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Balancing Digital Adoption and Security for the Hybrid Workforce


A few years ago, the world of work was completely different. Suddenly, organizations were forced to adapt, and adopt new technologies in order to support a remote workforce and more distant customers. Using technology as a bridge to connect people to drive digital transformation is more important than ever before. For remote training, instructors rely on technology to stay connected, deliver lessons, communicate, ask questions, assess learners and evaluate results.And this is where Digital Adoption Software fits in, enabling a smooth transition for the hybrid workforce in the new normal. In order to keep up with this new world of work,enterprises increasingly realize the urgency to navigate this paradigm quickly and in a secure way.

Remote working and hybrid work, as well as the natural increase in the use of digital platforms by employees, have substantially increased the threat surface organizations must protect. With the growth of the threat surface, the number of new, innovative, and more virulent cyber threats has increased, with the majority targeting employees directly. JBS Packing, Colonial Pipeline and other companies have recently been attacked, demonstrating why security must be improved. Despite the fact that many employees will miss the in-person connections in the office, many have grown accustomed to the flexibility that comes with working remotely – from commuting less to spending more time with family. Therefore, we need to come up with smart digital adoption solutions that combine the safety of remote working with the efficiency of office work.

Securing a hybrid workplace is critical in Digital-First Economy

One of the transformations brought by Covid was a faster adoption of remote working. Hybrid workplaces has been one such option, where some employees have the option of working from home while others keep working from the office. However, regardless of where they work, users expect a seamless experience.

Over the last two years, there has been a significant increase in Phishing campaigns and the number of victims has risen as well.Users’ home networks may not be as secure as office networks, which means the security controls need to follow them. Otherwise, intruders can exploit any User endpoint to gain access to company resources that are otherwise secured. Before migrating to a permanent work from home or hybrid model, every organization should conduct a thorough risk assessment and implement the appropriate risk mitigation measures for the identified risks

Building a secure, digitally transformed hybrid workplace

Organizations have to be cognizant of all applicable risks before moving to extended work from home or Hybrid workplace.

  • Organisations should invest heavily on educating employees on the newer threat vectors to prevent them from becoming victims of such threats.
  • To adapt to the hybrid workplace, identity-based security must be enabled. As a basis for any identity infrastructure, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is essential.
  • Organisations should incorporate Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning solutions for authentication and authorization
  • In the event of a ransomware attack, organizations need support to guide the restoration process so that backups are not compromised.
  • Combining air-gapped, offline or immutable backups with the 3-2-1 rule provide one of the most effective defenses against ransomware, insider threats and accidental data deletion.
  • Digital Adoption Platforms must be viewed as critical infrastructure and should be treated accordingly – centralized detection and response to security incidents are essential
  • Businesses should modify their incident response plans to address newer threat vectors and associated weaknesses.
  • Organizations should invest on endpoint security, Zero Trust access/architecture, Monitoring endpoints at granular level etc.
  • By performing periodic automated scanning, businesses can spot any changes to the platform that may affect the platform’s security or the security of their customers’ applications.
  • In addition, continuous monitoring of the application and infrastructure allows customers to be informed in time if they are being attacked directly or indirectly.

Embracing the Hybrid Workforce

As people shifted from office-based collaboration to home-based collaboration, the pandemic accelerated the transformation of workplaces. Employees have been working remotely for years now. But the pandemic has brought it into sharp focus as entire organizations had to adopt remote working. Whether it’s quickly adjusting with stopgap measures to ensure business continuity, or planning on how to safely get the workforce back into the workplace, we are entering the next phase of hybrid work!

Combined with zero trust and SASE, digital adoption platforms provide a vastly improved employee digital experience, superior to making employees use unique security tools every time they want access to a new app. With the right tools, a hybrid work model can help HR leaders retain and attract top talent, achieve inclusion goals, and support employee engagement with the same rigor, depth, and transparency as in the pre-hybrid days. With clear, measurable, and adaptable infrastructure for hybrid, employers and employees can coordinate in-person and remote activities, collect data on what works, and over time optimize for the best hybrid mix.

(The author is Satya Machiraju, VP, Information Security, Whatfix and the views expressed in the article are his own)

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