The Hybrid Workplace Has (Security) Issues

Since the global shift to remote work in early 2020, there’s been more buzz than ever about the hybrid office, a model that aims to combine the strengths of its traditional and remote counterparts.

There’s good reason to get excited about this major evolution in the workforce. In a hybrid environment, employees can divide their working hours between home (or anywhere, really) and the office, which removes the “one-size-fits-all” approach to how they’re expected to achieve organization, efficiency and focus. As a result, hybrid work holds the promise of more flexibility, increased collaboration, higher morale and—contrary to conventional wisdom—greater productivity.

At the same time, it’s also important not to sugarcoat things. The very flexibility that lends the hybrid workplace its many advantages also creates gaps in IT security. One Wall Street Journal article went so far as to call it a “hacker’s dream” and “cybersecurity nightmare.” Based on the social media response to those descriptions, it seems like many IT professionals would agree. They’ve been battling a massive rise in the number of cyberattacks that aim to exploit this new distributed workforce.

The hybrid workplace magnifies age-old problems

So, how exactly is the hybrid workplace inherently more risky than the traditional model?

  • Open windows: Your average user has always been pretty lax about keeping their device up to date with the latest security patches. But if the dynamic nature of hybrid work leaves IT unable to monitor BYOD devices closely or push out updates to company-issued devices quickly, it could open the window just wide enough for a hacker to take advantage of a fresh exploit.
  • Personal problems: There’s nothing new about employees using work-related devices for personal use—checking social media, for example, or making an online retail purchase. The hybrid environment can blur that distinction even further, which exposes work devices to even more threats, such as public Wi-Fi networks or connections to un-vetted smart home devices.
  • Gone phishing: Malicious e-mails aren’t uncommon in the corporate world. If a user is also receiving their personal e-mail—along with the inevitable phishing attempts—on their work device, it likewise increases the vulnerability of the corporate network. Scammers are all too aware of this, which is why phishing incidents rose by 110% between 2019 and 2020.

Hardening cybersecurity through Zero Trust

Zero Trust has emerged as a best practice for mitigating the risks not just of the hybrid workplace but the entire Digital Era. In a nutshell, Zero Trust assumes that every device or user on the network could be compromised. Protecting the network and safeguarding sensitive data therefore means that restrictiveness, as opposed to permissiveness, is the default. Even after several strong identity checks, users can access only the files and services they need to stay productive.

This technical document by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has more detail on Zero Trust as an architecture and a security paradigm. And this blog post looks at the concept of Zero Trust and how it relates specifically to remote work. 

One of the fastest paths to a Zero Trust architecture, even in challenging hybrid environments, is through adopting solutions that already support it. Cameyo is one such solution.

How Cameyo brings Zero Trust to Virtual App Delivery (VAD)

Cameyo was developed with a Zero Trust security model as its foundation. This means it doesn’t require any extra steps or add-ons to make Cameyo a seamless fit with stringent Zero Trust policies.

That might seem like it’s at odds with Cameyo’s ease of use, given that remote employees can still access their business-critical apps anywhere, anytime, on any device, and with a single click. Doesn’t tighter security mean more cumbersome hoops for the user to jump through?

A big part of this capability is that Cameyo’s Virtual App Delivery (VAD) platform separates the user’s device from the corporate network entirely. Even if the user’s device is unpatched or outdated, Cameyo keeps it sequestered through a secure technology called NoVPN. Apps run in an SSL-encrypted browser window, so they never actually come into contact with anything outside of that secure browser session. That completely eliminates the chance that an employee’s personal device can infect or harm the corporate network or its data. 

There are several additional technologies that Cameyo implements to support Zero Trust architectures. Its Port Shield functionality dynamically opens and closes common RDP and HTTPS ports in response to authenticated remote activity, which minimizes opportunities for brute force attacks or zero-day exploits. Meanwhile, layered revert and session sync work to preserve essential user and application settings while discarding data that could harbor malicious software.

With this powerful combo of features, Cameyo enables your organization to accelerate its implementation of Zero Trust while also smoothing the transition to hybrid work. With Cameyo’s Virtual Application Delivery, remote and in-house employees enjoy straightforward access to the applications they need without those applications being installed on their devices. Along with reducing the time spent managing app updates, this helps to offset the security risks of BYOD devices, outdated systems or under-vigilant users.

For more info, Cameyo’s full suite of built-in Zero Trust practices and technologies is detailed in this blog post. You can also test Cameyo firsthand in your own organization, totally free of charge. Simply sign up for your free trial today and experience the security and simplicity of virtual application delivery for yourself.