August 1, 2022

How to handle the impact of Hybrid Work on Cybersecurity

As more and more companies adopt hybrid work, the risk to their IT infrastructure increases with more users and endpoints outside of the safety of the local network. We explore the impact of hybrid work on cybersecurity and how they are related. 

The interdependency

In 2021, 61% of malware directed at organisations targeted remote employees via cloud apps. Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 30% of organisations have reported an increase in cyber-attack attempts. To successfully adopt hybrid work, companies need to make sure they do a thorough analysis of all the possible exposure points to their systems, cloud, and network.

The upside of a hybrid workplace is saving costs on infrastructure and overheads but the increased risks to IT security means greater spend on cybersecurity. Foundry’s recent research 2022 Future of Work study found that 60% of respondents have invested, or plan to invest in security controls, such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint detection and response, and VPN. 

Protecting your data

No matter how you are set up – to work from home, the office or both (aka hybrid), the access to sensitive company and customer information enhances the risks making data protection a big challenge. While data protection has always been critical for businesses, hybrid work arrangement is worsening the situation by amplifying the number of devices and endpoints to manage.

According to IBM’s 2021 Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach due to remote work was $1.07 million higher in those attacks in which remote work was a factor. While lack of the right tools, technology, and resources do play a role, employee behaviour and knowledge to act in unforeseen circumstances are critical to ensure cyber safety.

Addressing employee fatigue

With employees constantly navigating newer flexible work practices and ever-changing work environments, the ongoing impact on their wellbeing is affecting their behaviour towards cybersecurity.

In a new report from email security company Tessian, nearly half of employees cited distraction and fatigue as the main reasons they made a cybersecurity mistake, up from 34% in 2020. For employees working in a hybrid setup, switching between remote work and on-site work brings disruptions and fatigue.

Make sure your team members are engaged and always supported. Giving employees regular breaks and teaching them how to identify phishing scams are both great ways to help stay cyber-safe at work. Planning your employee engagement activities to address the importance of cybersecurity in a hybrid workplace can also make a positive difference.

Adopting the ethos

When you lay the foundations of hybrid working with renewed policies and practices, there’s an opportunity to do more for cybersecurity too. Make sure the core principles of security, confidentiality, ethics, and integrity are well-woven into the new hybrid working system. It’s important to focus on not just the technical aspects of cybersecurity but also the behavioural aspect of it.

A dispersed workforce means people can work from a location of their choice – office, home, café, beach, plane, or overseas. Access to data and systems is so wide that businesses must be prepared to deal with the consequences of a cyber-attack at any time and from anywhere.

Strategy for cyber success

Protecting your business in a hybrid setup starts with taking the right security measures and the first step would be to have a strategy in place. It doesn’t have to be radical when you commence – remember to start with simple, sustainable steps and keep improvising on the go. Here are some steps you can take for your business:

  • Have an advisory team comprising leaders from across all departments
  • Take joint decisions for implementing collaborative actions
  • Use VPN access and MFA for enhanced information security
  • Educate employees on cybersecurity and the steps to prevent ransomware attacks
  • Be transparent about your policies and practices
  • Make sure your serves are patched regularly
  • Segment your networks to reduce the risk
  • Invest in cloud migration and backup

Of course, not all businesses will have the budget, the time and the resources to practice these. Therefore, having a partner makes it easy. With Ricoh, you have a partner who offers bespoke solutions to support your hybrid work strategy and enhance your cybersecurity to make sure your operations continue undisrupted. Take our readiness assessment to see where you stand. 

Ready to embrace hybrid work?

Microsoft’s recent 2022 Work Trend Index (WTI) report found 38% of hybrid employees think their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office, while just 28% of companies have established team agreements to clarify when this should happen. This indicates that employees want to make sure being in the office is worth their time, money and effort.

The benefits of hybrid work are far too many to go unnoticed – from saving businesses dollars spent otherwise on renting office space and other overhead costs like energy, office supplies, etc. to having an engaged and productive workforce that enjoys a good work-life balance. Having said so, the increased risks to cybersecurity are a sign that businesses must make sure they play their defense game properly – from tools to people to practices – everything must be well orchestrated for company growth and success.

How Ricoh can help

No matter how your workplace is set up, our team can help you reach your business goals quicker and have better outcomes. Take the hybrid workspace readiness assessment below to gauge your current situation.

If you are still sitting on the fence about the hybrid work model, find out more about the top ten reasons why hybrid work is a winner (for both employers and employees) in our recently published article.

Our team of cybersecurity experts will make sure no stone is left unturned to protect your business and support your workspace transformation from cyber risk to cyber safe. Keen to explore further? Get in touch, today!


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