Remote work is no longer a trend — in 2022, remote workers represented 30% of the overall workforce. Cloud services and mobile devices have made the work environment more flexible, and organizations have implemented bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies to enable employees who are working from anywhere to get more done.
Workers’ attitudes toward work and technology have shifted, and with this, the security landscape has also changed. In a recent survey, Lookout found that 92% of remote workers report using their personal tablets or smartphones for work tasks, with 46% of them having saved a work file onto those devices. These common remote work practices mean that your organization now has less visibility into what's happening with corporate data, which in turn makes you more vulnerable to risks.
This blog covers some of the main challenges of securing data in remote work environments, and for a deeper look, check out Lookout's recently published The State of Remote Work Security report.
Remote work blurs the line between personal and professional
Employees are no longer doing all of their work from corporate issued laptops, and while BYOD policies have allowed for flexibility and boosted productivity, it's also created new challenges for IT departments — including lack of visibility into what's happening with corporate data.
This is especially important when you recognize how frequently remote workers mix the personal with the professional. Lookout found that 43% of remote employees use personal devices instead of company-issued equipment, and the majority of remote and hybrid workers have admitted to doing personal tasks during work hours.
Lookout also found evidence that remote and hybrid workers are less likely to use best practices for data security, often because it's more convenient. Nearly 60% admitted to sending an email from a work account to a personal account, and 45% of workers recycle their passwords for both work and personal accounts.
The pervasiveness of these practices is bad news for your organization's overall security posture. This means that if one of your employees' personal accounts gets compromised, it could result in sensitive corporate information being compromised as well.
A new risk landscape
In a hybrid world, organizations no longer have the safety of the perimeter. They are being exposed to different threats — and more threats — than they've been exposed to in the past.
Here are some of the specific security areas your organization should be focused on:
- Out of date devices: In a BYOD model, employees are responsible for making their own updates, and often they don’t, leaving the device vulnerable to threats.
- Shadow IT: One third of employees use apps and software that haven’t been approved by IT, meaning your organization can’t ensure that it’s a safe place for corporate data.
- Increasingly frequent phishing threats: Remote workers are targeted by phishing attacks more frequently than they were when in-office work was the norm, and any app with messaging can be used as an avenue for phishing attacks.
As work and life merge, you need to be ready to face these risks head-on.
Worry-free remote work
New norms have developed for hybrid and remote workers, and with them have come new security threats. In this ever-changing landscape, how do you keep your organization secure?
The answer is security that works wherever your employees are. Since employees are working in the cloud, your security solution should, too. A cloud-based solution provides the flexibility you need to secure unmanaged devices and cloud apps, enabling you to keep an eye on your data wherever it goes.
With a comprehensive, cloud-native solution like the Lookout Cloud Security Platform, you’ll have visibility and control that extends across devices, apps, and networks so you can embrace a flexible remote work environment without sacrificing security.
For more on how remote work is changing the security landscape, check out the full State of Remote Work Security report from Lookout.
Book a personalized, no-pressure demo today to learn:
- How adversaries are leveraging avenues outside traditional email to conduct phishing on iOS and Android devices
- Real-world examples of phishing and app threats that have compromised organizations
- How an integrated endpoint-to-cloud security platform can detect threats and protect your organization
Download Now: The State of Remote Work Security 2023 (Free Report)
Lookout data shows that 32% of remote and hybrid workers use apps or software not approved by IT and 92% of remote employees perform work tasks on their personal tablet or smartphone devices.