Hybrid working, with some staff dialing in remotely and others based in the office, forms the basis of how many organizations work, yet many businesses are still not fully equipped for the inevitable security risks that decentralization creates. Surprisingly, despite 39% of UK businesses reporting cybersecurity breaches within the past 12 months, only 23% have a security policy in place that explicitly covers home working.
Despite the shift to online work, many businesses remain behind the curve with their longer-term cybersecurity strategies. The challenge is to implement measures that are easy for employees to understand and use, but difficult for malicious actors to exploit.
While IT leaders must be at the forefront of building a cybersecurity strategy, securing remote work is no longer just a task for IT. It’s up to the entire C-suite to foster a company-wide culture of security and trust, which requires a level of understanding and responsibility from all employees. This is not just a technological challenge, but an educational one.
Make security everyone’s responsibility
Every department works on its own business-critical content, from contracts and product specs to customer data and account information. This means that every employee will be in some way involved in the process of protecting and securely managing that content throughout its lifecycle.
Effective security measures stem from having integrated tools that are straightforward enough for employees and partners to learn and utilize. A secure workflow means that a piece of content (e.g., a contract) never leaves an instance. The right technology can also help businesses classify that content. Classification helps identify sensitive information, and encourages smarter behavior when employees handle that content. A collaborative team can then work on a document in a more productive and secure way because there isn’t a need for the confidential file to be shared wider; it’s simply kept as part of the workflow.
Mindset and culture ultimately underpin a company’s security position. By educating employees about the types of data leakage that could cause harm to a business, companies can pre-empt problems. Very few employees will intentionally act maliciously, but human error is common. Companies must deploy technology that provides guardrails, reminding staff about the classification-level of their content.
By acting with a security-first mindset, businesses can change how their employees approach their day-to-day jobs, in the belief that it’s not if an organization will be vulnerable, but when. A shift in thinking can create more proactive employees who actively look for and report any vulnerabilities.
Modernizing IT infrastructure for a secure digital workspace
In 2018, 43% of businesses reported experiencing a cybersecurity breach within the previous 12 months, demonstrating that security was an issue long before remote working. These widespread security breaches can be partially attributed to the fact that the traditional content management tools used by many businesses are simply outdated, lacking sufficient security, encryption, and governance tools. Outdated tools are often cumbersome and siloed, resulting in workarounds, which ultimately create serious vulnerabilities.
A cloud collaboration platform can support the mobility of remote workers and provide a superior user experience, while also being highly secure, interoperable, and easy for IT to manage. By centralizing content in the cloud, a business can centrally manage access to content inside and outside the organization while minimizing the risk of loss through full visibility over files, policies and provisioning.
Shifting towards a security-first mindset business model
A security-first mindset comes from developing an integrated strategy that goes beyond technology. Cybersecurity must form part of the overall business plan and involves every employee understanding the importance of content in their respective roles and being able to priorities its security, breaking down what can be perceived to be the IT team’s bubble.
It doesn’t matter what size a business is; if it doesn’t invest in security infrastructure, people, and education, it leaves itself and its customers open to attack from malicious actors, or breaches from well-intentioned but unaware employees. Organizations that embed security into all aspects of their business will win in the long run by being able to at least prevent the avoidable security breaches.