Zero Trust Security in the Age of Remote Work

One of the most seismic developments of work culture in the modern age is the commonality of remote work. After many employees were asked to work from home at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic out of safety precautions, many of those employees found they liked the flexibility of that arrangement. More than ever, employees feel empowered to ask their employers for the ability to work from home, and employers feel comfortable accommodating that request. As of 2023, a total of 40.9% of full-time employees in the U.S. work remotely in some capacity.  It has also allowed offices to increase their hiring range; hiring managers are no longer limited to the best talent in their area; they can pursue prospects nationwide. There are qualitative and quantitative benefits to the trend. 71% of remote workers report that working from home helps them balance their work and personal lives. Research has also shown that employers can save $11,000 per employee when switching to remote work. That said, there is a danger inherent to a remote workforce. As a business owner, without each one of your employees working within your office, you’re at a higher risk of a security breach. A data hack is more likely to occur with a remote workforce and harder to contain. And 73% of business executives agree that the more remote workers you employ, the greater the danger of security risks. This is why you must approach your cybersecurity with a “Zero Trust” security architecture. i4DM stands ready to help you secure your business’s digital assets as well as your most important asset, employees, with a zero trust philosophy. Learn more about how to implement a zero trust security model at the upcoming Zero Trust and the Remote Workforce webinar – click here to register.

What is zero trust cybersecurity?

First, we should get something straight – a zero trust approach to cybersecurity does not mean you do not trust your employees, nor should your employees feel that you do not trust them due to this change in procedure. In practice, what zero trust means is every employee must authenticate their identity before accessing your organization’s information resources. This can appear as Two/Multi-Factor Authentication, Single Sign-On, Adaptive Access, Unified Endpoint Management, and more.  A robust zero trust system correlates security information across all domains to enforce conditional access based on a model of least privilege, in other words, employees only have access to what they should have access to. This comes to fruition with an entire ecosystem of security, where authentication is required to access any Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Data Center apps – as well as any digital infrastructure your company has accessible via web browsing, such as email or your company portal.  

What are the cybersecurity threats out there?

Unfortunately, the shift to remote work has collided with a massive uptick in cybersecurity threats. Such threats include phishing, smishing, and ransomware. The average data breach cost for organizations of 500 employees or fewer is $3.31 million, and the total cost of a breach is never immediately known. A hack into your company infrastructure from the enterprise level could devastate your business as it allows hackers to access company bank accounts. A business email compromise can make false solicitations to third parties in your company’s name. A “trusted insider threat” can happen when a former or even current disgruntled employee steals sensitive company information, most often information they did not interact with regularly. All of these potential breach points can be protected better by implementing a zero trust strategy.

Why should I adopt a zero trust approach?

Though the security benefits are apparent, there are several non-security-based reasons a company with a remote workplace should want to enact a zero-trust approach. Communication is naturally more complicated with people working remotely, and work processes are challenging to streamline. The authentication and verification systems of zero trust ensure that employees are only accessing that which they should be working on and not accidentally working out of someone else’s files. A zero trust approach can make working across multiple devices easier for your employees by providing access to a multi-factor authentication system.  

As the threat of data breach grows, the current state of remote working widens the points of violation, and i4DM is ready to prepare you for today’s digital attacks. The evolution of the work and IT landscapes leaves organizations open to new threats and technologies — with more challenges arising every day. To equip you with the right tools, and help you understand how to make the move to zero trust, we are hosting a webinar entitled “Zero Trust and the Remote Workforce” on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at 2:00 PM. In the discussion, our cybersecurity thought leaders will share the latest remote work security trends. You will learn how your company can benefit from using Zero Trust and Secure Access Serve Edge (SASE) to form resilient and adaptable security solutions. Learn more about this event and register here

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