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In 2020, the workplace dramatically changed due to the pandemic. After a prolonged period of employees working remotely, companies are now bringing employees back to the office, yet it’s clear that the shift to remote working has affected the future of work and many employees will most likely return to a hybrid workplace.
As workers settled into their new WFH situation last year, cybercriminals saw an opportunity. With employees and their devices no longer safe behind an office firewall, hackers took advantage of the hastily put together solutions from IT departments. With the workforce spread out across locations, using a variety of networks and devices, the attack surface grew dramatically. In fact, since the pandemic began, the FBI reported a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes, with malicious actors specifically targeting remote workers with phishing and ransomware attacks, often playing on fears about the virus.
Now, companies are planning how to return workers to the office safely and while it may seem like only a matter of having staff come back to the office, there are a number of complex considerations that leaders must first address.
IT teams will need to understand the hybrid model and its impact on network security as 75% of IT decision makers believe that remote and hybrid scenarios will be the norm in the future. Companies will need to create plans and new safety protocols to keep their networks and employees safe as they rotate in and out of the office.
Network security teams will need to be diligent to prevent employees from bringing threats back to the office. Most notably, they could bring malware that is hiding in their laptops, waiting to move onto the corporate network. Employees may have also added unknown software and applications to help them while working from home. While helpful at home, they could prove dubious once on the network. In addition, IT teams will need to audit devices to ensure that all applications have been updated and/or patched as staff may have been lax on this while working from home.
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