23 Mar 2021

In a hybrid workplace, security and connectivity are one and the same

Security and connectivity are a bit like a pair of wings (stay with me). 

If they don’t come as a pair, you might as well have neither.  

In a hybrid working world, the above should be your cyber security mantra. And let’s face it: a hybrid working world is where we’re heading after lockdown finally lifts.  

In this article I’m going to explore why connectivity and security are so interlinked – or at least should be – and how you can make sure the two work together in harmony as you adapt to new ways of working.  

But first let’s look at why all this matters so much.  

The cost of avoidable errors 

When you think of the biggest cause of cyber security breaches, what springs to mind?  

You might be surprised to learn that poor technology alone isn’t usually the culprit.  

More often than not it’s down to someone making a simple mistake.  

In fact, 90% of data breaches in 2019 were caused by human error, according to data from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), while 48% of workers are less likely to follow safe data practices at home

Technology does play a role as well, of course. Home networks are 3.5 times more likely to be infected with malware than corporate systems, according to recent research by BitSight

So the fact that 69% of organisations are worried about increased cyber security risks due to remote working hardly comes as a surprise.  

But there is, as I alluded to in my intro, a relatively simple solution to all these problems. 

Two problems. One solution 

93% of all security incidents can be avoided with basic cyber hygiene best practices, according to the Online Trust Alliance.  

And GCHQ echoes that sentiment, saying 80% of data breaches could be prevented by ‘simple best practice’ like updating anti-malware software regularly.   

Part of solving that problem comes down to training, of course. But more importantly than that it’s about having security technology in place that is simple, intuitive and easy for anyone to use in the proper way.  

Because if your security doesn’t work for everyone in your organisation, wherever they happen to be, it might as well not work at all.  

And the way you achieve that is by treating security and connectivity as one and the same thing, with the former deeply embedded into every bit of your infrastructure rather than treated as an add-on.  

That way you only have to deal with one supplier, with no additional apps to navigate, which not only means less cost, admin and hassle for you – it also gives you more control and reduces the risk of human error.  

The power of digital change 

Achieving the above requires investment, of course. Not just in cloud-based digital technology but in the skills and culture your organisation needs to make these changes a success.  

But in the world after Covid-19, viewing security as anything other than an integral part of your underlying connectivity will be far more costly in the long run.  

And the benefits of digital investment like this go well beyond the walls of your organisation.  

Our recent report with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that continued public sector investment in Covid-driven digital change could add billions to the UK economy by 2040. 

£75 billion, to be precise.  

In my humble opinion, anything that has such a massive impact on the UK’s recovery from this pandemic can only be a good thing.  

By Martin McFadyen, Head of Public Sector, Virgin Media Business - Follow on Twitter and LinkedIn 

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