In recent weeks, there have been a slew of organizations announcing that their work from home policies will be extended through the end of the year such as is the case with Google and Facebook, or perhaps indefinitely such as Twitter and Square.
It’s good news to many technology workers who, according to a recent CNBC|SurveyMonkey survey, prefer remote work (25%). Also, a recent survey, produced by Cybersecurity Insiders on behalf of Pulse Secure, found that 38% of U.S. companies experienced gains in productivity. In this survey, 84% of respondents believe they will institute broader and permanent work from home policies beyond the novel coronavirus crisis.
What does the work from home policies mean for organizations going forward? When it comes to security and compliance, it means quite a bit. According to the Cybersecurity Insiders survey, 69% of respondents are concerned about work from home (WFH) risks, especially due to low user awareness training, poorly secured home and public WiFi networks, use of personal devices and sensitive data leakage.
A full 78% of respondents expressed their desire to enforce the same level of security controls for remote users as they do for on-premises users. While 65% allow access from personal, unmanaged devices, two-thirds of security professionals anticipate malware, phishing, unauthorized user and device access, and unpatched/at-risk systems to be the most exploitable WFH attack vectors.
“Sixty-three percent expressed that remote work could impact compliance mandates that apply to their organization; especially GDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA and those with data breach notification,” the report found.
Interestingly, about three-fourths of those organizations surveyed said they have more than 76% of their employees working from up — that’s up from 25% in 2019. Still, a third of those surveyed said their organization is ill-prepared or not prepared to support remote working. Yet, 75% of businesses transitioned to remote working within 15 days.
“Surprisingly, less than a third expressed cost or budget problems, demonstrating the urgency to support their business. Additionally, more than half (54%) expressed that COVID-19 has accelerated migration of users’ workflows and applications to the cloud,” stated the report.
How are survey respondents securing their staff who work from home? The survey found the most common to be endpoint security, firewalls, virtual private networks and multi-factor authentication.
The 2020 Remote Work-From-Home Cybersecurity Report is based on a survey of 413 security decision makers, conducted in May of this year, within multiple industries, including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, high-tech, government and education.
Interestingly, the work from home movement may also give a boost to the gig economy, as gig economy work moves from lower-paying taskwork to professional gig work. A recent report, How the Gig Economy is Reshaping Tech Careers and IT Itself, highlighted data that shows 72% of all gig projects were in large enterprise and professional services firms throughout 2018 and 2019, compared with 52% two years prior.
“This rapid growth is spurred by workers’ interest in flexible careers as well as businesses’ interest in convenience and efficiency. There are signs that the gig economy is finding many adherents overseas as well,” stated the report.
Whether or not the work from home movement is real or long-term is no longer the question, it’s for how long and how far the trend goes. Enterprise technology leaders had soon prepare for a much more remote and loosely connected workforce.