With a newly dynamic workforce – enabling federal employees to work from home, many for the first time — it would seem that disruption is inevitable. Leaders in the public sector recognize that to guard against disrupters, planning for resiliency is key. However, before an agency can develop a plan for resiliency, they must understand the threats they face, including the risks that are created by having a dynamic workforce.
One of the risks that comes with a dynamic workforce is inconsistent levels of security awareness. For many federal employees, the pandemic necessitated their first experience with remote work. Not only were they often using home networks and personal equipment but the speed at which they moved from being in the office to working remotely introduced the possibility for many cybersecurity vulnerabilities, including phishing attacks. According to RSA’s Brian Robertson, “Connecting from a home network introduces risk as there is no standard configuration for access technologies like Wi-Fi. Additionally, employee devices are sharing the same access point with other connected personal devices and IoT devices such as webcams, smart home devices, and home printers. These devices do not typically have the latest security patches installed, creating additional risk and a potential point of entry into your environment.”
Despite the security risks that emerge as result of today’s dynamic workforce, it is possible for federal agencies to develop greater resiliency. What’s needed is on-going employee education and increased organizational visibility. “[It’s important to] monitor activity across all endpoints, on and off the network, for deep visibility into the state of your organization’s security posture to better understand when there is an issue and determine the potential impact to the organization,” explained Robertson.
The pandemic has disrupted every work environment, but for the public sector where there’s the perfect storm of a newly dynamic workforce and a highly likelihood of active cyberthreats, it has generated an intense search for solutions that build resiliency. The right solution is one that enables greater visibility across the entire organization to better understand risks and their impact. In combatting risk, through continued employee education and greater visibility, federal agencies are better prepared to combat the next big disrupter.
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