Innovations in cloud and mobile technologies have created more opportunities than ever for employees to work remotely, using devices of their choosing. But the flexibility of technology heterogeneity in the workplace isn’t without risk. As data becomes more accessible across a growing range of devices, the attack surface area also grows wider, raising the possibility of a potential data breach.

Securing data is an ongoing challenge for organizations of all sizes. In fact, security is the top priority for mobility and digital workplace investments in 2018, according to CCS Insight’s 2017 Mobile Technology Buyer Survey.

By following a few steps to develop a proactive security strategy, companies can effectively assess risk and minimize the potential of a breach – without compromising end-user experience.


#1: Get visibility of all your assets.

To better understand where threats can emerge, organizations need to know how users are accessing corporate assets. To that end, IT teams should adopt a platform that recognizes and sees the devices and networks that employees are using – you can’t protect what you can’t see. The ideal platform should not only be able to accurately identify users and entities but also recognize user patterns and highlight breaks from those patterns. A prerequisite to any successful security strategy is the ability to precisely – and quickly – recognize potentially suspicious activity.

#2: Leverage modern and intelligent technology.

The need for more intuitive monitoring systems is indicative of a larger strategic shift that proactive teams need to take – becoming early adopters of new technologies that meet their security needs. Hackers use modern tools to penetrate security systems, which means IT teams also need to stay up-to-date. To combat new threats, organizations should move away from legacy solutions and adopt the latest tools in AI, ML and other fields that fit with their business models. Before implementing a security solution, teams need to first educate themselves on these technologies and how they’re impacting the larger security landscape.

#3: Connect your security solutions.

Many businesses do their homework, investigate the technologies and adopt solutions that could help them but they often forget about integration with other solutions. When an organization deploys a variety of disparate solutions that don’t intuitively feed into one another, it can create a level of complexity that takes away from the intended results. To reduce complexity, organizations should ensure their solutions are well integrated. It’s an important step in improving security posture and allows teams to leverage threat intelligence in a seamless and connected way.

#4: Adopt comprehensive and consistent training methods.

Training has always been an essential component of security. Trained, well-informed employees go hand-in-hand with innovative software solutions. Businesses should have an array of training resources available to their employees, such as videos and security tests. Employees should be encouraged (or mandated) to undergo these training exercises. And, to ensure that the messages about security are comprehended, companies might also test employees by using tactics such as sending test phishing emails to raise awareness and promote best practices.

#5: Implement response procedures to mitigate risk.

It’s not a matter of if but when – the reality is that many organizations, especially large companies, will experience a security breach at some point. This makes it all the more important to have identifiable and deployable tools, platforms and procedures in place to quickly and intelligently respond to an attack. The same level of training that organizations apply to preventing attacks should also be applied to limiting the impact of breaches when they occur. Having those procedures in place rounds out a broader IT security strategy, adding an additional layer of security to data.


Adopting Strong Security While Maintaining User Flexibility

By understanding and adapting to the new realities of the digital workspace, organizations can be prepared for security threats wherever they may emerge. A comprehensive security solution should be proactive without compromising the end-user’s experience. It involves adopting the appropriate intuitive technologies that not only recognize complex user activity but also work within a larger, integrated system to limit breaches and stop threats when they emerge.


This article originally ran in Today’s Cybersecurity Leader, a monthly cybersecurity-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security magazine. Subscribe here.