The New Working World
2020 saw many changes forced upon millions of employees. With many businesses quickly adapting to new social distancing guidelines, more people than ever found themselves working from home. But as offices began to reopen, many employees still found themselves working remotely to some degree. Even as more social distancing guidelines are lifted, many employees have no desire to return to the office, prompting numerous companies to offer more fully-remote positions to attract new employees.
Working remotely has been shown to offer numerous benefits for both businesses and employees. Business owners with more employees working from home can downsize their office space to save money on rent (which can also save their companies a ton on energy expenses!). Companies with remote positions also benefit from a broader pool of potential employees, given that remote positions typically eliminate geographical limitations. And while some employees are more than ready to get back to the office, other employees have no plans to work in an office ever again. And who can blame them? Remote work allows employees a better work/life balance in many cases (though it is easy for this to swing the other way). It also eliminates the need for long commutes, which can wreak havoc on our health over time. And not having a commute is one of several ways employees can save their hard-earned money.
With all these benefits, how can there be any downside to working remotely? It all comes down to your company’s security (or in the case of many companies, lack thereof).
The Importance of Endpoint Protection in Flexible Work Environments
As many companies prioritized setting up their employees for remote work, other security measures were simply not a priority. With so many companies more vulnerable than ever before, it’s no surprise that 90% of businesses across several industries saw an increase in cyberattacks. These problems are only exacerbated by lax security practices across numerous devices.
When employees work from home, it becomes incredibly easy (and often commonplace) to use personal devices for work functions and vice versa, particularly with Bring Your Own Device policies many businesses have in place. This becomes even more common for employees who operate in a flexible work environment, where working from the office is expected at least a couple of days per week. Given that the average American home has at least ten devices connected to the internet at any given time, bringing in company devices can increase the likelihood of malicious attacks on your company’s network.
With so many potential openings into your business’s network, endpoint security vendors are more important than ever. The more connected devices on your network, the more openings (or endpoints) it has. And the more endpoints found, the easier it is for hackers to force their way into your network. But it’s not just computers and smartphones that create these network vulnerabilities. The seemingly never-ending number of smart appliances in our homes can open us up to malicious actions; this was especially evident when hackers revealed that gaining access to a smart refrigerator could compromise a person’s login credentials. Even our printers can easily be hacked.
But with quality endpoint security in place, all of these devices can be readily monitored in real time. Many endpoint security programs feature AI-driven security that monitors, targets, secures, and eliminates potential threats in real time. Some even feature AI so powerful it can predict potential threats before they even have a chance to infect your network. And modern endpoint protection allows your IT team to monitor any and all devices attempting to gain access to your network. For those who might be wondering about antivirus and malware protection, endpoint security performs those duties as well. In today’s world of constant threats of ransomware and phishing scams, endpoint security offers the easiest and most powerful solution to many security concerns.
Accounting for the Human Element
While endpoint protection is a must in today’s work environment, it is not a cure-all. Business owners must also account for human error, which is the most common cause of data breaches for nearly all companies. These breaches can be incredibly expensive, costing your company millions of dollars to fix.
While many people realize the dangers of lax security practices, employees are often too quick to use weak passwords across all their accounts (fortunately, password managers are an easy and effective solution to this). Employees should also be aware of common threats such as phishing scams, which occur more frequently than one might think. It’s also vital that companies keep their security software up to date, as far too many companies are using outdated software. While modern security software is essential in the modern workplace, ensuring your employees are up to date on the latest security practices is the best way to enforce your company’s security.