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Tackling cyber security challenges that come with hybrid work

Johannesburg, 24 Apr 2023

Hybrid work, which involves splitting the working week between in-office and remote work time, is the new normal that many companies have been adapting to after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis forced them to work remotely to continue providing services.

A recent study indicates that 58% of companies have been encouraged to promote a hybrid return to the office. In addition, it estimates that 48% of employees will be following a hybrid or remote model in the next two years.

These estimates suggest the hybrid model is here to stay, but what does this mean for cyber security?

1. Extended attack surfaces

With employees working out of the office, companies have a larger area to protect. In some cases, flexibility in the work model can increase the number of endpoints, networks and software, which adds to the workload of the teams handling cyber security for these organisations.

2. Shortage of security talent

Problems in obtaining qualified personnel can affect the way a company protects remote workers. As a result, outsourcing security to managed service providers (MSPs) has grown. These services need reliable technologies that help them optimise their resources to continue delivering the best service to their customers.

3. Less supervision by the security personnel

The very nature of remote work shifts some system access, network traffic and data outside conventional company perimeters, which can become a barrier to security monitoring. Organisations struggle to extend monitoring to all devices within the network and often fail to achieve the desired visibility.

4. Susceptibility to phishing attacks

Phishing continues to be a latent threat to companies. With workers away from the physical office, the risk is heightened. Employees rely more heavily on e-mail and may be more susceptible to a well-designed phishing attack disguised as a legitimate business request.

5. Vulnerabilities in devices

Devices that enable remote work must have the required patches installed as they can be a gateway to corporate networks.

Cyber security solutions designed for distributed enterprises

Since implementing the hybrid working model, MSPs are facing these new cyber security challenges to protect their customers' corporate networks. New targeted security solutions are required to address these issues and achieve the desired results.

WatchGuard has recently launched an updated line of Firebox desktop appliances to meet this need. Powered by their Unified Security Platform architecture, fast processing and increased memory deliver unified security protection against the latest network security threats for remote and distributed enterprise environments. These devices enable MSPs to protect their customers' locations, remote devices, office equipment and retail point-of-sale software, addressing the cyber security challenges caused by employees leaving physical office spaces, all while minimising network configuration and management requirements. Contact the Dolos team for more information about the new WatchGuard Firebox appliances.

“IT environments of all types and sizes face advanced and sophisticated threats from attackers, but SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) and branch offices typically don’t have dedicated technical staff to configure, install and manage network security appliances,” said Ryan Poutre, product manager at WatchGuard Technologies. “This new generation of Fireboxes takes full advantage of our Unified Security Platform architecture, enabling MSPs to provide the robust solutions and simplified management they require to meet the needs of a wide range of customers and deployment scenarios.”

With enterprise-class security services like APT Blocker (sandbox malware detection) and ThreatSync for shared knowledge between endpoint and network, the new Fireboxes are ideal for small businesses that lack a designated security team. Beyond providing advanced malware protection for distributed environments, the new appliances include SD-WAN to optimise network performance by dynamically distributing network traffic across multiple connections based on defined policies. These new Fireboxes take advantage of the latest updates in WatchGuard Cloud to display a graphical real-time update of SD-WAN link status and any failovers, and they also support the latest Fireware capabilities for load sharing across multiple links. These capabilities are included in all of WatchGuard's service packages.

Hybrid work is here to stay, so it is necessary for organisations to adapt to the new security requirements. Contact Dolos to find out how you can protect your users, devices and data across your entire network from a single unified platform.