IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Work From Anywhere Opens Up Security Vulnerabilities

Research from Fortinet finds the insecurity of home and remote networks is the top work-from-anywhere security risk. By Colleen Frye

NEARLY TWO-THIRDS of companies have experienced a data breach due to their work-from-anywhere (WFA) employee vulnerabilities, according to the Fortinet 2023 Work-from-Anywhere Global Study conducted in early January 2023.

The research finds that most organizations consider the insecurity of home and remote networks to be their top WFA security risk. Other risks include employees using company laptops for personal reasons, employees not following security protocols when not in the office, and unknown users sharing the home network. Lack of visibility across distributed networks that include employee homes, branch offices, and other off-site locations, is also a key concern.

Yet WFA is not going away. A third of employees surveyed expect to stay working off-site 80% of the time, while more than half expect to continue working off-site 51-80% of their work week. At the same time, support calls regarding access and security issues have risen substantially due to WFA, with 72% of respondents seeing an increase the last two years.

Source: Fortinet, 2023 Work-from-Anywhere Global Study

The top priority for securing remote workers cited is network access control (NAC), with 58% reporting that they’ve already deployed such a solution.

More work remains, however, with 94% anticipating an increase in their security budget to accommodate WFA policies, and over a third (37%) expecting an increase of 10% or more. The top planned investments are anti-virus on company laptop (94%) and VPN (92%), followed by NAC, cloud security/CASB, secure web gateway, and a firewall at the employee’s home (all at 85%). Moreover, the report finds, those who have had a breach tied to WFA are more likely than those who have not to invest in laptop anti-virus, VPN, secure access service edge (SASE), SD-WAN, and zero-trust network access (ZTNA).

Even so, that leaves some organizations that still haven’t used VPN, or advanced into ZTNA and other technologies. Seems like plenty of opportunity for channel pros to help SMBs secure their WFA users.

Image: iStock

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