The Future of Secure Remote Work: Emerging Technologies and Strategies

Updated on December 17, 2023
Young male doctor in telehealth concept

Remote work is quickly becoming more of a standard across the globe, particularly in the IT space. The evolving landscape of IT — especially cybersecurity — within remote and hybrid work environments has been a topic of discussion among leaders and stakeholders in the IT space for some time. 

Security concerns, navigation of the new world of work, and keeping abreast of rapid changes are just some topics that have cropped up in recent years. As technologies continue to emerge, IT and cybersecurity professionals must develop new strategies to keep processes flowing and the necessary infrastructure up and running. 

Navigating the new normal

The pandemic disrupted the IT world as many organizations scrambled to cobble together a remote or hybrid work solution amid shutdowns. Now that Covid is mainly in the rearview, cybersecurity teams have better adapted to what is necessary to allow remote and hybrid work environments to run smoothly and securely. 

Today, teams do not have the threat of imminent shutdown bearing down on them, so they have more time to organize a move to remote or hybrid work properly. One of the most significant challenges cybersecurity teams may face is unsecured networks and unsanctioned devices. Because workspaces are not housed in one easily secured location, the risk of cyber threats and attacks increases. As more people gain remote access to a company’s network, it leaves the network more vulnerable. 

One solution is requiring the use of encrypted Wi-Fi for remote workers. Encryption is also an important factor for file-sharing programs the whole company uses, provided the files are stored on a company network. Multi-factor authentication should be employed for workers to access company-related data so that, if devices fall into the wrong hands, they will be harder to tap into. Employees should be required to utilize all tools possible to ward off viruses, malware, and other vulnerabilities, including using approved anti-virus software and not utilizing unapproved programs for work tasks. 

With the new normal of work, cybersecurity is more of a team effort than simply the job of the IT department. Organizations must trust their employees that everything is being done to keep data and business information secure. With the rise of remote work, studies have found an increase in the amount of targeting by hackers. While this is to be expected, it will take a change in approach to keep the new work environments safe. 

Protecting distributed workforces 

Endpoint security is one of the most significant concerns of modern IT teams, especially among cybersecurity professionals. Because the modern remote workforce is distributed, lack of visibility, insecure network connections, and unsecured endpoints can create havoc for cybersecurity teams. The increase in the use of cloud services has caused an uptick in cybersecurity attacks. 

Protecting endpoints is crucial. With a combination of next-gen antivirus software and threat detection tools, even international remote teams can protect their endpoints. The platforms would still be managed by the organization’s IT team, and processes for utilizing these tools can be woven into the day-to-day running of the organization. When employees learn from the time they are onboarded to factor these protections into their workflow, it becomes easier to protect the entire company. 

Data privacy in a remote world

With some highly publicized data breaches, such as those involving Yahoo or Facebook, customers and clients of remote companies may be hesitant to trust their data to said companies. Protecting client, customer, company, and employee data is an absolute necessity. 

Data protection begins with a robust cybersecurity approach. All distributed workers should be aware of the company’s security policies and abide by the set security process, and training should be provided to all employees on security protocols and how they should be acting to protect data. 

Companies should remain vigilant over new approaches to cyber attacks and keep their employees informed about what to look for in terms of spam, phishing attempts, or other attempts to breach security. Companies should also take time to assess what data is safe to share across their distributed network of employees and what data should stay within certain parameters — such as privileged access. 

The future of secure remote work 

What the future holds for cybersecurity will depend on where technology takes the remote and hybrid working world. A more secure future will require better employee education on cybersecurity measures and better awareness of the possible threats that exist, as cybercrime and threats can be influenced by everything from new software and hardware introductions to conflicts between countries. Malicious actors will always be on the lookout for vulnerabilities, so it is crucial that organizations not assume they are protected because they have implemented antivirus software or even an entire team. It takes layers of security measures to make remote environments truly secure. 

Today, cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS) is emerging on the dark web, and cybercriminals can rent or buy the tools necessary to enact their criminal behavior. As cybercriminals become more crafty, so must cybersecurity teams. Ongoing training and awareness are required to keep one step ahead of the criminal community. 

The future of work will include remote and hybrid workers in increasing numbers. To build the future of cybersecurity, IT teams must be aware of what could happen, what is happening, and what needs to happen to protect themselves and their organizations. 

As cybersecurity spending increases, so must the education of tomorrow’s cybersecurity professionals. Going forward, organizations and cybersecurity professionals alike will learn how to ward off security threats and create a thriving environment for remote and hybrid work. 

Eric Sugar
Eric Sugar

Eric Sugar is President of ProServeIT.