How to Protect Your Hybrid Workplace  

Cybersecurity For small businesses 

Your Small Business Could Be a Big Target 

In 2020, businesses scrambled to manage a sudden shift to remote work as province after province declared a state of an emergency. Plans—and mistakes—were hastily made. Ad-hoc solutions were implemented and IT departments, if they existed, were stretched far beyond their limits. 

As the dust settles after the largest public health crisis of our life, many small businesses are realizing they are never going back to “normal.” Instead, most organizations have concluded that instead of a full-time return to the office a hybrid workplace is the best way forward. 

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Why Hybrid Workplaces are the Future for Small Businesses  

A hybrid workplace creates flexibility and allows your team to thrive in whichever environment they are more productive in.  

According to the Accelerating Digital Agility report, ~57% [of people] expect to be in the office 10 days or fewer each month and 98% of people believe future meetings will include remote participants. 

While a hybrid workplace is a necessary shift to meet the changing needs of the modern workforce it can also create costly security vulnerabilities. Keep reading to learn how to prioritize and mitigate potential threats and secure your hybrid workplace. 

 

 

“~57% expect to be in the office 10 days or fewer each month and 98% people believe future meetings will include remote participants.” 

3 TOUGH CYBERSECURITY TRUTHS FOR HYBRID WORKPLACES 

#1 Personal Devices Are an Added Cybersecurity Vulnerability 

As teams work both remotely and in the office the boundaries between work and home begin to blur. The reality is that some team members will also use home devices and networks for work purposes which doubles the number of endpoints malicious actors can attack.  

The hybrid workspace requires more emphasis and investment into Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools, password training and management tools, and security first protocols to help simplify the security process for employees without intervening in their personal lives.”  

While personal devices are not necessarily less secure than work devices, in a hybrid workplace organizations will need to ensure all devices are secure.  

 

 

#2 Employees Need More Cybersecurity Training   

Organizations believe that if they invest in the right technology their business and data will always be protected. However, the platforms you use will only work as well as your team has been trained to use them. 

Over 90% of all incidents can be traced back to mistakes such as clicking on malicious links or attachments in emails, entering organizational login information into a fraudulent website, not keeping software up to date and fixing security holes, or losing devices and equipment.” 

Conducting training to change employee behavior, attitudes, and security habits is a necessary investment for all small businesses. This is more challenging in a hybrid workplace as “1 in 3 remote workers admit they feel overwhelmed by the need to keep track of all their account credentials, it is easy to see how apathy, short attention spans, and bad cyber habits are the true adversary of a secure network.”  

 

 

 

"Over 90% of all incidents can be traced back to mistakes such as clicking on malicious links..."

#3 Your Security Strategy Can’t Get in the Way of Productivity 

Lastly, for hybrid workers security and productivity must go hand-in-hand. If hybrid security policies cause frustration and wasted time for employees they will simply work around them.  

Without employee education and participation even the most robust security methods aren’t useful or effective. Employees working from home or from shared spaces like coffee shops, airports, or libraries must be able to stay compliant with security policies without interrupting their workflows. Businesses that are serious about maintaining security when employees work both remotely and in the office must choose productivity software with built-in security with neither feature treated as an afterthought.  

 

 

Myth: My Small Business Will Never Be a Target 

A misconception that many organizations have is that hackers are not interested in targeting small businesses. The opposite is true. Malicious actors are aware that small businesses are the least likely to have safeguards in place to protect themselves.  

“As SMBs have adjusted their business models, the criminals have adapted their actions to keep in step and select the quickest and easiest path to their victims.” - 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report  

The 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that “Credential theft, errors and social attacks were the three most common culprits in breaches. Employees working from home could be particularly vulnerable to these attacks. In these uncertain times, it makes sense to focus prevention efforts here." 

Now that your people are protected, it’s time to ensure that your business data is protected, too.  

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How Can Businesses Enable Secure Hybrid Work?  

