The shift to remote work has significantly impacted security threats, as organizations’ digital footprints expand and expose them to new vulnerabilities. In this post, we will discuss the security challenges that have arisen with remote and hybrid work environments and provide recommendations for strengthening security posture.
The Cybersecurity Landscape in a Post-Pandemic World
Since the start of the pandemic, many organizations have accelerated their digital transformation programs or initiated new ones. This shift has led to an increase in software usage, designed to digitally transform day-to-day processes. However, the 2020 Verizon DBIR revealed that cyberattacks involving applications had doubled compared to the previous year.
In 2021, this number rose even further, with approximately 90% of breaches originating from applications. Despite this trend, the cybersecurity market has traditionally focused less on application security compared to network security. As a result, attackers are taking advantage of this gap and thriving in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Cybersecurity Challenges in Remote or Hybrid Workplaces
In the past, companies maintained a walled garden approach where access was limited through a DMZ with a few servers hosting enterprise applications open to external connections. However, due to the pandemic, companies had to quickly adapt and provide access to internal applications for employees working outside this walled garden.
Some of the key cybersecurity challenges faced by companies in remote or hybrid workplaces include:
- Cloud Storage: The usage of cloud storage has surged as people need remote access to files and collaboration tools. Unfortunately, misconfigured cloud storage has been responsible for numerous breaches. According to Gardner estimates, misconfigurations will account for 99% of cloud security failures through 2025.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): With employees working remotely or using personal devices at home, companies face challenges ensuring adequate security measures are in place on these devices. While larger companies may have provisions for BYOD, smaller organizations may struggle to meet enterprise security requirements.
- Insecure Environments: Home working environments often lack the same level of security as corporate networks. Family members sharing the same subnet may have less secure devices, potentially exposing work-related devices to malware or other threats.
- VPN or Application Gateway Services: Organizations must decide whether to use VPNs or application gateway services to securely deliver applications to remote employees. Implementing proper filtering and split tunneling can help reduce the attack surface and prevent attackers from pivoting through compromised machines.
- Lack of Resources: Many organizations, particularly small to medium-sized ones with limited budgets, lack the necessary resources and expertise to implement robust security controls. This can pose significant challenges when trying to address cybersecurity risks without full visibility or experience in implementing effective measures.
Strengthening Your Security Posture
Given the evolving cybersecurity landscape, organizations must adapt their security strategies accordingly. At Forward Security, we specialize in helping organizations of all sizes with application and cloud security, information security, DevSecOps, and security training. By leveraging our expertise, we can support you in navigating the complexities of digital transformation while ensuring robust cybersecurity practices are in place.
As remote and hybrid work environments become more prevalent, it is crucial for organizations to prioritize cybersecurity measures. By addressing challenges related to cloud storage, BYOD policies, insecure home environments, VPN or application gateway services, and resource limitations, companies can strengthen their security posture and protect against potential cyber threats.
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