How the surge in distant working is forcing the difficulty of location agnostic cybersecurity

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Now that each one however key staff are required to remain at dwelling within the UK, we will count on to see an elevated give attention to the follow of distant working. We must always keep in mind nevertheless, that distant working has already been on the rise in the previous couple of years for various causes.

Journey disruptions could make it extra time-effective, and fewer tense for commuters to easily not journey on sure days – and even for prolonged intervals. After we think about longer journeys, irregular climate situations comparable to storms and heatwaves, typically trigger important disruption to flight and prepare schedules. In these circumstances, staff are stranded not at dwelling, however generally out of the country completely. Confronted with these challenges, many UK organisations are supporting the motion in the direction of a rise in distant working as a part of their total strategy to enterprise. 

Based on March 2020 figures from the ONS, 1.7 million individuals within the UK reported they work primarily from dwelling, with over double that determine ( million) having labored from dwelling within the week previous to the survey.

Individuals discover they will work from espresso retailers, libraries or co-location working areas, a behavior we will count on to see them return to later this 12 months. Along with these public areas, there are literally thousands of devoted places of work the place co-workers can rent desks, rooms or convention centres by the hour. There has even been the rise of the so-called ‘pro-worker’ – those that run their everlasting companies from short-term and fluid lodging areas.

Taking (distant) management

Whereas driving efficiencies and enhancing worker work-life-balance, working from dwelling, a espresso store or a co-location (or pro-location) area just isn’t anyplace close to as cyber safe as being in an workplace. Much more preparation is required to coordinate the actions of staff and to make sure firm methods are in a position to help a crucial mass of employees working remotely at a second’s discover.

Earlier than the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, greater than 1,000 firms in Japan have been planning to introduce telecommuting for his or her employees throughout the occasion. It was hoped that distant working would assist ease the stress on the already overcrowded public transport. Whereas the businesses had been via a sequence of dry runs to see if the town methods, and the companies themselves, may deal with the brand new workloads, the transfer would have examined the community’s potential to resist cyber-attacks at scale. The plan mirrored a technique adopted by many organisations throughout the London 2012 Olympics the place 80% of firms employed some type of telecommuting with the intention to beat the extra visitors and congestion within the metropolis.

All this extra demand for distant working will place strains on the present workplace and telecoms infrastructure. For the workplace surroundings, having tons of, if not hundreds of extra dwelling staff will check an organization’s server functionality and its VPN bandwidth, and driving IT professionals’ time and attention away from looking out for potential cybersecurity threats. Do organisations have the internal capacity to match the organic – as well as issues-driven – home working demands for the next five to ten years?

For those workers in cafes and co-working spaces, the question they need to ask is ‘how secure is the Wi-Fi connection that I’m working from?’. They are now reliant on a third-party service and who knows who is sitting on the next table or the opposite booth to snoop on their emails, giving malicious actors the proverbial keys to the enterprise kingdom?

Bringing in identity

We can be pretty sure that the future lies with more and more flexible working to support the evolving needs of businesses and employees alike. This is where identity will start playing a bigger and bigger role. Being used to free IT directors from the burden of routine tasks such as access approvals and data compliance and instead allowing them to focus on higher-value security and business threats.

Imagine being part of an organisation that has thousands of employees around the world, with close to half working away from the office across the globe, and close to 90 per cent in certain regions or countries. Is your network ready? And can you satisfy all access requests coming in at once? All the while ensuring that everyone logging on remotely is actually an employee and not a cybercriminal?

This is just one example of change and increased complexity in modern businesses and IT systems that would either slow workers down or lead to significant security compromises. In this ever-changing world, it is important to maintain a robust security approach to all employees – whether they work from the office or from Antarctica.

Taking a smart approach to identity now can make businesses confident of their ability to deliver both speed and flexibility when it comes to changes to working practices. After all, hackers won’t relent during this time of transition – but identity won’t either. Having the right tools for the job means that while we all pursue business as usual, identity is working tirelessly in the background and in real-time to spot unusual access, possible cyber risks and suspicious activity. As we adapt to the new reality of remote working on a longer-term basis, identity is already filling the cybersecurity void.

Ben Bulpett is EMEA Director at SailPoint

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