We are living in a time of significant change when it comes to how and when we work. The events of last year saw what is seen as a permanent shift in how Australians work during the pandemic. Even now, vaccines are rolled out and we contemplate a return to the office, close to half of the population are working from home at least once a week, compared with 24% before March 2020.1
While this has brought welcome flexibility for many, it’s also brought all kinds of security risks to the surface, and the threat landscape is evolving constantly. A cybercrime is now reported in Australia every 10 minutes.2
In a recent study, 62% of businesses said that providing employees with secure access to the enterprise network and applications was their number one cybersecurity challenge right now.3
There are several reasons why remote working is riskier for businesses, and trickier for security teams to manage.
Firstly, there’s the disparate nature of the devices that people are working on. Employees all over Australia are now connecting to corporate networks from all kinds of devices – creating a complex environment for security and IT teams. While some of these devices may have been deployed and configured by the business, many are personal devices of varying ages and with all kinds of security specifications.
For security and IT teams, supporting a remote workforce that consists of disparate devices means protection must be provided at the network level. However, without the right technology in place, managing this process can be risky and can open up considerable opportunities for cybercriminals to attack.
Also, when devices aren’t centrally managed and controlled by an IT or security team, there’s simply no knowing what viruses or malware they may carry, or how many gaps there are for cybercriminals to exploit. Similarly, employees can ‘go rogue’ at any time – downloading ‘shadow IT’ applications onto their devices based on how they prefer to work, rather than what the business commonly permits. For instance, even if the corporate policy is to use Microsoft Teams for collaboration, file -sharing and chat, a particular group of workers may opt to use Slack, or WhatsApp for their day-to-day conversations and file -sharing.
To maintain rigorous security with a remote workforce, it’s also essential that employees take a proactive yet informed role regarding cybersecurity. This means, for instance, always checking that an email is from a reliable source, never clicking on suspect links, and being wary about what information they share over their corporate network. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that people working from home are more likely to take far more risks when it comes to cyber-security.
At the same time, IT teams are also overwhelmed by the work of providing rigorous security around the clock. A recent study found that for 63% of IT professionals, IT workloads have increased by 37% since going remote.4
To ensure remote employees are able to work securely and efficiently, it’s becoming increasingly imperative for businesses to have a virtual desktop infrastructure solution in place.
With a virtual desktop infrastructure solution, like Citrix on Azure, IT teams can virtually control and manage their users’ desktops with ease. All of the organisation’s data sits within the secure Azure ecosystem, and users simply access it via a fully customised and purpose-built desktop image that is always identical for the user, regardless of where they are working or what device they are working on.
With Citrix on Azure, it doesn’t matter which type of device an employee is using, as their desktop and all of their applications are securely and virtually located in Azure. This means that none of the employee’s data is actually stored on their device. Rather, all of their files, and the data associated with their communication and collaboration, happens inside Azure.
Virtual desktop solutions can add significant value to your organisation. To unlock this value, you need a partner like Data#3 that has in-depth Citrix expertise, and advanced specialisation in Azure.
1 ABS, [online] A year of Covid-19 and Australians work from home more
2 ABC, [online] Are Australians at a turning point on security or still unprepared?
3 Security Centric [online] Secure Remote Work
4 IT Brief, [online] IT Pros report increase in security issues due to remote working