What Does Hybrid Remote Mean?
The COVID pandemic had a massive impact on us as a civilization, with the workplace going through dynamic shifts in how it conducted its operations and logistics.
Remote working became the new norm as employees were trained and equipped with whatever they needed to perform their work obligations, all from the comfort of their homes.
While these measures were taken for health reasons, employers saw an upward movement in performance and noticed that employee satisfaction was at an all-time high.
Costs also went down since businesses no longer had to provide any space for employees, and neither did they have to pay for as many utilities and amenities.
Despite what most organizations thought, remote working became a win-win solution. So much so that businesses even after the pandemic have continued to implement remote working and hybrid remote working for certain job roles.
However, while both employees and businesses enjoy the benefits of hybrid remote work, they often disregard cybersecurity which, in today’s digital age, should be a priority for people and businesses everywhere.
Today, we’ll discuss the benefits of hybrid remote working and the risks it poses to cybersecurity. We’ll also cover top tips to keep your business and hybrid remote employees safe from hackers, scammers, malware, and other cybersecurity threats, at all times, regardless of whether you’re working at the office, at home, on the train, or in a busy cafe.
What Does Hybrid Remote Mean?
Hybrid remote working is a flexible work arrangement where employees can work partially from the office and partially from a remote setting such as their homes.
Depending on the job, schedules could be decided independently by employees or in consultation with their line managers.
While it might seem that remote working only came about during the COVID pandemic, it was a concept that existed long before.
With the advent of the internet, many types of businesses and employers would give this option to specific employees, especially if their job did not strictly require them to sit inside the office.
Journalists, writers, and customer service representatives are just some of the positions that have enjoyed the benefits of remote working since long before the pandemic.
The Benefits Of Hybrid Remote Working
The most obvious benefit is that the cost of work goes down for both employers and employees. Employers no longer need to provide as much office space, utilities, or amenities which helps them save on overhead costs.
For employees, costs such as fuel, lunch, coffee, and professional upkeep are no longer as high as they once were either, allowing them to divert these funds into improving the quality of their lives or saving for the future.
Research into the remote work model has shown that employees are a lot more productive when they’re working from home or are in a hybrid work model.
Reasons for this vary but managers and researchers suggest that some of the factors that lead to increased productivity in employees stem from working under less pressure and having fewer workplace distractions.
Employers have also seen fewer sick days among hybrid remote employees. Unless they’re gravely ill, employees will just continue to work without calling in sick as they are in the comfort of their homes and have everything they need to keep working at their own pace.
Many companies are turning to hiring specialized talent, even from other countries, on a purely remote work basis because they are unable to find that same level of talent in their own country.
Remote working has expanded the talent pool exponentially, allowing employers to access skilled and qualified candidates from beyond their borders. So much so, that it allows worthy candidates from even the most impoverished of areas to work for some of the most renowned organizations in the world, on merit alone.
The flexible nature of hybrid remote work allows employees to be able to better manage their professional and personal lives.
With a flexible work schedule, and the ability to work some days from home means you can spend more time with the family and enjoy a healthier work-life balance. Urgent critical errands become easier to manage without having to stress about work and presence at the office.
While there are undoubtedly going to be employees who will slack off and take advantage of hybrid remote working, that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of employees are sincere about their jobs and are mature enough to understand how to balance their personal affairs with their required workload.
Reduced Turnover Rates
Statistics show that companies with a hybrid remote work model have higher employee job satisfaction and, as an extension, reduced turnover rates. The flexible work schedule and lower cost of working make hybrid remote jobs a lot more appealing for employees.
Employees are also less likely to switch to another job or organization, especially one that requires coming to work at a physical location if they already have a hybrid remote work schedule.
With a flexible hybrid remote work model, employers are no longer needing to set up large offices and pay for high utility costs.
Employees don’t have to travel to work as much either, so there are fewer cars on the road as a consequence, which results in lower congestion, less traffic, and reduced pollution.
All this results in a smaller carbon footprint than before, which is great for the environment.
In fact, during COVID, researchers were astounded at just how low carbon emissions had gotten largely because people weren’t driving back and forth from work.
The Role Of Technology In Hybrid Remote Working
The advent of the internet and portable devices made remote working possible. With internet speeds improving over the years, hardware becoming more streamlined, and software becoming so advanced, it was inevitable that hybrid remote working would catch on.
