital workplaces require layers of security and sound policies. The goal of data protection, whether the workplace is on-premise, fully remote, or hybrid, is to always make sure that sensitive data is safely managed while being accessible by the appropriate authorized parties. These are ways to do that.


MANAGE AND SECURE ENDPOINTS

Many organizations lack complete visibility over the various endpoints that are connected to their networks and resources. Devices or endpoints with any form of access to an organization’s network can be a security liability without the proper protocols in place. Complicating the issue is the use of work devices away from the premises as well as the use of unmanaged personal devices. These devices are increasing the risk of data leaks, unauthorized access and malware infections. Whenever possible, hybrid workers should be provided with organization-issued devices (laptops, smartphones, etc.) for work tasks. This can facilitate endpoint security, as the devices could be managed remotely by the IT department and receive all security patches timely, providing some form of defense against attacks.


IMPLEMENT THE ZERO TRUST MODEL FOR ACCESS MANAGEMENT

Operate on the assumption that the network has been breached and that no device or access point can be trusted without continuous verification. This adoption of the Zero Trust approach for security regulates network traffic and helps ensure that sensitive data is accessible only to those parties that have to use it. Multi-factor authentication, with the addition of biometric capabilities such as fingerprint or facial recognition, should now be a standard part of the authentication process. The Zero Trust approach is especially important for securing IoT implementations, which are necessary for providing a seamless hybrid workplace experience.


DATA SECURITY IS EVERY WORKER’S RESPONSIBILITY

As the hybrid workforce continues to adapt to new ways of working, they have still to be on guard against cybersecurity threats and they have to know how to avoid them. An effective approach to instilling data security vigilance among the hybrid workforce may be to demonstrate how data security has become a shared responsibility, with each individual having to their own part in helping safeguarding sensitive data. Email compromise is still a critical threat vector that is used often by malicious actors, and according to one study, 88% of data breaches are caused by employee error. Workers have to be aware of the latest phishing schemes and should receive regular updates and recommendations on the best practices for mitigating data breaches.


INSTITUTE DATA GOVERNANCE

With the right data processes, policies and organizational structure, organizations can effectively manage the lifecycle and flow of their sensitive data, gleaming insights from it while mitigating risks and limiting exposure. Data governance is necessary, especially as the already immense volume and sprawl of data continues to grow with the adoption of hybrid workplaces. Used in collaboration with one another, data governance and data security can minimize an organization’s surface attack area and help with strengthening its overall cybersecurity posture.


ENCRYPT DATA WHEREVER POSSIBLE

Encrypting sensitive data that is at rest or is being transmitted from applications, devices or networks controlled by an organization is creating one of the essential layers of hardened security measures. Easy to integrate, deploy and operate, cryptographic implementations are also some of the tools necessary for implementing Zero Trust architecture. Consider some of the ways XSOC CORP technologies can be used to protect data for the hybrid workplace:


  • Encrypting data before it is sent to the cloud for long-term storage.

  • Providing encryption capability to applications or protocols to encrypt confidential data transmitted during remote login sessions.

  • Securing video conferencing applications or platforms.


XSOC CORP PROTECTS DATA FOR THE HYBRID WORKPLACE

Data that is not protected becomes an expensive burden instead of a competitive advantage. XSOC CORP offers a suite of optimized cryptographic solutions that can be easily integrated into applications to protect all forms of data. We also offer a wide range of cybersecurity professional services you can use to help create a secure cyber environment for your organization’s hybrid workforce. Contact us for more information.