How businesses can protect themselves against cyber-crime in a hybrid workplace

As businesses move towards a return to the office, there are many ongoing discussions around which model will work best. A recent study by EY found that 79% of workplaces are introducing hybrid work. With many opting for hybrid models the shift in dynamics poses additional opportunities for cybercriminals. Due to the increased movements between locations and devices businesses will experience increased cyber security risks.

While businesses operated remotely, devices remained within the perimeter of their own homes, isolated from the office. With the introduction of movement between home and the office, there is now an added risk that malware can travel with individuals as they log into different company networks.

Cyber-attacks can lead to data being stolen or encrypted, funds being misappropriated and reduced productivity. As we look to the future of work and the potential implications of a hybrid workforce on sensitive data, it is understandable that businesses would have concerns about how to manage their digital security. From identification to prevention, here are some ways you can prepare for a return to the office.

Prevention is key

When planning for a return to the office it is important to mitigate against potential cyber security risks. In the first instance educate your staff so they are aware of what to do and what not to do. For many hybrid working will be a completely new experience. Introduce protocols to ensure safe movement of devices from personal homes to the office.

With the increase in hardware with many employees due to operate from desktops when they are in the office and laptops at home ensure that your organization is using multi-factor authentication (MFA/2FA) for all online applications. By equipping your employees with the relevant information you will mitigate against the potential risks of malware travelling between networks.

Carry out a cybersecurity review on your IT systems to identify any potential areas of concern where hackers may gain access. By investing in traditional malware protection products and behavioural based malware protection you will ensure that your business has mitigated against all potential risks.

Enlist your IT provider to hold phishing simulation training will allow employees to recognise the ways in which they could be used to hack the system and will add a level of defence for your business.  At Radius we offer a complimentary cybersecurity consultation, where you   learn about how to implement effective policies throughout your organisation.

Notice the signs

While prevention is key it is important to have the ability to identify early warning signs. Many cyber-attacks start with suspicious emails presenting in inboxes. With employees operating between office and home it is important that if they receive suspicious correspondence from a fellow employee, they contact the individual immediately.  If employees or clients begin receiving requests for unauthorised payments or information, this could indicate a hacker has gained access to the system.

Before, during or after a cyber-attack other issues may arise such as experiencing increasingly slow network or internet connectivity. This interruption may indicate that data is being copied to an external location. If this is coupled with anti-virus warnings, it would be a key indicator that your business is currently experiencing a cyber-attack.

To ensure the security of your data while operating a hybrid workforce establish a robust backup and disaster recovery plan that is regularly tested. By doing so, your business should mitigate the worst of the effects if your system is compromised regardless of location.


For more information on how to mitigate cybersecurity risk in a hybrid workforce, get in touch with Kevin O’Regan, Director of Radius Cork.

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