The future workspace is remote and digital. The trend that began mid-2019 quickly moved on to become the 'new normal' amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Gartner predicts that organisational plasticity and IT adaptability will be the significant technology trend that businesses should plan for 2021.
Organisations are now facing pressure to quickly adapt to the challenges from a rapidly changing workforce demographic and the ongoing global health crisis.
Companies are also adapting to an influx of millennials who have transformed the work environment in almost every aspect. This culture change leads HR teams and economists to talk of 'the 2020 workplace' – where during 2020, over 36% of the workforce consisted of employees born after the baby boomer generation. This shift has undoubtedly resulted in a generational collision, but it has also created a more diverse workforce. What does this all this mean for the future of work within your organisation?
Millennials are all about convenience, connectivity and functionality. They expect to work the same way that they entertain themselves – online. Giving them fast and easy access to a system, where they can receive the training and mentoring they need on-demand, helps them thrive in the future workplace.
The Work From Home (WFH) model has now become the dominant arrangement between employers and employees. But opening up remote capabilities for your workers comes with formal requirements and assessment. Have you opened up too much access, not enough access? Are you facilitating the collaboration and connection between teams or impeding it? What security mechanisms are in place to protect your infrastructure, your business and your employees?
How to safely and securely transition to Remote Work
Seemingly, the transition to remote work went reasonably well for most organisations. But in the background, many areas -- workforce, workforce facilities, the supply chain - were not as well prepared.
By moving workers outside of the traditional security perimeter, exacerbates the potential for unprecedented cyber threats. The sudden movement to remote work at the start of the pandemic also increased personal device usage. The overnight spike in employees remotely connecting to corporate networks led to increased breach attempts and disruptive cyberattacks. The most challenging aspects of the transition to remote work are ensuring fast connections, maintaining business continuity, and providing secure access to business-critical applications.
Perimeter-based security is no longer sufficient. Network security now must encompass more security surfaces and compute demands, new edges and edge devices (including the WAN Edge, data centre edge, multi-cloud edge, and even home edge). This expansion of network complexity puts managing threats at the focus when securing remote workers. In particular, defence strategies need adjusting to account for the extension of the network perimeter outside of the physical premises.
Not every employee in an organisation requires the same level of access to internal resources when working remotely. Organisations should tailor security access by implementing a Network Access Control (NAC) and Endpoint Security strategy. By adopting NAC solutions, IT teams gain increased visibility and control over the users and their devices.
Going one step further and beyond traditional network-based segmentation means extending the network environment to include remote workers' homes. This extension will create organisational plasticity and offer more flexibility, scalability, and security into the future.
We are seeing a convergence of infrastructure and security that is driving a cloud security revolution. To sustain this new trend, organisations need to invest in security solutions that provide the flexibility to support evolving networks, cloud applications and shifting organisational priorities. It's now vital to have the tools, resources and know-how to cope with growing attack surfaces, advanced threats, increased infrastructure complexity, and an expanding regulatory landscape while also adapting to evolving consumer demands. Security functions must continue to grow towards full cloud integration by enabling automation for end-to-end protection and seamless, consistent operations across multiple dynamic environments.