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Jul 11 2022 | by Muhammed Mobin

The Growing Complexity of Cybersecurity in the Hybrid Workplace

"Where, and when, work gets done will be determined by what makes the most sense to drive the highest levels of productivity and engagement" —Jackie Wiles, Gartner

The above statement is pretty much what is driving the hybrid workplace. The legacy boundaries and categorization of the onsite and remote workers are getting increasingly blurred each day. Employees, consultants, vendors, customers, and contractors have a much wider choice of where to work from with the flexibility of changing their location and preferred device of work over multiple periods. 

This hybrid work culture had accelerated during Covid and has, indeed, established itself as the new norm across corporations.  

Cybersecurity at a Delicate Precipice 

From the employee's perspective, the work-life balance is more pronounced, and productivity levels are increasing. However, data and privacy security have become a renewed concern in this hybrid environment model.  

There is a constant movement of data, and its usage across office networks, home networks, and various devices. As more and more personnel work remotely, there is a significant increase in personnel logging into corporate networks using different devices, networks, and connectivity infrastructure.  

There is also an explosion of different types of devices being used to complete official work by the end-user. The question then arises of how secure the devices are and the level of privacy and security measures being taken on each device. 

The enterprise itself might have strong internal cybersecurity measures, but in a hybrid working environment, a compromised home network could result in breaches of the enterprise network itself.  

The Data Breach Complexity 

Increase in the number of unsecured and unmonitored endpoints working from outside the comfort zone of a highly secured enterprise network and non-sanitized multiple devices are the recipes for a cybersecurity breach. This cybersecurity breach can be from anywhere and at any point in time. 

Data breaches become common due to insufficient BYOD (Bring your own device) monitoring technologies and policies. The cluttering of multiple devices and users across compromised networks without sufficient credentials and identity access, gives rise to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. There has been an increase in Incidents of malware being found on devices, phishing via email and other social media platforms, and ransomware attacks, all fed by the hybrid work model.  

Just as the organization has to fine-tune a company's operations, it is now critical for enterprises to reorganize and up the game in the cybersecurity arena as well. IT teams have to adapt and adopt newer technologies and strategies and reinvent their thinking of cybersecurity in a hybrid world as the walls of the office really no longer exist. 

Innovation and Response Times 

The speed of innovation and response to cybersecurity has to be proactive. Hackers are continuously finding newer and more sophisticated means of intruding into enterprise networks, and IT teams must be aware, vigilant, and proactive in thwarting cybersecurity threats and breaches. 

Cybersecurity software like DarkTrace, with the aid of Artificial Intelligence, can actually predict the possibility of cybersecurity vulnerabilities based on suspicious network activity that does not seem to adhere to existing security policies of the enterprise. This is like an early warning system before the storm hits the network. 

Once a suspicious anomaly is detected, the speed at which it is reported, analysed, and responded to, is crucial. The enterprise must react and respond to a possible attack in real-time before the damage is done. Time is of the essence, and DarkTrace is powered by a self-learning AI, an Autonomous Response System that initiates action autonomously to thwart an attack on behalf of the IT team. 

Just as hackers continuously innovate ways of attacking the network and data, the self-learning AI and the associated autonomous response introduced by DarkTrace also learns, upgrades, and creates patterns to recognize and thwart these attacks. 

Challenges in Cloud Security (and Solutions) 

Multiple Cloud Architectures and vendors, multiple devices, and endpoint accessibility from secure and non-secure locations are just some of the challenges faced across a hybrid enterprise. Data Security, credential and key management, access control, compliance, and communication channels are key focus areas within the cloud cybersecurity framework.  

The self-learning and proactive response system of DarkTrace continuously monitor regular patterns of usage, access, devices connected, and data flow across the Cloud Environment. As soon as unexpected and suspicious activity outside the defined normal is detected, DarkTrace immediately responds to the threat, all the while upgrading its self-learning algorithms for future threats. 

Email Account Security and Phishing  

Email phishing with nefarious links redirecting users to divulge secure information under the garb of legitimate-looking requests and spoofed domains is a common method used to breach the network and exploit the data. For that reason, continuous monitoring and control against phishing attacks is a vital component of end-user email data security. 

The proactive self-learning AI of DarkTrace learns and recognizes normal end-user interaction with an email. Deviations in this pattern triggers an autonomous real-time response, raising a flag and thwarting a phishing attack. 

Endpoint Protection 

The endpoint in the new hybrid workplace is continuously moving in and out of established enterprise security norms. Remote working with multiple devices, some company-owned, others not, can pose grave cybersecurity risks. Access control, patch management, adherence to compliances, malware protection, data loss prevention, and so on are all crucial parameters to be monitored and adhered to. 

Darktrace has a proactive machine learning system which can run unsupervised and is continuously monitoring regular patterns of endpoint usage and configuration updates. Indications of unexpected endpoint behaviour triggers the autonomous response system, thus thwarting a possible cyber-attack. 

Network Sanitization     

Illegitimate access and control of networks via phishing or dirty endpoints result in compromised networks with compromised user access. This compromised network is then open to incidents of insider data theft, ransomware attacks, and intrusive control of network management.  

DarkTrace, with its sophisticated network traffic behaviour and pattern recognition technology along with its AI self-learning system, ensures network behaviour is monitored at all times. Standard network usage patterns are recognized and updated, while any anomalies or suspicious activities are acted upon with its automatic self-response system. 

The Future 

The hybrid work environment is here to stay. It will get even more complex, and incidents of unsecured access will always be on the rise. 24/7 vigilance of cybersecurity threats and their proactive management will soon be commonplace, and IT teams empowered with AI-driven cybersecurity software will definitely gain momentum. 

Reach out to us to learn more. 

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