Cybersecurity Considerations for Hybrid Work

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Cybersecurity Considerations for Hybrid Work

How employees across the country work and live shifted greatly in recent years. While employers have adapted to this, it’s important they also review cybersecurity for hybrid work.

As a business owner, it’s important to update your insurance policies as your business evolves. You may already have cyber liability coverage in place (wise decision!), but if your business has grown and your operations have changed you should review your coverage as well. Does your business need cyber liability coverage? The answer is a resounding yes. We explain why in this blog post.

The past year saw a substantial proportion of the workforce transition to remote operations. Looking ahead, a recent study found that the majority of remote employees (83%) want to continue working from home in some capacity. As a result, nearly half (45%) of employers are planning to implement hybrid work arrangements in the near future. Such arrangements allow for employees to split their time between working remotely and on-site. For example, employees may work in the office every Monday and stay remote for the remainder of the week.

Increase Cybersecurity for Hybrid Work

While hybrid work models can offer various benefits to both employers and their workforces, they also carry unique cybersecurity risks. First, remote work environments often provide less secure network settings than on-site setups, leaving employees more vulnerable to cloud-based cyberattacks. In fact, such attacks have skyrocketed by over 600% since the pandemic began.

What’s worse, by alternating between remote and on-site networks, employees could potentially expose a greater proportion of workplace technology and assets amid a cyber incident. In other words, if an employee unknowingly has their laptop hacked by cybercriminals while working remotely and connects that device to an on-site network a few days later while working in the office, all workplace technology is then at risk of being compromised by the hackers.

Minimize Cybersecurity Risks With These Practices

If you are considering a hybrid work model within your organization, consider these best practices to help minimize cybersecurity exposures:

     – Utilize a virtual private network (VPN). Having a VPN provides your employees with a private, protected network connection—both remotely and on-site. VPNs offer various cybersecurity features, such as hiding users’ IP addresses, encrypting data transfers, and masking users’ locations. If you don’t already have a VPN, this is a crucial step in developing a secure hybrid work model, as it can reduce network vulnerabilities when employees work remotely. If you already have a VPN, be sure it is fully patched.

     – Train employees. Require staff to participate in routine cybersecurity training. This training should help employees stay up to date on the latest cyberthreats, emerging attack methods, and top tips for protecting against these concerns. Additionally, this training should address specific risks related to hybrid work arrangements and how to properly mitigate them.

     – Safeguard all devices. Make sure all workplace devices—including those used remotely—are equipped with adequate security software. These are things like antivirus programs, firewalls, endpoint detection, and response systems, and patch management products. Ensure this software is updated as needed to maintain its effectiveness.

     – Foster open communication. Lastly, encourage employees to consult the IT department. If they encounter any cybersecurity issues or suspect a potential cyberattack, they should report it. Employees should be able to ask questions as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Your workplace culture is important (you can read our thoughts on this topic in this blog post) and open communication is part of a healthy workplace. When employees feel comfortable enough to speak up about these concerns, you’re more likely to prevent or catch a problem before it’s too late.

If you need help developing a strong cybersecurity program or want to purchase cyber liability coverage, you can contact one of our expert insurance agents here. We’re here to protect your relationships within your business and with your customers.

Byars|Wright, Inc. is a locally owned and operated independent insurance agency in Alabama and a major provider of commercial, personal, and employee benefits insurance, serving various industries and customers across the Southeast. Since 1946, the agency has expanded its scope of business and delivers a wide range of insurance products with quality coverage at competitive prices. Relationship-driven and customer-focused, ByarsWright is celebrating 75 years of protecting relationships in 2021. Byars|Wright is designated a Best Practices Agency by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and was also named “Best Companies to Work For in Alabama” by Business Alabama in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. In 2020 and 2021, Byars|Wright won first place in their category as the number one Best Company To Work For in Alabama. Byars|Wright is Where Relationships Matter.

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