Powering the Secure Remote Worker

The new normal since the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way organizations view their remote working strategy, particularly cybersecurity.

Webex in-meeting reaction hand gesture
Cisco

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses across the globe to transition to a remote work environment at unprecedented speed and scale. What was once a mere nice-to-have for employees and companies became a must-have almost overnight, with organizations all over the world shifting their entire workforce to remote working arrangements.

A recent study, “The Future of the Secure Remote Worker”, has highlighted that pre-COVID, about 28% of organizations had more than half of their workforce working remotely, while during-COVID as many as 73% of organizations had more than half of their workforce working remotely.

Security Challenges Galore

As the transition happened, organizations had to adapt and evolve their cybersecurity approach, solutions, and policies to enable their employees to work remotely, access company resources securely, and ensure business continuity.

However, the sudden shift to remote working did not come easy. Most organizations across the globe entered COVID-19 unprepared to securely support remote work on the scale that was suddenly demanded.

For instance, organizations experienced a jump in cybersecurity threats and alerts with malicious actors trying to take advantage of potential security gaps with users accessing the corporate network and cloud applications remotely. The report states that a whopping 73% of organizations that participated in the study admitted to having experienced a jump of 25% or more in cyber threats and alerts since the start of COVID-19.

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Cybersecurity by the numbers

A critical threat vector that is gaining ground is endpoint protection, what with office laptops and desktops and personal devices functioning in a remote environment. The other concerns surround customer information and cloud applications. With users connecting remotely, about 68% of the respondents in the Report stated that the top cybersecurity challenge faced by most organizations is secure access. Other concerns raised by organizations in India include data privacy, which has implications for the overall security posture, and protection against malware.

Moreover, the other important roadblock is that employers are also frustrated with the complexity of integrating collaboration technologies from multiple vendors, with about 64% of organizations citing it as an issue.

Cybersecurity pain points in the new normal

  • With users connecting remotely, the top cybersecurity challenge faced by most organizations is secure access
  • The challenge: Complexity of integrating collaboration technologies from multiple vendors

Source: The Future of the Secure Remote Worker Report, 2020 (India Findings)

Webex Innovations

Interestingly, post-COVID: 53% are expecting more than half of their workforce to be working remotely, which means this new normal is here to stay.

The transformation to a hybrid workplace provides myriad opportunities to address both old and new challenges with key collaboration technologies. These technologies can provide reliable solutions for both home-based and in-office workers while also creating intelligent workplaces.

In a bid to enhance the hybrid-remote work experience and keep it secure, Cisco has unleashed it’s the latest innovations to Cisco’s Webex Meetings such as noise cancellation, dedicated video desk devices, AI assistants, dedicated video desk devices like Webex Desk Pro to assist employees in have an optimal meeting experience and cope with video meeting fatigue.

Webex Cognitive Collaboration features such as Webex Assistant and People Insights bring artificial intelligence to automate meeting tasks. Cisco Webex comes with encryption, compliance visibility and control. IT decision-makers can get a hardened platform inside their own organization, or even when collaborating across company lines, that helps to keep data secure.

                   -- Hariharan S, Managing Director, Collaboration Business Cisco APJC

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Webex Security at a Glance

Webex provides the same, open experience everywhere so teams can get stuff done. For instance:

  • Single, integrated portfolio provides the ability to share and organize ideas, conduct scrum meetings, and brainstorm with local and remote participants.
  • Webex users can leverage familiar tools and workflows in a familiar UI with other business applications to support uninterrupted work streams.
  • Webex users can share screens with any remote participants, creating a seamless experience and removing geographic boundaries.

As the restrictions that were put in place across the world to combat COVID-19 begin to be lifted and plans to transition back into the office are underway, one can expect the emergence of a very different workplace and a different way of working from the one left behind, and these will be seamlessly supported by best-in-class hybrid collaborative technologies.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.