NordLayer research reflects remote work challenges in the USA

LONDON, Nov. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The US is number sixteen on the list of countries in the world that are best for remote work, according to new research by cybersecurity company NordLayer. Last year, the company created the Global Remote Work Index (GRWI), which reveals the best and worst countries to work remotely in terms of four different criteria: cyber safety, economic safety, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety.

This year, NordLayer evaluated 108 countries compared to 66 last year. Here are the top 10 countries that are best for remote work according to this year’s data:

  1. Denmark
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Spain
  5. Sweden
  6. Portugal
  7. Estonia
  8. Lithuania
  9. Ireland
  10. Slovakia

The full list is available here:

The index was compiled by assessing and comparing countries using four index dimensions. Under each dimension are various attributes (sub-dimensions) that, combined, help evaluate general remote-work attractiveness:

1. Cyber safety — infrastructure, response capacity, and legal measures.

2. Economic safety — tourism attractiveness, English language proficiency, cost of living, and healthcare.

3. Digital and physical infrastructure — internet quality and affordability, e-infrastructure, e-government, and physical infrastructure.

4. Social safety — personal rights, inclusiveness, and safety.

How does the US rank?

The United States experienced a drop in ranking compared to the last year. It now ranks sixteenth compared to third place last year, with two main factors weighing it down. Cyber safety-wise, the US is ranked at 33, particularly due to the drop in the ranking of legal measures (down to 20 from seventh place in 2022). The second reason is the social safety factor (37) calculations, substituting the COVID-19 pandemic handling factor from 2022. The main determinant here is a drop in safety ranking (62 from 52), with inclusiveness (28) and personal rights (20) rankings also weighing the overall results down.

However, the USA can pride itself on providing the best cybersecurity infrastructure globally (1) as well as great response capacity (9). Moreover, the US is second in economic safety globally, with great healthcare results (4). In terms of digital and physical infrastructure, the US also shows great results (6), thanks to not only affordable (2) but also high-quality internet (9) and excellent e-government (2).

The US and other neighboring countries

Both the US and Canada perform very similarly in terms of cyber safety and economic safety, with very slight differences across the subcategories. However, when it comes to digital and physical infrastructure, the USA (6) is doing slightly better than Canada (15). This is predominantly due to a major difference in terms of internet affordability, where Canada is heavily surpassed by the USA. The only area in Canada that slightly surpasses the US is e-infrastructure, with all the other economic subcategories playing slightly to the US’s advantage.

On the other hand, in terms of social safety, Canada (21) is ahead of the USA (37). While personal freedom and general safety-wise Canada is doing better than the USA, the most telling factor is social inclusivity, where Canada (10) surpasses the USA (28) almost three times. In summary, comparing these two fairly similar neighbors points to at least a mild correlation between the reality and stereotypes of Canada being the more socially friendly and the USA being the more economically focused of the pair.

Practice good cybersecurity habits

“Even though some of the big tech companies recently brought their employees back to the office or introduced a hybrid work model, remote work is here to stay. It’s not just a trend — it is a fundamental shift in how we approach productivity and work-life balance. Embracing remote work empowers our teams to harness their full potential, regardless of geographical boundaries,” adds Donatas Tamelis, managing director at NordLayer.

For people interested in remote work, Tamelis recommends practicing several good cybersecurity practices:

  • Always use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet connection and helps protect your personal information from prying eyes. It is especially crucial when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Also, ensure that all your devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, have the latest software updates installed. These updates often include security patches that can help protect against known vulnerabilities.
  • Be cautious with public Wi-Fi and avoid accessing sensitive information such as online banking or entering passwords on public Wi-Fi networks unless you are using a VPN. Hackers can easily intercept data on unsecured networks.
  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible for your email accounts, social media profiles, and other online services you use while traveling. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification during login.
  • Use strong and unique passwords. Create strong passwords for each of your online accounts and avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a password manager like NordPass to securely store and generate complex passwords.

“In the age of remote work, cybersecurity is not just an option. It's a critical necessity to safeguard our data and protect our organization from evolving cyber threats. Working remotely opens up new opportunities, but it also exposes us to potential security risks. Cybersecurity vigilance is our first line of defense,“ says Tamelis from NordLayer.

Methodology: The Global Remote Work Index by NordLayer was conducted based on four dimensions that focus on countries’ cyber safety, economic conditions, digital and physical infrastructure, and social safety. Here you can find the full methodology:

NordLayer provides flexible and easy-to-implement cybersecurity tools for businesses of any size or work model developed by the standard of NordVPN. We help organizations secure networks in a stress-free way. NordLayer enhances internet security and modernizes network and resource access with technical improvements aligning with the best regulatory compliance standards. Helping organizations to adopt ZTNA and SWG principles, NordLayer is focused on the Security Service Edge of cybersecurity services. Quick and easy to integrate with existing infrastructure, hardware-free, and designed with ease of scale in mind, NordLayer meets the varying growth pace and ad-hoc cybersecurity requirements of agile businesses and distributed workforces today.

Evita Anilionyte