Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
- Cybersecurity is at the Forefront of the Evolution
- Hybrid Working Poses New Questions
- Protecting Your Premises
- Businesses Must Adopt the Latest Security Solutions
Although much of the working world was already moving toward functioning online in the 2010s, things have accelerated since 2020. Many businesses have moved their operations online giving their employees greater freedom of where they do their work.
Some are back in the office full time, others offer a hybrid working arrangement, where time is split between working in the office and at home. Other businesses may have discovered that offering completely remote working is an ideal solution and one they stuck with.
A FlexJobs survey discovered 58% of respondents now prefer to be full-time remote employees, while 39% want a hybrid work environment. These changing working habits also require the needs of business security to change.
Let’s look at the ways businesses have to adapt and evolve their security systems for today’s world.
Cybersecurity is at the Forefront of the Evolution
Perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that one of the most important security features for businesses to consider is cybersecurity. According to Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) research, the total number of data breaches through September 30, 2021, exceeded the total number of events in 2020 by 17%.
With so many data breaches and potential fines for them, companies are fighting back. Ethical hacking is a process where companies hire a cybersecurity expert to try and infiltrate their security network.
The result of the ethical hacking highlights to companies where the security weaknesses are and how to put them right. Putting a company’s defenses through this ‘dry run’ offers significant protection while ensuring sensitive data remains shielded.
Data Breaches in Big Business
Just one compromise can create a whole network of cybercrime victims. For instance, of the breaches reported by ITRC, there were 78 data compromises in the healthcare sector, creating a total of 7 million victims.
Security Magazine reported the three biggest data breaches of 2021 came from Facebook, LinkedIn, and security analytics software company Cognyte. These three companies accounted for data from over 6.25 billion records and accounts being sold online.
Fighting cybercrime is a never-ending battle for business owners, with a report from Positive Technologies suggesting 93% of the time, an external hacker can breach an organization’s network perimeter. This gains the hacker access to local network resources and puts a company at risk of a data breach.
Putting people’s data at risk isn’t to be taken lightly, as some of the world’s biggest organizations found out. Equifax was fined at least $575 million in 2019 after losing the financial and personal information of over 150 million people.
British Airways faced a similar fine after a data breach failed to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For this indiscretion, British Airways was fined $230 million in 2019. With fines handed out that could sink many businesses, organizations must stay on top of their cybersecurity.
Small and Medium Businesses are also Under Threat
It’s easy to see why big corporations are targeted by cybercriminals but they aren’t the only businesses that must worry about being hacked. A European Union Agency for Cyberprotection (ENISA) Report revealed that phishing attacks are the most common incidents SMEs are likely to be exposed to. A data breach for an SME results in a loss of revenue, business downtime, and reputational damage.
Some of the other common security threats in recent years include:
- Business Email Compromise (BEC)
- Rising sophisticated ransomware attacks
- Lack of cybersecurity resources
- Inadequate training for all staff
Some ways for SMEs to protect themselves is to invest more in cybersecurity that covers the aforementioned problem areas and educates their staff better about encountering these threats. Many data breaches are caused by human error, so eliminating as many mistakes as possible reduces the risk.
Hybrid Working Poses New Questions
Hybrid working is throwing a spanner into the works of how businesses protect themselves. In years gone by, staff typically worked from one building where they logged onto equipment supplied by their company.
This left buildings well-occupied during the day and cybersecurity relatively straightforward to stay on top of. If buildings are occupied, the chances of a break-in are reduced. Also, with employees using dedicated computers and devices supplied by the company, on the same local network, it was more simple to train and inform users how to be safe.
Hybrid working sees many employees using their own devices rather than company property which can lack the advanced firewall and web proxy features that safeguard work-issued devices.
It’s easy to assume that IT covers cybersecurity but that’s not always the case. Someone good at installing and maintaining business software systems isn’t necessarily the best person to also take charge of a company’s cybersecurity.
A lack of a dedicated cybersecurity department can cause issues for many businesses, particularly those without the resources to afford one. With the increase of hybrid working patterns across many industries, a new security problem has arisen.
Employees are now switching to their personal devices to complete tasks at home, causing havoc for data administration. Cloud-based management solutions are the common choice among SMEs, but they require more investment to provide adequate protection when being rolled out across multiple devices running various operating systems.
Protecting Your Premises
Despite the ever-growing digital ecosystem that businesses operate in, most still have physical premises they call home. Those also need protection and with them being occupied less than ever, it’s important to figure out the best way to do so.
Employees are spending more time at home in search of a better work-life balance, reducing time spent commuting and increasing time doing the things that matter to them. With employees adopting a fluid approach to visiting the office, things can feel a little chaotic. Staying on top of the comings and goings of staff is essential to maintain a high level of security.
One of the best ways of doing this is through remote access, which offers 24/7 security. Remote access centralizes management but maintains the flexibility that hybrid working requires to be a success.
Doors can be unlocked, visitor identities verified and credentials issued from a remote location. It means employees don’t have to wait for someone to turn up with a set of keys to be let into the property if they are locked out.
Remote access is also a great visitor management solution. We still need our workplace for client meetings, interviews, deliveries, and maintenance. With fewer people around to accommodate this, remote access delivers.
Digital guest passes can be issued to smartphones through access links and QR codes. Real-time reporting keeps security informed of their movements, highlighting if they are heading somewhere they shouldn’t be.
Physical Guards and CCTV Security
As mentioned, buildings are less occupied than before thanks to hybrid working. This poses a problem for businesses looking to protect the physical assets associated with their business. In terms of physically protecting property, the age-old debate of security guards or CCTV continues but with a new addition.
Finding the manpower to guard a building is getting harder but canine security is ideal for rapid initial screening and patrolling of a site. Canine services can cover more ground in less time, making them cost-effective and an additional deterrent for would-be trespassers.
Businesses Must Adopt the Latest Security Solutions
Changing with the times isn’t something new for businesses. A failure to adapt and overcome new, unforeseen obstacles can break many companies and that also applies to security solutions.
In the past, if a company was having its goods stolen it would have known about it and done something to protect it better. Corporate data should be thought of like an asset; it is certainly treated as such online, often sold to the highest bidder.
Not being able to combat the latest security threats could see a company land a major fine for a data breach. While some companies can afford to take the hit, others can’t and a multi-million dollar data breach fine would cripple many.