What lies ahead in securing remote work: The evolution of best practices

In recent years, the UK has become more aware of the dangers of cyber attacks. This increased awareness is partly due to media coverage and has led to businesses and government departments taking the necessary steps to protect themselves from cyber criminals. The landscape of end user cyber security practices has evolved, particularly in response to remote work trends. With the rise of flexible work arrangements, ensuring the security of devices and data has become a top priority. Organizations are implementing strategies to address the unique challenges posed by remote work environments.

A key message that has been emphasized by news outlets and cyber security experts is that it is not a matter of if, but when an organization will be targeted by a cyber attack. Sometimes the attack is obvious, with demands for ransom, but other times organizations are unknowingly infiltrated, particularly by state-sponsored groups. This message has been accepted by many company boards and decision makers, leading to action being taken to protect themselves and prepare for potential compromises.

One common approach is to train employees to recognize and respond to phishing attempts and regularly test their ability to identify malicious messages. This ongoing training is vital, especially for remote employees, as phishing attempts accounted for 25% of all cyber attacks. Additionally, as the IT estate has become more complex, organizations are shifting from the outdated idea of building a strong perimeter around assets to monitoring all assets regularly and assuming cyber criminals will gain access.

The zero-trust model, which verifies everyone and assumes no implicit trust, has gained prominence. This model emphasizes continuous verification of user identity, device health, and other contextual factors, making it suitable for dispersed and remote work environments. Organizations are implementing the principles of zero trust, such as explicit verification, least-privileged access, and assuming breach, to minimize damage, strengthen defenses, and detect threats.

In addition to these tactics, some organizations are creating a culture of cyber security awareness from top to bottom. This means everyone has a responsibility to protect their employers’ assets, including data and customer information. Going forward, more organizations are expected to embed a cyber security culture and adopt the principles of zero trust. However, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) may disrupt these efforts, as AI tools make it easier for cyber criminals to create fake messages. Tech companies are already working on solutions to counter the spread of fake messages, which may become a trend in 2024.

Looking ahead, cyber security best practices will likely involve further advancements in AI and machine learning for threat detection, increased automation in incident response, and context-aware security solutions. User-centric security measures and a proactive approach to staying ahead of emerging threats will be crucial. The concept of “identity as the new perimeter” reflects a shift in the traditional cyber security paradigm, where organizations focus on securing user and device identities as the primary defense against unauthorized access. By emphasizing identity as the new perimeter, organizations aim to create a more resilient and adaptive security posture. While cyber attacks are becoming more common, organizations are moving in the right direction in terms of cyber security and should continue to act swiftly.

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