By Mark Shaw
Well with all the signs pointing to COVID-19 being behind us, companies of all shapes and sizes are deciding what the future will hold for them when it comes to where and how to operate.
Technology is at the forefront of that on so many levels. From working from home needs to the new levels in which cyber security is playing a part to protect all of us, these shifts will become the way we work going forward.
We are seeing companies have three main strategies. The first being bringing people back to the office. We are, after all, social creatures, and this makes sense. The next is everyone will stay working from home. The last being a blend of the two: some work from home and some in office days.
All three of these trends provide different needs for organizations. Going back to the office in many ways is the most secure, everyone is behind the security devices managed by IT professionals, and each have a single-entry point to protect all the employees and their devices. This is what the playbook for firms have been for years.
In the completely remote work from home situation IT Support and Cyber firms alike are changing the way they support these companies. Let’s also be clear these firms should not be the same, mind you. Your internal or external IT support should NEVER be your cyber security firm. If you don’t believe this, watch the news, and study the new laws being introduced globally. A separation of church and state is coming and if your IT firm says it can do cyber security, RUN. They are lining their pockets and exposing you.
Supporting a fully remote workforce is more costly in terms of IT use to ensure that all the employees are secure. We were all forced to adopt the model and did it with a lack of caution in many cases. VPN is not enough to ensure that you are safe. Your employees are often sharing the same internet with their kids’ and spouses’ devices: phones, tablets, and game systems (i.e. XBOX).
Your company’s data is being mixed in with home activities. Your company laptop is sitting on the same network as a potentially unprotected device. If this remains the trend, you as an employer of let’s say 20 people need to be aware that you are no longer protecting one network but 21 networks—one for each employee and one for your office or cloud-based servers. You have made your attack surface for the bad guys dramatically greater. Thus, leading to the large uptick in all the cyber-crime you are seeing today on the news and elsewhere.
In the hybrid model you now have people either needing two devices or one device they travel back and forth to work with. As the CEO of your company, you will have to decide if you pay for a WFH setup, allow their personal computers on your network, or provide laptops for all.
If you go with the laptop option, you need to make sure you add layers of protection in case it gets lost or stolen. You need to protect yourself from potential exposure from that employee carrying around your company asset. In the Microsoft 365 suite there are several measures you can take to add security to these devices.
Regardless of which option you choose of the new complexion of your organization you need to consider the impact and how best to manage it. The trend for the rest of this year is clear – the world of work has changed, you changed with it, now it’s time to evaluate those changes.