Securing Your Remote Workers for Fluid Networking in a Hybrid Environment
Last year, the COVID crisis made business connectivity and continuity the IT networking priority. This year? It’s securing remote workers -- and protecting the corporate network — as they morph into tomorrow’s hybrid workforce.
The future of work indeed is a hybrid model – where employees operate remotely a few days per week – as researchers predict more than a third (37%) of the post-pandemic workforce will remain out of corporate offices to some degree.1
These hybrid workers will want networks that enable fluid operations between field and corporate locations. Think of this progression to hybrid environments like a retailer launching numerous new stores, a restaurant chain opening multiple new franchises
or a healthcare provider introducing new clinics in cities across a region. In terms of network operations – or NetOps – each remote work site becomes an edge location.
This increase in remote operations, in turn, increases cybersecurity risks, as cyber threats have risen 25% since the onset of COVID-19.1 And at a time when the average cost of a data breach approaches $4 million, not only is the productivity
of your organization at stake, but the profitability of the business2.This means your organization’s IT staff becomes an indispensable player on the team creating a trusted hybrid workplace that is safe for staff, promotes employee
collaboration from anywhere on any device, and is secure, with policies and protocols in place.
Why Securing Remote Workers Is a Post-Pandemic Priority for Your Business
Per recent studies, securing remote workers in a hybrid networking environment will deliver short- and long-run benefits to your business along multiple dimensions:
- Productivity Gains: Half-time remote workers can gain as many as 35 minutes in daily productivity for an increase in the organization’s overall productivity of 15%.3
- Operating Cost: These productivity gains could equal 74 new employees at no cost, with $396 daily savings and $11,000 annual savings for each U.S. employee working half-time remotely.3
- Talent Management: The combination of greater health safety, higher productivity and lower stress – from, for example, drastic drops in commuting – can boost employee satisfaction. This intangible benefit generates material competitive
advantage over time in terms of staff retention and recruiting.
The Value Securing Remote Workers Delivers to Your IT Team
While serving a hybrid workforce exponentially increases your IT team’s workload, providing a secure hybrid networking environment for remote workers delivers value to your IT team, too, along these dimensions:
- NetOps Efficiency: Among the top challenges facing IT organizations when enforcing cybersecurity protocols are a lack of visibility and lack of employee awareness and education.4 The move to hybrid environments presents opportunities
to address both issues as staff grows more conscious and appreciative of IT services in their daily working lives.
- NetOps Effectiveness: Through greater engagement with remote workers, IT staff benefits, too. With greater visibility into who and what is connecting to the network, team members optimize system performance and sharpen cybersecurity skills
through confronting and mitigating evolving threats such as ransomware.
- NetOps Talent: In turn, like other hybrid workers, IT employees grow more conscious and appreciative of their value to the business. This higher satisfaction leads to longer retention of critical technicians, such as NetOps engineers, and provides
an edge in recruiting.
How to Secure Remote Workers in a Fluid Hybrid Environment
Prioritization of your digital transformation efforts to secure remote workers in a fluid hybrid network environment involves 4 keys:
- Centralizing networking and security policy management for zero-touch provisioning to bring 1000s of edge locations online quickly.
- Monitoring quality of service (QoS) remotely for connection reliability and application performance across the non-standardized equipment inevitably found in home offices.
- Centralizing and delivering multi-layered security by cloud to protect sensitive information during its continual loop from your data center via the cloud to homes and back again.
- Automated detection and definition of devices to control access and prevent cyber infections from spreading from home to corporate offices.
Each of these keys requires investments in terms of time, resources and funding as your organization updates policies, adopts new practices and upgrades solutions and equipment. But as described above, these investments will yield tangible, measurable
returns for your business. Intangible rewards will materialize, too, as interacting with your highly productive, satisfied remote workforce improves your customers’ experiences.
In sum, when you invest in a secure hybrid network environment, everyone wins – your customers, your employees, your business and your IT team.
Secure Remote Workforce Design is just one factor in enhancing Business Resiliency. Download our eBook to learn how Black Box can help as a full-service network solutions provider and Gold Cisco Partner.
Footnotes and source:
- 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Study, IBM and Ponemon Institute
- The Business Case for Remote Work for Employers, Employees, the Environment, and Society by Global Workplace Analytics