Making hybrid work environments safe!

Written by:
Kevin De Pauw
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  • The COVID -19 pandemic triggered an unprecedented shift in the way people work. Although most companies initially relied on a remote-only working model, the introduction of the vaccine has led to the popularisation of hybrid work environments.


A hybrid work environment has elements of both the traditional on-site work model and the remote work model. Employees can choose to work from home, the office, or a combination of both. Hybrid work environments have certain advantages, such as:

  • - Employee satisfaction
- Hybrid work environments boost employee morale as they have the option to collaborate with their colleagues both in the office and from home.
- Improved productivity
- The flexibility offered by the hybrid work model helps employees focus on their work when they are most productive. In a survey by Microsoft, 82% of executives reported good productivity when flexible work schedules were implemented.
- Lower costs

- Companies no longer have to provide office space for the entire workforce, and employees no longer have to commute to the office every day. This helps to reduce costs significantly.

Better protection against the pandemic
Although vaccinations are recommended all over the world, the World Health Organisation has recommended that everyone follow measures such as social distancing for an extended period of time. With this in mind, a hybrid work environment is certainly a good solution. On the other hand, hybrid work environments also have their drawbacks. These include the increased cyber risks that require immediate attention.

The problem and the solution
Flexible work locations lead to cyber attacks and related pitfalls such as data breaches, as many endpoints operate outside of secure corporate boundaries. For this reason, 88% of organisations believe it is essential to secure remote work tools and protect customer or employee data in distributed work environments. This puts the onus on companies to protect their digital assets through regular software updates, proper password management, robust data backups and business continuity solutions, ongoing employee training, etc.

  1. Therefore, asset management is essential for diagnosing and mitigating vulnerabilities and threats. Having an overview of all the software and hardware your organisation owns is an ideal first step to successfully managing digital assets.
    This should not just be a one-dimensional process of noting the model number, serial number, location, etc. Asset management for security and data breach protection in the context of hybrid environments requires a thorough inventory. This should include a clear picture of the operating system, patch levels, configurations, and even the state of known vulnerabilities.

    Inventory management provides a solid foundation for risk assessment of your organisation's hybrid work environment. Risk assessment helps you identify:

    Internal and external vulnerabilities in your organisation.
    Threats to your organisation's data, systems, software, cloud, and networks.
    Consequences/impacts if the threats exploit vulnerabilities.
    The possibility of damage that could eventually unfold.
  3. Remember, a regular risk assessment provides your business with the following benefits:

    1. identification of your risk profile:Identifying threats and sorting risks by their potential for harm helps you focus your efforts on urgent problems.

    2. protect your digital assets:Risk assessment helps you find ways to protect your critical assets and important data in a distributed work environment.

    3. reduce security spend: Regular risk assessments help you reduce security spending by knowing where to allocate resources to increase security.

    4. Actionable analytics: Having information available that provides enough insight into the future will help you take appropriate action to improve the security of your business.

    5. keeps you compliant: Keeping your assets and data safe through regular assessments can keep your business from regulatory breaches.