The Hybrid Workplace and Cybersecurity: How to Protect Your Stakeholders from Cyber Threats

Hybrid Work Cybersecurity

When Covid-19 hit, the workplace was forever changed – most would say for the better. At the height of the pandemic in May 2020, 43% of all workers – and 65% of white-collar workers – were working remotely, up from just 4% and 6% (respectively) in 2019. Companies across most industries discovered that employees were not only happier with this setup, they were more productive. Eliminating the commute freed up hours in the day, enabling employees to get more done and strike a better work/life balance. What’s more, organizations reduced operating costs, as employees signed on from home.

However, remote working introduced new challenges, particularly with respect to managing and protecting the expanded IT estate. Employees accessing corporate resources from personal devices unwittingly increased the risk of a breach or attack, as cybercriminals leveraged unprotected devices to infiltrate corporate networks and wreak havoc. Malware attacks rose by 72% and mobile attacks increased by 50%. Worse yet, Zscaler researchers found that IoT malware attacks rose by 700%, targeting device types such as printers, digital signage, and smart TVs that connected to and communicated with corporate IT networks. Cloud services are also a vector for cybercrime, with file hosting and transfers, cloud-based email applications and instant messaging being generating the highest concerns around security.

While the threat of Covid-19 has waned, the trend toward remote working hasn’t. Most companies have adopted a hybrid workplace policy, where employees can split their time between working in the office and remotely, or even choose to work from home permanently. According to McKinsey, more than half of employees surveyed would like their organizations to adopt more flexible hybrid working models, and over 25% said that they would consider switching employers if their company required them to be on-site full-time.

In this hybrid environment, it’s critical that telecom and cybersecurity providers take action to help customers reduce the risk of a cyber attack – but how?

Visibility Is an Essential First Step

The first step to strengthening cybersecurity across the distributed IT estate is complete visibility into every device that connects to the network. This is particularly important in hybrid work environments, where employees are accessing corporate resources from their home Wi-Fi networks as well as adopting Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) practices. 

The average household has 10 connected devices – everything from personal computers to smart appliances, wireless devices such as personal digital assistants and smart watches, and other IoT. If unmonitored, these devices can provide a gateway for cybercrime. Cybercriminals can also connect rogue devices that contain malware to unprotected networks and launch an attack, or exploit access points such as routers or switches to get in.

When homeowners have access to complete and accurate information about all devices connected to their home networks, they can see when a new device attempts to gain access. They can also ensure that connected devices are running up-to-date software and have the necessary security protocols in place. That’s why telecom companies and cybersecurity providers are embedding device recognition technology into their products, to provide customers with better visibility and control over their IT environments. 

Know What’s Connected to the Network at All Times

Lansweeper offers an effective embedded device recognition solution for telecom and cybersecurity providers that helps improve the customer experience while ensuring corporate networks are secure and protected, despite employees logging on from home and the BYOD trend. 

Leveraging machine learning and big data, Lansweeper’s Credential-free Device Recognition (CDR) technology analyzes standard network protocols to recognize any wired or wireless device in the home or office as soon as it connects to the corporate network. It gathers information about the brand, make, model, and operating system based on a database of more than 50 billion devices. By embedding our API and SDK into their products and services, customers have access to a complete, accurate list of all connected devices enriched with detailed information about their type, make, model, and OS. With this data on hand, they can optimize bandwidth management, accelerate troubleshooting, strengthen security and improve customer support. Plus, any rogue devices are easy to spot and can be disabled before they have a chance to cause problems.

The Hybrid Workplace is Here to Stay 

Now that employees have had a taste of what it’s like to work remotely, the workplace as we knew it pre-pandemic is a thing of the past. Moving forward, organizations will need to find ways to manage and protect their data and resources from cybercriminals who – by exploiting the hybrid workplace – have a much broader attack surface and more ways than ever to infiltrate corporate networks.

Lanswseeper’s CDR technology can be embedded easily into hardware or software products through our cloud-based APIs and multiplatform SDKs. We also offer on-premises solutions for specialized environments. Find out more about our device recognition technology today, and read up on how companies like Commscope are leveraging our embedded solutions to navigate the complex hybrid workplace in the post-Covid-19 era.