During the Covid-19 pandemic, malicious remote access attempts grew 2.4 times and the global hybrid workforce was targeted with more than 100 million email threats daily in September, a new report showed on Friday.

“This underscores the importance of security infrastructures that keep work accessible to the right users and out of reach of fraudulent actors,” according to global ‘Hybrid Work Index’ released by networking giant Cisco.

As countries return to normalcy, hybrid work is being refined and 64 percent of those surveyed agree that the ability to work remotely instead of coming into an office directly affects whether they stay or leave a job.

However, there is also uncertainty whether employers will realize the potential of hybrid work as only 47 percent think that their company will allow working from anywhere vs. in-office over the next 6-12 months, said the report, based on millions of aggregated and anonymous customer data points.

“We’re truly at a unique time, with the ability to redefine work. All employees around the world want a workplace that enables them to do their best, and it is our responsibility as business leaders to learn how best to support and enable our employees, however and wherever they work,” said Chuck Robbins, Chair and CEO, Cisco.

An overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that personal health and wellness, along with flexible work arrangements, are non-negotiables as we move into the future of hybrid work.

“Pre-pandemic, people used mobile devices 9 per cent of the time to connect to their meetings. In a hybrid work world, this number tripled and is now at 27 per cent,” the findings showed.

More than 61 million meetings take place globally every month via Cisco Webex and in any one of them, only 48 percent of participants are likely to speak.

“In addition, 98 per cent of meetings have at least 1 person joining remotely — increasing the need for inclusion and engagement of remote participants, so that they feel equal to their peers on site,” the Cisco report noted.

Nearly 82 percent of survey respondents agreed that access to connectivity is critical to recovery from the pandemic and the importance of ensuring everyone has equal access to jobs, education, and healthcare opportunities.

From January 2020 to August 2021, cloud provider networks accounted for just 5 percent of outage incident volume. ISP networks accounted for the remaining 95 percent of outage incidents.

“Devices connecting to office-based Wi-Fi networks increased 61 per cent in comparison to six months ago. This growth is led by the higher education, professional services and hospitality industries,” the report said.

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