November 10, 2021

The rise of the hybrid workplace: What this means for connectivity, cloud, and cybersecurity

As some countries open up due to successful vaccination programmes, many businesses are making plans for their employees to return to the office in 2022 – at least part of the time.

However, the office that was ‘normal’ a year-and-a-half ago is unlikely to be the same office that employees will return to. Many have enjoyed a taste of working from home without rush hour traffic or an inflexible workday. And while most are happy to spend part of their time at the office, more than 70% of workers would prefer flexible remote work options to continue.

Concurrently, organisations are noticing that employees are more productive when working from home, and have realised there are major cost savings to be had by scrapping expensive office spaces.

Although some businesses initially closed their offices and sent employees to work at home permanently, many more are now looking at adopting a hybrid model where most staff members would split their time between home and the office.

So, what does this mean for the future of work? What about connectivity, the cloud, and security? Many organisations don’t even have an official work-from-home (WFH) policy in place, let alone an established hybrid working framework.

Business as usual

The purpose of a hybrid environment is to enable employees to do their jobs as smoothly as possible, irrespective of their location. For IT, that means supporting users in multiple ways, including giving them the tools they need to do their work comfortably and efficiently, providing the right collaboration technologies, connectivity, and cloud tools, while protecting devices and data.

The key to creating a successful hybrid workplace is enabling flexibility, which can only really be delivered via the cloud. During the pandemic, the cloud proved its worth by offering flexibility, agility, and the ability to scale on-demand. Today, practically all end devices are connected to the web, and with employees working on a slew of company-provided or personal devices, the cloud is a clear path to enabling the hybrid workplace.

Bring your own… Internet

Resilience is also essential for the hybrid workplace, putting network and connectivity at the top of the agenda. To succeed, employees must have a remote working digital experience as close as possible to what they are used to in their office. That means businesses will need to provide robust, secure, and reliable connectivity across home and office environments to bolster operations and ensure a seamless employee experience without hampering productivity.

Employees’ homes have effectively become an extension of a business’s wide area network (WAN), and IT departments need to have some sort of control over this extended network. With the appropriate tools in place, technical teams can monitor home environments to ensure quality connections.

Securing WFH capabilities

Then there’s the question of cybersecurity, which is probably the greatest challenge the hybrid workplace faces, as bad actors have been cashing in on employees working remotely. Attacks against cloud-based email, remote desktop applications, and other technologies designed to assist with remote work all soared last year.

For the IT department, monitoring employees everywhere is an arduous task, particularly considering how the attack surface has widened exponentially with multiple unsecured devices and applications now attaching to the company network. With a hybrid workforce, the physical security perimeter no longer exists, and an employee working from home needs to be treated in the same way as an employee working from the office.

For businesses to realise the value of their collaboration and productivity tools, they need to secure the connectivity and security required to support a hybrid workplace. Choosing an ICT partner that can offer the support, solutions, and insight you need is key.

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