As remote work becomes the rule rather than the exception, companies all around the world are setting up policies and procedures to deal with the increasing cyber risks associated with working from home and also with the risks stemming from connecting to the company network using a VPN connection. In this post, we analyze the current situation and show how FlashStart’s Internet Filtering Services are an optimal choice to face the new challenges.
1. Remote work: the state of the art
1.1 European employers’ perspective
Recently, Owl Labs has published the European edition of its report on the State of Hybrid Work 2021. Owl Labs is a company that was born in 2014 and is based in the United States. It provides high-tech devices for video conferencing and in 2019 won the seventh NEVY Award as the Hottest Tech Company, a prize awarded by the New England Venture Capital Association on an yearly basis and that recognizes high-growth tech companies that do cutting-edge work in their sector.
Owl Labs conducted a study in Europe, mainly interviewing executives, heads of departments, HR managers and general managers based in northern European countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Finland. The aim of the study was to find out their opinions on hybrid work after the pandemic. Indeed, Owl Labs sees hybrid work, meaning the mix of work from the office and work from other places, as the future of work after the pandemic.
Here are the main findings of their study:
» First of all, hybrid work is here to stay: 89% of the interviewed plan on having a hybrid workforce after covid while only 11% expect their employees to go back to the office full time.
» Also, European companies are exploring and developing new work policies. For example, core hours are being established, to allow employees who work remotely to manage their time better, knowing that they are obliged to be connected at a given time but then can decide how to organize their work schedule in line with their personal life needs.
» Finally, 32% of employers expect to hire new employees who can work remotely. This trend is justified by a research process which is based more on employees’ skills rather than on their proximity and ability to reach the office.
This final aspect has been widely analyzed over time. In 2019, Matt Mullenweg gave a speech titled “The Way We Work” at a TED conference. Mullenweg, who is the cofounder of WordPress and the founder and CEO of Automattic, explained that in his companies he has embraced distributed work, a term he prefers to remote work.
In his opinion, the decision to go distributed is based not only on a desire to give people more autonomy over how they do their work but also on the ability to catch better-suited employees for the job. In fact, as he explains, “In Silicon Valley, the big tech companies fish from essentially the same small pond or bay. A distributed company can fish from the entire ocean.”
>> FlashStart protects your remote workers from a wide range of threats and prevents access to malicious websites ? Start your free trial now
1.2 The workers’ perspective
So, how do workers feel about working remotely? Two years into the pandemic, we are all tech-savvier and more accustomed to working with a different timetable and, why not, different comforts around us. Once the initial difficulties have been overpassed, employees have started enjoying the advantages of working from home.
In March 2022 Findstack reported that 99% of people would choose to work remotely for the rest of their lives, even if it is just part-time. Hence, the pandemic has made people better understand the meaning of the words “quality in life” and they now want more freedom and flexibility.
Moreover, 77% of employees report that they feel more productive when working from home. A trend that is probably confirmed also on the employer’s side given the stats reported in the previous section of this article.
>> Has your house become the new office? FlashStart is the perfect solution for households that want to grant a high level of security from cyber threats ? Request an offer!
2. Internet Filtering Services: the solution for safe remote work
On top of spreading the culture of remote work, and probably in parallel with this trend, the pandemic has also resulted in an increase in the amount and types of cyber threats. Cyber attacks, especially of the phishing type, at the height of the pandemic soared by a staggering 220% compared to the yearly average, as reported by the F5’s Phishing and Fraud Report.
For more information about the effects of the pandemic on cyber threats you can read our recent dedicated article available here.
In this panorama of growing cyber insecurity, Internet Filtering Services have proven to be a preferred solution to make remote work safer. Internet filtering services act as a checkpoint between the user’s device and the Internet: they check all the ingoing and outgoing traffic and block access to malicious and dangerous contents.
>> You can activate the FlashStart Cloud protection on all Routers and Firewall to grant the safety of your desktop and mobile devices, and of IoT devices on local networks ? Start your free trial now
3. FlashStart’s Internet Filtering Services
FlashStart is the ideal provider of Internet Filtering Services because the product it offer is:
» Ideal for all work environments, be it inside the company network or elsewhere;
» Continuously updated to grant protection against the latest threats;
» Flexible so as to satisfy all the needs of companies, households, educational institutions and Public Administrations.
3.1 FlashStart: the solution for all work environments
The Internet filtering services offered by FlashStart can be used on all devices. Indeed, FlashStart is available in two ways:
» At the router level: by installing FlashStart at the router level, you will ensure that all traffic going through your network is constantly checked, at all times. This allows you to forget about the cyber risks FlashStart can block and dedicate your time to other matters.
In this way FlashStart will block access to dangerous and malicious contents not only for laptops that are the usual devices we think of when considering cyber security. Indeed, today threats and attacks can target a much wider set of devices, that is, all those connected to the Internet.
For example, our houses are becoming more and more technological. We talk about IoT, Internet of Things, that is, all those devices that, in order to function at their best, are partly connected to the Internet using the home router.
» At the end-point level: FlashStart can grant the protection of your devices everywhere thanks to its ClientShield application, the end-point application that has become a must for remote workers who connect from wherever in the world, be it their home, a café or the airport where they are taking off from.
Also, mobile phones are becoming a new preferred target for hackers, who can attack them exploiting messaging apps and gaming apps, where they can launch phishing attacks through well prepared fake ads or inviting links. To find out more about how hackers are targeting mobile devices consult our dedicated article.
>> FlashStart is the perfect solution to protect all your devices, everywhere ? Try it now!
3.2 FlashStart: the updated solution
FlashStart offers Internet filtering services that are constantly updated. To ensure that all the latest threats are covered by its filter, FlashStart uses a mix of:
» Artificial Intelligence (AI): this is a mix of algorithms and computing models that can “learn” from what they analyze in order to understand what are the changing characteristics of malicious and dangerous websites and report them as such.
» Human Intelligence: in FlashStart we believe in and employ skilled people, who are knowledgeable about the threats of the Internet, develop analysis models and verify potential new threats.
3.3 FlashStart: the flexible solution
The Internet filtering services offered by FlashStart are completely customizable to satisfy all the needs of the users, be they companies, households, Public Administrations or educational institutions. The FlashStart filter can be adapted in order to grant higher efficiency based on:
» Contents: While some contents, like the most dangerous ones, are blocked outright, the filter offers the possibility to choose whether or not to block other, less dangerous contents that may however have an impact on efficiency. This is possible thanks to a wide range of deny lists that categorize websites based on their contents, such as adult contents, video contents, social networks, online shopping, etc.
» Time: The network administrator or Internet Service Provider (ISP) can also choose to schedule the blocks thus, for example, blocking access to distracting contents during work hours while allowing it during breaks. This is another customization that can help increase efficiency in the workplace.
» Users: Finally, the filter can have different settings for different users, a feature that is particularly useful when you wish to diversify the Internet options that employees from different departments should enjoy. Moreover, FlashStart is fully integrated with the Microsoft Active Directory and allows you to import the user groups directly from there.
You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.