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4 Steps to Improve Hybrid and Remote Work Cyber Security

Hybrid and remote work models are here to stay, so organizations must take extra precautions to ensure the security of their network and work-from-anywhere employees. This shift away from in-office work has directly impacted the costs of data breaches,1 resulting in over $1 million more on average lost where remote staff were a factor in the breach. Despite the benefits of hybrid work environments, employers need to adapt their cyber security strategies to meet modern workforce demands.

Here are four steps to improve your organization's hybrid and remote work cyber security strategy:

Secure Your Network and Data Access

Ensuring your network and critical data can be securely accessed from anywhere is vital, as outdated legacy perimeter security can't protect against the cyber threats remote access creates and puts more strain on your IT administrators to manually monitor user activities.

Fortify User Accounts

Secure your employees' user accounts by enforcing multifactor authentication (MFA) and strong passwords. MFA boosts identity verification by adding an additional checkpoint to make hacking the account more difficult. Passwords should be:

  • Unique to each of the employee's accounts to minimize the damage if one set of credentials is compromised.
  • A minimum of 12 characters long with special characters and numbers to make it more difficult for hackers to guess.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) creates encrypted connections between your employees' devices and your company network, affording them the same security and connectivity benefits as if they were working in the office and providing them secure, private network access.

Adopt a Zero Trust Policy

The concept behind the zero trust network access (ZTNA) framework is "trust none, verify all." ZTNA employs continuous user and device verification, network segmentation, and access control management to help mitigate remote work security risks and protect your network.

Educate Employees About Cyber Security

woman working remote with secure device

Your employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. Studies show nearly 38% of employees without cyber security training will fail phishing tests,3 so ensuring your employees – both onsite and remote – are trained on cyber security best practices and your company’s policies is crucial.

Teach Best Practices

Educate your staff on how to detect suspicious activity with onsite or virtual training, and reinforce this training often in emails and meetings. Encourage them to report anything suspicious to your IT security team immediately so they can take action to minimize disruption and reinforce your network.

Make Security Policies Clear

The first step to introducing cyber security policies to your employees is to outline a clear message about what your organization expects regarding onsite and remote cyber security. Your staff will be better able to follow your policies if they're clear, easy to understand, and relatable.

Ensure All Devices Are Secured

Many remote and hybrid work models center around a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. While this is great for reducing costs for your organization and allowing flexible work options for your employees, personal device usage increases the likelihood of exposing your network to malware.

Secure Home Routers

Home routers are likely not as thoroughly protected as those at the office, so it’s important to ensure your remote employees install the latest firmware updates, change their router passwords often, and employ WPA2 configuration. 

Enforce BYOD Policies

Develop clear policies about securing home devices and regularly distribute them to your employees. BYOD security risks need to be understood and taken seriously for your organization’s network to stay protected in remote and hybrid work environments.

Equip Software to Fight the Latest Cyber Threats

man working remote looking at phone

Cyber criminals create over 300 thousand new malware threats daily,2 and they're all seeking loopholes to exploit. Outdated software can't keep up with the changing threat landscape, so ensuring your employees' software is equipped to fight cyber attacks should be a top priority.

Safeguard Data

There are several ways to safeguard your company's sensitive data for secure access from anywhere. Make sure to:

  • Keep your software up to date with automatic updates or by using patch management software to deploy the newest updates company-wide.
  • Enable firewalls and use antivirus software to defend against malicious programs.
  • Back up your data regularly in case of a significant data loss incident.

Automate Monitoring

Hybrid work environments result in many requests and endpoints, and this increased potential for cyber attacks means organizations should be extra vigilant in their monitoring. Automation reduces the time it takes your IT staff to monitor and detect cyber security threats, freeing up resources for other important technology projects.


The rise in hybrid work has made it clear that flexibility and adaptability are key for ensuring your network stays secure. By taking steps now to defend against remote work cyber security threats, keeping your network protected regardless of your employees’ location will be much more manageable for your IT administrators.

Xceptional is your on-call expert for establishing a secure hybrid work environment. We tailor our Network Security solutions to meet your specific security needs, from performing regular updates to 24/7 monitoring and more. Contact us today to embrace the Xceptional experience, and learn how Xceptional’s security solutions help keep your network and data safe in the new world of work.