Securing the Hybrid Work Environment

From what we can tell the hybrid work environment is an environment that many businesses are operating in and will operate in for the foreseeable future. A hybrid work environment may include employees who work from the office on a permanent basis, employees who work from home (WFH) either permanently or for part of the working week on a regular basis and employees who may be working from anywhere (WFA) because they are field based such as sales representatives.

The flexibility afforded by hybrid work environments, is certainly a positive for organizations and employees, but may increase risk from a security perspective. Employees may be using devices that they have sourced themselves and be accessing the corporate network through possibly unsafe internet connections.

Cybercriminals know that the easiest way into an organization’s network is through home networks and devices.

There are several options that should be considered for organizations to have flexible yet secure hybrid work environments. Here are a few options:

Virtual desktops

With this type of solution, users do not have the desktop installed directly on their device. Instead, the user accesses a virtualised desktop that is hosted in the cloud. Virtualized desktops can be accessed by any device – whether it be a desktop PC, a laptop, non-Windows devices such as Android and iOS tablets, MacOS devices and even mobile phones. Virtualized desktops provide both flexibility and security.

Zero Trust Network Access

This is a security concept which ensures that only the right person with the right device and security can access a company’s network, whether they are within the firewall perimeter or outside the firewall. The zero-trust concept ensures that access privileges are configured and adhered to, ensuring the security of an organization’s data, devices, and employees.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

This was certainly the solution of choice for many organizations in the early days of the pandemic when workers were asked to stay home. It was an existing technology that was understood by businesses and could easily be implemented since many of the existing firewall solutions offered VPN capabilities. It should be noted that although VPNs can be excellent solutions for organizations, they can be resource intensive and can be regarded as slow, particularly for the workers who may not be close to the physical network.

Whichever of the above solutions is chosen, these are some of the considerations that should be taken into account:

  • The solution should provide the flexibility employees require to do their work productively. However, flexibility needs to be balanced with the security requirements of the organization. The solution should be a balance of both flexibility and security.
  • A hybrid environment means that employees are working both within and outside the firewall. The solution must provide employees with the ability to move back and forth with no hassle.

When it comes to securing organizations, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is important that the operations of the business are understood. Then, and only then, can the right solutions and services be recommended and implemented. MicroAge can help determine what the best IT services and solutions for your business environment. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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With a growing Network of independently owned locations (currently at 41) from coast-to-coast, MicroAge is Canada’s leading IT solutions and service provider focused mainly on small and midmarket businesses.

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