How to optimise device security for hybrid working

  • November 24th, 2021 at 10:51 am

The way we work has changed, possibly for good.  

82% of office workers have worked from home since the start of the pandemic, and 23% expect to work predominantly from home post pandemic. 16% also expect to split their time equally between home and office-based workingi.  

This sudden shift to large-scale remote working has exacerbated vulnerabilities, and left many businesses exposed to cyber-attack. 

Employees are now accessing the corporate network – and highly valuable data – from a raft of devices, each with varying levels of security protection. Evidence suggests that employees also tend to be more cavalier in terms of their behaviours when working from home.   

76% of office workers say working from home during COVID-19 has blurred the lines between their personal and professional lives.  

46% admit to using their work laptop for ‘life admin’.  

30% have let someone else use their work device, despite 85% of IT managers saying they worry such behaviour increases the risk of a security breach. 

Source: HP Wolf Security and Blurred Lines report 2021 

At the same time, cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated, frequent and targeted in their attacks.  

During the 2020–21 financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received an average of 60 calls a day, a staggering increase of 310% on the previous year. Self-reported losses from cybercrime in this financial year also equated to more than $33 billionii.  

Given all of this, a traditional approach to endpoint security is no longer enough. Businesses are now realising they need to focus their security where the true risks like – with individual devices.  

But how do you prepare a robust security plan for an increasingly distributed workforce? And what steps do you need to take in order to prepare your devices for a new world of work? 

Here’s a quick overview:   

Step 1: Audit  

Before you can assess the security of your device fleet, you need to understand the scope of the assets that are under your control. This means creating a thorough and up-to-date master list of all your organisation’s devices and accessories, and their owners.

Step 2: Assess 

Once you have your list, then you can start to assess the condition and performance of each device, including its age, battery life and general physical condition.  

Step 3: Detect  

Once aware of which devices fall under your control, you’ll need to determine the current security software, patches and other defence systems on each device.   

Step 4: Create a refresh map 

Inevitably, devices and accessories will have different refresh, repair or replacement timeframes. Create a schedule, and document which devices need an update, and when.  

Step 5: Publish 

Publish a rollout map, indicating which devices will be overhauled or replaced. Be sure to give your users plenty of warning, and stagger expenditure to align with cashflow. 

Step 6: Training 

The way in which your employees use their devices can also play a key role in keeping your organisation protected. So be sure to conduct onboarding and training with each user when their refurbished machine is returned, highlighting security procedures and policies you expect them to follow. 

Extending the life of your devices 

It’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to immediately replace devices to enhance their security. While you’re running a device audit and getting your security up to par, it makes sense to look at extending the life of the assets you already own, ensuring your team are on the most appropriate devices and improving the sustainability of your technology.  

You can extend the life of your current devices by:  

  • Improving security and productivity by software updates 
  • Removing unused software applications and stored files 
  • Detecting any lurking malware or vulnerabilities 
  • Resetting and strengthening passwords and introducing 2-factor authentication 

Let a HP Partner help you create your IT security plan

If you are interested in learning more about device security and how your organisation can make a plan that’s right for your business, download the eBook ‘Why your hybrid workplace needs a business technology plan’ today