All modern businesses have one thing in common: they can all be destroyed by a single cybersecurity incident. Whether it's a crippling ransomware attack or a major customer data breach, no business can hope to thrive in the XNUMXst century without strong defenses.

Traditionally, a defensive perimeter could be placed around the office, with corporate firewalls, strict device usage policies, and on-site IT support doing much of the heavy lifting to protect both the business and all employees. This arrangement was based on the fact that most employees worked from a centralized location, using computers and accessories that rarely left the office. This approach to cybersecurity is quickly becoming archaic, largely due to two important developments in recent years.

The first is the massive shift to remote work. Far from being a band-aid, stopgap solution to keep businesses afloat during a pandemic, the remote work experience has created a new paradigm of work, one in which the employee has much more say in how and where they work. As a result, most companies' footprints have spread and many employees now operate outside the corporate firewall, whether at home, in a coffee shop, or on public transportation. Of course, some companies will have had the agility to deploy specific laptops to their employees in order to maintain a cohesive cybersecurity strategy, but many others will have haphazardly done so with whatever equipment they had or relied on BYOD (Bring Your Own) policies. Own Device). to fill in the gaps.

It would simply have been a logistical problem if it hadn't been for the second major development in recent years: an evolution in cybercrime. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit their victims, and just as companies begin to master one tactic, another emerges. From the emergence of new approaches like ransomware to the iteration of proven techniques like phishing, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and easier to deploy.

Separately, these two developments would present a challenge for any company, but combined they have the potential to create a cybersecurity nightmare that requires a new approach and new teams.

Reduce our excessive dependence on software

Humans remain the biggest challenge for any company developing a cybersecurity strategy.

According to Verizon's 2022 Data Breach Investigation Report, approximately 82% of system breaches involved the exploitation of a human agent, typically by tricking them into taking an action that puts their business at risk.

Employees don't even have to succumb to phishing attacks to expose their business to hackers. Simply using a work device for personal purposes, whether it's shopping online or using social media, can put company data at risk. It is possible to suppress this type of behavior with workplace policies, of course, but it is a somewhat inevitable trend.

Companies are well aware of this 'human' problem, and in the sudden rush to protect employees as they spread beyond the corporate firewall, many have begun piling layers upon layers of security software onto employee devices. employees. While this may have provided a quick and easy way to improve overall security, it's a cumbersome approach that creates an over-reliance on software, potentially exposing organizations to additional risk.

Software is not only inherently vulnerable to expert hackers or those exploiting bugs or flaws, but the multiple layers can also be a major cause of employee frustration. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review study found that during a 10-day study, 67% of employees admitted to violating one or more company cybersecurity policies precisely because those layers of software were preventing them from continuing their jobs.

For modern businesses, there is an alternative. New technological innovations have made it much easier for companies to apply additional protections at the hardware level, helping them reduce their reliance on software and ease the burden on employees.

Intel vPro®, a PC based on HP's Intel Evo® Design™ is designed from the ground up with security in mind, providing hardware protections against threats that previous designs simply never considered. One such protection is hardware-based virtualization that allows an employee's machine to run multiple virtualized environments for different applications while keeping them isolated from each other and from threats they might encounter, such as malware or credential theft.

For example, when using a system like the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 with Intel vPro, it is possible for one laptop to run Microsoft or SAP business applications in a virtual machine, while another runs a web browser or other personal applications. This is something that would be difficult to achieve using software alone - advanced hardware is required to provide these equally advanced protections.

Importantly, these defenses are activated without the intervention of any employee and can allow your company to remove unnecessary security layers, especially since robust security technology, such as biometric security, can be integrated into the employee's device system and used in conjunction with virtualization. These robust security features work effortlessly on the user's part, delivering fast performance so they can focus on their own functions without interruption inside or outside the company's firewall.

The changing nature of security

Modern businesses are looking for ways to not only meet today's security challenges, but also to future-proof their systems against emerging threats. This hardware-level approach to security is one of the most effective ways your organization can achieve this.

Hackers are no longer just in the data theft business. They are now deploying sophisticated attacks against operating systems, system memory, and even the software responsible for powering the hardware, known as firmware, signaling a dramatic shift toward targets that are beyond the reach of most cybersecurity software. This is particularly problematic given that most employees now operate outside of the corporate firewall and may even be beyond the reach of IT support.

Intel® has worked with partners like HP to create a new generation of laptops and desktops that are hardened against these emerging threats. Intel vPro-based laptops, Intel Evo Design have a range of security features that protect against system-level attacks, prevent third-party tampering, prevent malware from taking over system resources, and allow PCs to IT remotely manage employee machines, ensuring systems stay up to date no matter where workers are.

Having so many devices transported and used in a variety of places also creates an unavoidable risk of loss or theft. Intel and HP have worked to address this issue with a tool called Total Memory Encryption, which encrypts all memory by default and prevents criminals from accessing data on stolen devices, even if the components are separate from the machine itself. With PCs like these, loss and theft remain problematic rather than potentially catastrophic for your entire business.

These types of defensive capabilities are becoming essential for businesses hoping to stay secure in the modern world. By investing in advanced PCs like those from HP with Intel vPro, an Intel Evo design, your business can retain that feeling of flexibility and freedom that hybrid working offers, while enjoying the kind of cybersecurity you'd traditionally only find in private, isolated environments. . By using these devices, you can counter today's cyber threats and put your business in the best position to face the future.

Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software, or service activation. No product or component can be absolutely safe. Your costs and results may vary.

@Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel vPro®, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and marks may be claimed as the property of others.

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