Today, an entire sector of the IT industry is dedicated to developing remote working solutions, from closed network communication devices to integration software allowing employees to stay seamlessly connected and share data.
Despite the benefits that a flexible work model offers, it comes with its challenges and due to its heavy reliance on technology, these challenges can also present a great risk to the organization.
Lackluster IT Infrastructure
Hybrid remote work requires employees to coordinate a lot through cloud drives, so the first cost an organization would incur is setting up their employees with both individual and shared cloud drives. For more security, organizations may also invest in VPN gateways and other anti-hacker, anti-virus, and anti-malware software.
Also, depending on the size of the organization and how complicated the IT infrastructure is, it might become necessary to hire people to manage this infrastructure and offer employees the relevant tech support needed to ensure operations run smoothly.
Suffice it to say that a hybrid remote work model could be a costly investment for an organization, at least initially. However, there are ways of reducing costs, and depending on the type of work your organization is involved in, you might not need to have something ultra-secure which would bring costs down as well.
Home And Public Wi-Fi Networks Pose Risks
In the office, chances are the cybersecurity infrastructure is made up of secure networks, monitoring software, antiviruses, firewalls, and many other tools to help secure the organization and its vital information.
With remote working, employees would be accessing their work emails and servers on home and public networks, which are usually severely lacking when it comes to cybersecurity. This compromises the security of the whole organization as hackers or malware can gain access to the main servers through any employee’s laptop or phone.
Some Tips To Manage Cybersecurity For Hybrid Remote Work
While there are challenges to cybersecurity in a hybrid remote work model, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution available.
Organizations can take many steps to ensure their cybersecurity is never compromised and that the hybrid remote work model not only works but thrives, allowing for a more efficient and results-oriented work model.
Invest Smartly In Your IT Infrastructure
You can start with simple things, by installing a company Virtual Private Network (VPN) and a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on your employees' systems. This will be your first line of defense as any data your employees transfer would be going through a secure data pipeline, thanks to the VPN and RDP.
You and your employees would need to be somewhat proactive though and ensure that any devices being used for work purposes have the VPN and RDP (or similar protective software) installed.
Some other methods to implement include strictly controlling access rights, identity management, and user authentication. This is what is known as the “zero-trust” model.
You could also implement other measures such as frequent penetration testing and network monitoring to safeguard against potential hackers and malware.
What’s important is that you carefully assess the needs of your organization and implement only what is necessary. This way you may not have to spend a lot of money on expensive IT services that you don’t need.
Education And Awareness
Organizations will also need to put in an active effort to train and educate their employees so they have the necessary awareness regarding cybersecurity.
Regular training has become a necessity in today’s digital world and employees are required to have a healthy understanding of cybersecurity and act responsibly in the workplace.
It would be helpful if, instead of just teaching employees what they need to do, organizations took the time to explain the importance of why these security measures are necessary and how the business would suffer if there was any shortcoming.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) What is hybrid remote working?
Hybrid remote is a term used to describe work schedules that involve working from the office on some days and working remotely on others, predominantly from home.
Q) Does hybrid remote working pose a cybersecurity risk?
Without a proper IT security infrastructure and employees using their systems and devices responsibly, hybrid remote work can be a continuous risk to any workplace’s data and privacy. Without cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls and antivirus software, hackers can easily infiltrate vital data using spyware, malware, and viruses that can cause issues for the entire organization and result in loss of money and reputation.
Q) What can I do to make my workplace network secure?
If possible, keep a separate laptop, phone, and/or tablet for your work, and try not to use your work system for any personal tasks. Make sure you install verified and licensed antivirus software on any system that you may be working on.
Also, ask your employer to implement a private VPN for you if possible. This will ensure that your work data is protected from hackers and online threats regardless of where you might be working from.
If Your Business Offers Hybrid Remote Jobs You Should Consult With An IT Expert Today!
Now that you have an understanding of “What does hybrid remote mean?”, it would be prudent if you spoke to an IT solutions expert to better understand the impact of remote work on cybersecurity and what can be done to safeguard against it.
Reputable IT solution providers will even go so far as to provide a tailored solution, which includes both hardware and software, to give organizations a strong IT and Cybersecurity infrastructure.
To learn more about our services and how we can help set up a safe and secure hybrid remote model for your employees call us at 301-798-9170 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org