How Do We Keep Distributed Organizations Safe?

Our discussions on Distributed Enterprises have covered diverse working arrangements including hybrid and remote models. In addition to delving into the advantages of decentralized businesses, we have provided valuable insights on creating effective strategies and managing teams across multiple locations. However, amidst all these, there is a significant aspect that we haven’t yet discussed – the importance of implementing a custom-made security model for decentralized businesses.

Merely allowing staff to work remotely for a few days a week, arranging meetings, and providing network access isn’t sufficient for implementing a dispersed model. It’s imperative for businesses to create comprehensive plans that incorporate changes to regular operations, identify ways to complete tasks timely, and adopt measures to guarantee the safety of personnel and equipment. Creating such plans is all the more crucial to ensure the success of a decentralized business.

Identifying the Most Common Hazards

Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment is critical to formulate an efficient safety plan. As more and more businesses adopt remote and/or hybrid workforces, it’s essential to evaluate potential risks diligently, thereby ensuring adherence to everyday procedures.

How does this pertain to our current scenario? Although a particular activity may seem harmless in your personal life, it may have severe consequences in a business setting. Hence, it’s crucial to consider the following factors.

Infrastructure and Operation

Interruptions to regular business operations can significantly impact a company’s ability to conduct operations efficiently. Failure to mitigate these risks effectively may eventually result in a complete shutdown of the business, which could be permanent.

When it comes to hybrid or remote work models, the use of equipment by employees raises a red flag. It’s essential for organizations to either adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy or supply their staff with the required technology to carry out their tasks, ensuring that all devices are configured and evaluated in compliance with these policies.

Undoubtedly, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach poses challenges while implementing policies since employers cannot oversee or intervene in the use of personal devices by employees.

The Device as a Service (DaaS) model is a perfect option for businesses seeking to decrease the risk associated with employee devices without incurring significant financial expenditure. Under this model, employers can enter into contracts with external providers to meet the computing, display, mobile, and other office equipment needs of their staff.

Information and Access

The security of your tasks can only be assured if the equipment is appropriately configured. Irrespective of its reliability, once a laptop is remotely connected to your servers, it can potentially pose a security threat. Thus, it’s crucial to enable secure access and exit of the system for everyone, especially during an incident.

Regrettably, the level of security measures to prevent hacking attempts and online assaults is similar to that of their prevalence. Today, data theft, ransomware, and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are some of the most commonly reported risks, and their consequences can be extremely severe.

According to recent research titled “The State of Ransomware” conducted by IT security firm Sophos, 37% of businesses were impacted by ransomware in 2023, and only 65% of encrypted data was recovered post paying the ransom. Based on the expenses incurred in hardware, networks, downtime, and ransom amount, Sophos approximates that the average attack cost is around US$ 1.85 million.

Enterprises have several choices for enhancing their data protection. These measures may include encryption, two-factor authentication, Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), and Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which can all contribute to securing day-to-day activities.

Reputation and Brand Image

It’s easy to overlook the fact that behind every component of safety and security, including personnel, devices, and data, is a company with a brand image to safeguard. Hacking can lead to significant harm to a company’s reputation, irrespective of a successful defense against the attack and any limited consequences.

It’s natural for individuals to be wary of interacting with a company that has suffered a data breach. The trust of customers and backing of the public are priceless and can be easily undermined. One of the essential aspects of any efficient security strategy is to lessen the possible harm to a company’s brand image.

Preventive Techniques

Despite the various potential threats, there is still reason for hope. Enterprises can adopt various approaches to enhance the overall security of their operations.

For any organization, endpoint security should be the primary area of focus. It’s crucial that the IT department provides workers with devices that can be optimized and secured. Enabling remote access to internal systems is also vital, and two effective options to explore are Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Although they have some similarities, these methods are unique. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a technology that allows users to remotely access their business computers. Using a centralized management system, it’s possible to prevent users from copying sensitive data as well as restrict access to specific files and locations on the workstations.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts data and traffic that travels over a public network. This connection between an off-site user’s mobile device or computer and an on-premises network is a budget-friendly option. However, it can be more challenging to maintain since it is dependent on end-user resources.

It’s crucial for the enterprise to highlight the significance of maintaining security of data and networks to its employees. This should be emphasized as the core reason behind some administrative measures, such as utilizing VDI or VPN, and must be included in the orientation process for new hires.

Staff members must understand that any kind of vulnerability needs to be averted, even if it requires taking additional precautions for creating a personal copy of an internal report for future reference. It may be inconvenient, but ensuring security is crucial.

It’s Time to Review Your Approach.

It’s evident that the technological environment is continually developing, with new techniques, devices, and software emerging regularly. This underscores the significance of periodically examining and upgrading security measures to prevent potential intrusion attempts. Therefore, trying to create an unalterable security strategy is pointless.

To determine whether there have been any alterations to the current vulnerabilities, it’s crucial to regularly reevaluate how the most sensitive procedures are handled. This will enable us to protect our processes from beginning to end effectively and efficiently.

It’s critical to implement a safety-first approach and to be mindful of any potential risks and how to avoid or minimize them. It’s advantageous for an organization to have a specialized department to address such concerns.

Through adopting a proactive and watchful approach to digital security, companies can begin to shield themselves from probable cybercriminal activity.

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