The modern workplace is evolving constantly. Technology has opened up new ways of doing things, it has allowed new business models to flourish and created a worldwide marketplace. Cloud technologies, data sharing and enhanced mobility mean that the modern workplace is more fluid and flexible. Work culture has changed and along with it, employee’s expectations as to what the workplace should look like. If the modern workplace is changing and employee expectations increasing, then why are we persisting with dated security protocols? In this article we will look at trends that increase the need for a secure modern workplace and the need to evolve our cyber security approach in line with them.
The landscape has changed
Since the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement began in 2009, the modern workplace has been in flux. There are three key advancements.
- Multi-Location Operations: The modern workplace is not rooted to one location only. Nowadays, there is a coming together of internal, external and remote staff. Internal could be staff that work from a single location e.g. the head office. External can be anything from team members in a secondary office location to those in the gig economy. Members of the gig economy include freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or other outsourced staff. Already in the United States, over one third of workers participate in the gig economy. Remote working is also growing rapidly. In 2018, it was reported that over 78% of Irish businesses have a remote working policy, allowing their staff to have greater workplace flexibility. It is predicted that by 2020, 50% of the entire workforce will be working remotely.
- Increased Collaboration: Although the workforce is becoming more diluted geographically, collaboration is increasing. People are on twice as many teams as they were five years ago. A Stanford study found that some workers now spend up to 80% of their time at work, collaborating. In general, over the last decade, the amount of time spent collaborating by managers and employees has grown by 50%.
- Employee Engagement: The modern-day worker desires workplace flexibility and wants to feel part of the team, but they also want to feel connected to their work. A Gallup Report found that only 15% of all workers worldwide are actually engaged. This is in contrast with top performing companies, where 70% of workers feel engaged. Offering a modern workplace, with a better work/life balance, is one way to increase engagement.
- Responding to Worker Expectations Without Sacrificing Security: The evolution of the secure modern workplace is a hugely beneficial development. Employees are happier and more productive while companies can select from a more widespread pool of talent. However, there are also challenges. In organisations today, there is real pressure to embrace workplace trends and use technology to empower employees. But, while doing so, companies cannot afford to sacrifice security. While embracing a new modern workplace, organisation must also embrace cyber security.
It’s Time to Up Your Game
There was a time when having an internet firewall, PC antivirus, email filtering, and backup was enough to protect your business. Not any more! the evolution of the secure modern workplace means that times have changed.
- Greater Mobility – Greater Opportunity for Attackers: Cloud adoption has opened up huge opportunities for businesses in terms of productivity, mobility and efficiency. However, it has also created more opportunities for cyber-attacks. Data is no longer being transferred locally but in the cloud. Workers are accessing information from their own devices and phones as opposed to company computers only. They are also accessing information from home, on their phones, in coffee shops, in airports and on-the-go. The old way of working might have been more restrictive, but it was easier to control. Organisations now need more robust security plans to handle limitless accessibility.
- A More Sophisticated Threatscape: On top of this, cyber criminals are becoming much more sophisticated. Phishing attacks are increasingly difficult to detect. Ransomware is taking critical files hostage and becoming more common. Social engineering attacks are taking advantage of a workforce that is busier and more distracted than ever before. Cyber criminals have upped their game, it’s up to organisations to follow suit. (Learn more about the most common types of cyber attacks here.)
- Finding the Right Balance: With apps and data moving to the cloud, more mobile access, and more sophisticated cyber criminals, times have changed. For organisations, it is exciting and empowering to be able to provide greater workplace mobility and flexibility. However, without implementing an effective cyber security strategy, it can only lead to more problems.
The good news is that finding the balance is not difficult. Speak to one of our team about finding a security strategy that fits your business. Working with ActionPoint, we can carry out a security assessment and document the existing environment. By doing this we can identify potential vulnerabilities. This root cause analysis allows us to recommend a remediation strategy in line with industry best practices. For more information on our comprehensive cyber security offering visit https://actionpoint.ie/it-security/
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