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How WFH Changed the Cloud: Work From Home and Cloud Security

Posted on Dec 10, 2020 8:30 am

The shift to widespread work from home has had an enormous impact on cloud security. Here’s how the cloud space has been changed forever.

It is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic that shocked the world in 2020 had enormous impacts on our daily lives. And not just in terms of handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing. The IT sector, too, experienced unprecedented transformations.

In this scenario, the biggest shift brought in as a consequence of worldwide lockdowns was the need to isolate themselves from co-workers. Remote working became a sudden, unavoidable reality for many people. Around the world, and across all industries, companies started to embrace the “work from home” culture.

This, though, wasn’t always a smooth transition. Many businesses had to set up protocols around work from home security almost overnight. The repercussions have been serious, and the unexpected challenges saw many players unprepared.

In particular, the security of cloud systems was often at risk of attack. To prevent threats that could result in the potential loss of data, money, and clients, businesses had to ramp up their cloud environments.

So, how has working from home impacted the security of cloud systems? Read on to learn all about it.

What Changed?

Let’s take a step back and start from the beginning. Neither remote working nor cloud computing are brand new concepts or technologies. Several companies were already supporting remote working before the pandemic struck. 

Scandinavian countries, in particular, have pioneered the “work from home” mentality for a few years now. These nations reaped incredible benefits by allowing employees to work shorter days, and in remote settings.

In the same way, cloud technologies have been around for a couple of decades. An increasing number of companies have been embracing the cloud in a consistent way. Cost-efficiency, flexibility, speed, and scalability attracted many business owners and IT managers.

So, what did change, then? The biggest transformation involved businesses that had little to no remote capabilities and insufficient IT expertise. These had to provide their entire workforce with a way to work from their homes, almost overnight.

They had no other option. It was either that or having to shut down the business completely. The transition from a traditional working environment to a remote one was a huge ask for many of these actors.

Moving IT systems to the cloud and providing remote access is not an easy feat at the best of times. During a pandemic, it became even more taxing. The urgency and necessity of doing so put enormous pressure on companies.

As if this wasn’t enough, the pandemic caused several new security issues, as we’re about to find out.

What Are the New Cloud Security Threats?

IT systems have always been susceptible to external and internal security attacks. Malware, ransomware, and phishing are nothing new, and unfortunately, they’re here to stay. 

The pandemic, though, generated a whole host of new issues when it comes to cloud security. Hackers perpetrated vicious attacks on hospitals and healthcare organizations. With the use of AI, they mimicked the behavior of charitable associations and asked people for personal information or money.

The new working from home arrangements, too, represented a potential liability. Employees accessing systems with personal devices or from unsafe locations opened security breaches. 

Yet, businesses needed to keep functioning even with their newly scattered, remote workforce. The consequences of not addressing new security threats could be catastrophic. Companies knew that they needed to act fast and in an efficient way.

In a matter of days, executives had to solve security issues or risk losing data and money. Areas such as employee credentials, connectivity concerns, and more were on the agenda. How could companies succeed at coming out of this scenario stronger and more resilient than before?

How Can Companies Prevent and Fix Security Issues?

The way to allow people to work from home while protecting the business was univocal. It was all about implementing, strengthening, and refining new and legacy security protocols. One of the best ways to reinforce a cloud environment is by adopting bullet-proof access and authentication methods.

Two-factor authentication helped companies to allow quick and secure access to corporate systems. Companies that adopted this approach were soon in a much better position, security-wise.

Another way to ensure that a cloud system is secure is to enable end-to-end data encryption. Doing so enables to protect all the information shared within the company at all times. Two-factor authentication and data encryption are not novel solutions, of course. This time, though, they were adopted out of a pressing necessity to act fast to the new working environment.

Many small businesses, start-ups, and solo entrepreneurs opted to outsource their IT systems. Managed service providers offer skills, expertise, and knowledge on all-things-IT, including security. By working with managed service providers, SMEs addressed and fixed their security concerns.

Cloud services are often one of the strongest selling points in an MSP portfolio. Many SMEs sought the expert help of MSPs to set up, track, and manage cloud environments that underpin remote working.

What Are the Potential Advantages of the New Work Landscape?

Those we have discussed are some of the essential security protocols that enable efficient and secure remote working. Let’s now take a look at the benefits of the new “work from home” culture.

Yes, because the pandemic-driven shift in working arrangements didn’t just cause panic. It also brought about great benefits, for both companies and staff.

Flexible working has long been on the agenda of many governments and companies around the world. Many entrepreneurs have been lobbying and advocating for it. Remote working is considered, by many, the future.

Firstly, remote working has the potential to improve people’s work-life balance. This, in turn, translates into better physical and mental health. And with increased wellbeing come increased happiness, productivity, and efficiency.

Secondly, it’s important to consider the environmental aspect. Working remotely has a much lower impact on nature and the environment. At a time when climate change should be one of our priorities, this becomes very important.

Up until the coronavirus outbreak, working from home was seen as something to do occasionally, but it may soon become the norm. With personal safety being an important benefit to add to the list, remote working might become a necessity. This, of course, will last at least until the pandemic is still ongoing.

During this time, more and more companies might need to allow their staff to perform their duties out of a standard office setting. For this reason, it is paramount that businesses get set for this change now. It is clear, now more than ever, that only with solid, secure IT systems supporting remote workers a company can be successful.

It’s also important to stress that partnering with the right MSP can be a great help. With an MSP, business owners can outsource all their IT security needs to expert professionals. This gives them the peace of mind that their remote staff can work efficiently, and that their cloud systems are secure.

What Are the Lessons Learned?

There is much to be learned from the new remote working culture, and the way it impacts cloud security. 

Companies around the world and across all industries need to put in place efficient security protocols. These will support the cloud environments accessed by their remote workforce.

Any new start-up or business will need to prioritize cloud and cloud security. Being competitive now requires the flexibility, scalability, and speed that only the cloud can deliver.

Last but not least, the role of managed service providers will be even more prominent in the future. These players will become more and more essential. They will enable companies across the globe to build and secure cloud environments in support of remote working. 

Make Work From Home Security Your Priority

In this article, we have discussed how crucial it is for companies to reinforce the security of their cloud environments. This needs to happen in view of remote working becoming even more widespread.

Nobody can anticipate how the COVID-19 pandemic will evolve. However, one thing is crystal clear: businesses must embrace this new way of working. And, to remain successful and competitive, they need to make work from home security a priority.

Outsourcing IT security to a trusted managed service provider can be a great option. This can be an especially smart move for small, less tech-savvy companies.

If you think that you might need assistance with your company’s IT, then why not give us a call? The team at NETdepot will be delighted to have a chat and discuss your needs in detail.

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