How to ensure remote & hybrid workplace cybersecurity

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As the world leans more into remote work and hybrid models, the urgency to maintain security grows. In this environment, security teams face new security risks and must navigate challenges like ensuring secure access and protecting sensitive data. Using personal devices and home Wi-Fi networks at work amplifies these challenges, especially when employees use them.

This article will explore key strategies, focusing on the best countries for remote work, the importance of doubling down on network security, and tips to strengthen your team's cybersecurity muscle. The content is based on the NordLayer × SoSafe November 29 webinar, available for free viewing for more insights on securing a business.

Best countries for remote work

First off, remote working isn't a one-size-fits-all; different countries offer varied experiences. At NordLayer, we've sifted through 108 countries, assessing them on cyber safety, economic stability, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety. This analysis has revealed some top picks for remote workers.

5 key insights into remote work destinations

  • Northern Europe is a clear leader in the top 10 for remote work, with Spain (4th) and Portugal (6th) as notable exceptions.

  • Broadly, Europe takes the lead in the top 50, though Montenegro (74th), Bosnia, and Herzegovina (83rd) fall behind.

  • For value-for-money, Portugal (6th) emerges as a standout choice.

  • Interestingly, major English-speaking countries don't make the top 10, with the USA (16th), Canada (14th), the UK (19th), and Australia (25th) ranking lower.

  • Cyber and social safety are consistent indicators of a good remote work environment.

Cybersecurity plays a crucial role in these rankings. Countries that lead in remote work security, especially in Northern Europe, boast robust cybersecurity infrastructures. This includes top-notch network encryption and secure Wi-Fi networks, essential for remote workers.

Why and how to double down on network security

In 2023, phishing attacks hit hard, accounting for 95% of the causes of all data breaches. This highlights the growing severity of security breaches and data risks in our increasingly digital world.

In this remote and hybrid work era, robust network security is more important than ever. With employees scattered in various locations, a strong, fortified network is key to protecting not just corporate data but the very manner in which we work.

Secure remote access

Begin by securing remote network access. Technologies like VPNs, secure login methods, and access controls are crucial. They create a secure digital boundary, crucial for protecting your operations in a remote work setup. These tools are the first line of defense against potential security risks.

Ensure endpoint security

Securing endpoints—laptops, mobile devices, and home computers—is also vital. Equip these devices with the latest internet security software. This step is essential in safeguarding against unauthorized access and potential security breaches that can originate from vulnerable personal devices.

Invest in employee training and awareness

Finally, employee education is critical. Regular training sessions and cybersecurity drills play a significant role in enhancing your team's awareness of security risks. By keeping your workforce informed and vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of security incidents.

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Experts in our webinar underscore the changing nature of cyber threats, with cybercriminals increasingly employing psychological tactics. Thus, continuous monitoring and a robust incident response plan are crucial.

For a deeper understanding of network security and more expert insights, access our detailed webinar. It's a crucial step in strengthening your remote work environment against the ever-evolving security risks.

Cloud firewalls and Firewall-as-a-Service

Cloud firewalls offer an effective solution for businesses operating in hybrid and remote environments. Take NordLayer's Cloud Firewall as an instance: it sets rules based on user identity, traffic destination, such as a local server or cloud resource, and access methods, including ports and protocols.

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For a deeper understanding of Cloud Firewalls and Firewall-as-a-Service, our free webinar provides comprehensive insights.

Strengthening cybersecurity in teams: taking security threats seriously

The stark reality of security threats

Home-office cyber-attacks in Germany cause over €50 billion in damages annually. This staggering figure highlights the reality and severity of security threats in the modern digital world. Moreover, data security incidents cost, on average, $4.42 million, with remote work adding an extra $1.07 million.

Building a robust cybersecurity culture

Organizations need to further strengthen their security cultures

Despite these risks, only 38% of organizations secure work devices connected to the company network. This gap underscores the need for a stronger cybersecurity culture within teams. Over 90% of IT and cybersecurity experts agree on the importance of awareness, yet 40% of organizations report very low employee awareness levels.

Practical steps to enhance cybersecurity

To address this, businesses must adopt simple, effective cybersecurity practices. Regular software updates, secure access management, and educating employees about phishing and malicious behavior are crucial. Implementing multi-factor authentication can significantly bolster remote work security. Such measures foster resilience and a proactive stance against cyber threats.

Leveraging technology and continuous learning

Adopting behavioral science principles, such as positive reinforcement, can drive secure behavior. Continuous learning and expanding the scope of cybersecurity knowledge are essential for teams. Remember, strong cybersecurity habits benefit both private and work life.

Addressing security gaps in the remote work environment

Tackling security breaches and data breaches

As remote and hybrid work models become more prevalent, data breaches have become a more significant concern. It's vital to review and update security settings regularly to prevent such incidents. A robust approach to detecting and addressing security gaps, especially in unsecured Wi-Fi networks, is essential for protecting sensitive information.

Secure home Wi-Fi networks

With many employees working remotely, the security of home Wi-Fi networks is more crucial than ever. Encourage employees to strengthen their home network's security, emphasizing the importance of using secure and unique passwords and staying vigilant against unauthorized access.

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In summary, managing cybersecurity in a hybrid and remote work environment requires a comprehensive approach. Balancing security with usability is key for businesses. Encouraging users to stay aware and use systems and services that protect personal and corporate data is important. It’s essential for organizations to manage their network and devices effectively.

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To learn more about how to manage these challenges and keep your business secure, watch our webinar. It offers practical advice and expert insights to guide you through the complexities of hybrid work and remote work security.

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