Secure Hybrid Workplace Software Checklist  

If your business is actively seeking a hybrid work solution that fosters security and productivity, this checklist may help narrow your search. If you’re currently relying on a patchwork of software solutions that leave dangerous gaps in your cyber defenses, this checklist can help you identify an all-in-one solution that can deliver productivity and peace-of-mind while eliminating the IT problems you’re facing today. The right secure remote work software solution for forward-thinking businesses will: 

  Advanced threat protection and security features that help stop phishing and ransomware attacks, enable multi-factor authentication and conditional access and restrict the movement of sensitive data.

  Give you (at least) the basic essentials: email, calendaring, mobile document creation and collaboration, team communication, and file storage and sharing.

  Work from anywhere that your employees choose to work, and from a range of devices for companies with BYOD policies.  

   Provide built-in tools for managing and authenticating users, including role-based access control.  

   Enable multi-factor authentication for enhanced remote work security. 

   Help protect users from phishing and business email compromise (BEC) attacks. 

   Help protect users from malware attacks.  

   Allow for the implementation of a data loss prevention (DLP) policy that can help monitor the transmission of sensitive information and prevent it from ending up in the wrong hands.

   Give users advanced collaboration tools, including video conferencing, whiteboarding, team chat, direct calling, recording and automated transcription options for meetings, and real-time document co-authoring.  

   Provide all of the tools your business needs with a layer of embedded security that doesn’t inhibit productivity.

“If your security solution treats productivity as an afterthought your employees will find ways to work around it."

Secure Remote Work Solutions From Microsoft + Bulletproof Microsoft 365 delivers an advanced productivity platform with built-in security features that can be scaled to your organization’s needs. Microsoft 365 can securely power remote workforces of all sizes, from small businesses with limited IT resources to enterprise organizations with thousands of employees. Microsoft 365 includes*: 

Windows 10 Business  
 
Office 365, which includes all the cloud-based productivity apps that power businesses across the world: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Access.  
 
Exchange, which provides intelligent email and calendaring.
 
OneDrive, the intelligent file sharing and management app for seamless remote collaboration. 
 
SharePoint, a mobile intranet that lets users easily build dynamic sites to share resources and content for projects, teams, and departments.  
 
  InTune, an integrated endpoint management platform that takes the risk and headache out of BYOD policies.  
 
Teams, the collaboration platform that keeps remote workers productive and engaged with video and web conferencing, scheduling assistance, screen sharing, chat, whiteboarding, automatic transcription, and more. *not all features available at all subscription levels.
 
Even more intelligent tools to power both remote and on-site work environments, like Bookings and MileIQ. 

Protect Your Hybrid Workplace  

Creating a hybrid workplace environment is a necessary shift to meet the changing needs of the modern workforce. As your organization evolves, make sure it is prepared to mitigate potential threats and protect your small business. 

Dave Hickman

Future of Managing IT Operations: What it's Going to Take Going Forward

On-Demand Webinar | Dave Hickman, Senior Solutions Architect 

Modern IT Operations bear little resemblance to what they once did—cybersecurity monitoring and threat response have now become front and centre for IT staff who historically dealt with purely IT infrastructure issues. This on-demand webinar will help you identify areas where you may need help, and how best to rationalize and accept that you cannot do it all on your own, as well as look at the future state of IT operations and how we can expect IT roles to evolve.

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Data Breaches Don't Just Happen To Enterprise Companies

Data breaches don’t just happen to enterprise companies. According to a 2019 Verizon report, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses.

Many SMBs are subject to the same security requirements as enterprise companies, but enterprise-level IT solutions can be too costly and unwieldy to simply scale down.
 
For SMBs, there are many benefits to choosing an outsourced IT partner. Bringing all the IT capabilities you need in-house on a full-time basis doesn’t make financial sense for the average small business owner. Waiting until disaster strikes and you need emergency IT services or data recovery can also be extremely costly. Finding an IT partner that you can trust adds predictability to your IT budget and gives you access to an entire team of experienced professionals for a fraction of the cost.

See Bulletproof Services for SMBs

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