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Research by Okta suggests that six in ten European companies find employees more productive when they balance working remotely and working from the office. Systems need to be secured for both internal and external staff, but Okta indicates that many organizations struggle with the necessary measures.

The security company surveyed more than 500 European business leaders. 43 percent affords staffers a choice between office and remote work. The most frequently cited reason was employee wellness.

Ten years ago, the average company’s policy looked very different. Office work was the norm. Back then, security measures in systems were typically designed to protect users in a fixed location.

Security risks can arise when such systems are opened up to the outside world. It should come as no surprise that cybersecurity is the biggest remote working challenge for 32 percent of those surveyed.

Lack of SSO

One of the most popular security measures for hybrid companies is single sign on (SSO), a method whereby employees authenticate once through multiple steps to gain long-term access to applications. 54 percent of respondents use SSO. 32 percent of those not using SSO are considering an implementation.

More than half of the companies still use traditional passwords. If they decide to open up an application to remote employees, and a cybercriminal happens to get their hands on an employee’s password, applications can be accessed effortlessly as long as no additional measures are applied.

More investment

Respondents seem aware of the risk. 80 percent of European companies plan to increase investments in security and privacy tools. 81 percent have increased such investments in the past three years.

“Security remains a top priority for companies, but many still rely on passwords without considering better alternatives, such as passwordless logins”, said Arno Nienhuis, Vice President NEMEA at Okta.

“Solutions around identity management can act as the fundamental, strategic layer for building future-proof, scalable and secure hybrid workplaces.”

Tip: Trust remote workers and ‘end productivity paranoia’, Microsoft says