Security taking a backseat as organisations prioritised remote networking

Security taking a backseat as organisations prioritised remote networking

As organisations evolve their remote access, many have yet to establish proper security controls, processes, and policies for remote work. Will this come to bite?

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Many companies globally have struggled with their remote access as well as the security challenges that the pandemic and hybrid work have created. This was a core observation from Palo Alto Networks latest study The State of Hybrid Workforce Security 2021.

They are now preparing their hybrid workforce strategy, which needs to take into account operations, technology infrastructure, physical real estate, workforce productivity, workforce satisfaction, and culture. 

At the time of the survey, over two-thirds of organisations indicated that between 25% to 75% of their workforce is working remotely – which is similar to the pattern seen during the peak of the pandemic.

While they have moved some of their workforce back to the office, the current work landscape remains generally similar to that during the height of the pandemic and remains dominated by remote work 

Before the pandemic, many were in the throes of major digital transformation initiatives – which included migrating to the cloud and modernising their infrastructure to better accommodate remote work. But the immediacy of the pandemic spurred a rapid acceleration in plans and accommodating remote work became the main focus.

Highlights from the study include

Leaders fear that shortcuts were taken that now put their organisations at higher risk. 

  • 48% of organisations admitted to compromising security or increasing security risk through lax enforcement of security policies and allowing employees more leeway than what was normally acceptable
  • 35% of respondents agreed that their employees either circumvented or purposely disabled the remote security measures they implemented
  • 53% of organisations who prioritised remote access over security are now exposed to significant security risks from unchecked acceptable use policy violations and unsanctioned application usage

Organisations are looking to the future with secure hybrid solutions for their employees. 

  • 62% of respondents are considering a hybrid workforce solution
  • 71% of organisations expect to have their security mostly or completely in the cloud over the next 24 months

Researchers surveyed and interviewed 3,000 enterprise information technology participants involved in information security, network operations, and application development, including 750 from APAC. The survey was conducted by ONR, an independent third party, on behalf of Palo Alto Networks, and be downloaded here.

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