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Managing security and reducing risk for remote and hybrid workforces

Thanks to the advancement of communications technologies and cloud-based file sharing solutions, remote working steadily increased during the early 20th century.

Then came Covid-19.

The impact of the pandemic on working practices has been well documented by now. Where businesses had once accommodated intermittent remote working on an ad hoc basis, now organisations around the world are accustomed to employing staff who work remotely either some or all of the time.

According to Ginger Recruitment, 16% of UK workers now work exclusively from home, and a further 25% work a hybrid work week, only going to an office or workplace some of the time.

What’s more, the European Central Bank reports that more than two thirds of UK workers want and expect the flexibility to work at least a portion of the week from home. So, with remote operations forming an important part of the new normal, it’s vital that businesses adapt to accommodate – especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

The cybersecurity challenges facing remote workers

Home network usage

More people working on a remote or hybrid basis has expanded the number of potential targets for cyberattacks. No longer can businesses simply be concerned with their own network defences; the home network connections of their staff have also now become their concern.

Personal devices

Another consequence of this is the increased use of personal devices by staff, which can bring their own set of security risks due to a lack of enterprise-grade security that may feel outside of business control.

Communication technology

Remote work has also naturally led to an increased reliance on communication and information technologies, which has created more scope for vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. These include phishing attempts, data breaches and ransomware attacks.

Internet of Things

The integration of IoT (Internet of Things) devices is another potential area of concern for organisations as they contemplate the home working environments of their staff. IoT devices from smart thermostats to smart speakers to smart fridges can all provide entry points for cyberattacks, with devices being targeted to compromise entire systems.

The importance of ISO 27001 certification

Thankfully, businesses aren’t powerless when it comes to protecting remote workforces from potential threats. There are many precautions that can be taken, such an implementing a systemic approach to IS within your business to reduce the chance of potential weak spots going unnoticed.

Aligning with ISO 27001 helps businesses to improve cybersecurity in all areas, regardless of size or industry. But the 2022 version of the standard makes particular provision for remote or hybrid workforces. Implementing an ISO27001 ISMS can help your business manage the risks associated with remote or hybrid working in several ways. These include:

  • Identifying key business needs and relevant legal and regulatory requirements to understand and justify home-working risks, allowing you to prioritise risks for treatment.
  • Outlining the rules, roles and responsibilities for secure remote working and mobile device use to design and communicate a safe home-working strategy to all employees, ensuring accountability.
  • Identifying and classifying critical information, then implement security controls based on this classification to focus your efforts on protecting the most critical or at-risk information.
  • Putting technical measures in place – such as secure log-on procedures, encryption, and information backups – to protect your information from unwanted access, theft or accidental loss.
  • Using a training programme to increase employees' awareness of information security risks and the acceptable use of business systems and devices when working from home.

How Hicomply can ease your certification journey

With Hicomply’s easy-to-use, comprehensive ISMS platform, it’s never been easier to obtain, maintain and manage all your information security certifications in one place, including ISO 27001, PCI DSS, GDPR, and more. Better yet, the platform can be securely accessed from any location.

Our ISMS software does the hard work for you, with a powerful suite of data security features at your disposal. Say goodbye to complex spreadsheets, long email chains, and time-consuming internal processes. Hicomply saves you both time and effort, simplifying your route to certification with a 50% reduction in implementation and timescales and an average 5x ROI.

Not currently using Hicomply? Ready to find out more about what the platform can do for you? Book a demo.

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