Managing IT in the New Hybrid Work Model

Publication date: Aug 31, 2021

Last Published: Sep 23, 2021

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The way we work is constantly evolving, reflecting the tools we have at our disposal and the challenges we face.

Last year, most organizations had to figure out the best way to remain operational amid lockdowns intended to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. Therefore remote work, enabled by the internet and various other digital technologies, emerged as the natural solution!

Now, after the outbreak of the pandemic, many organizations have settled into various hybrid work routines, some choosing to go remote-first, while others requiring their employees to work from the office most days of the week but giving them the freedom to work remotely when the situation calls for it.

The hybrid work model offers many attractive benefits, such as improved work-life balance, better work relationships, and easier tracking of employee performance.

However, these and other benefits are available long-term only to those who figure out how to manage IT in an environment characterized by the lack of a clearly defined defense perimeter.

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6 Critical Cybersecurity Policies Every Organization Must Have

Overcoming the Biggest IT Problems Created by Hybrid Work

Allowing employees to work at least some time remotely is an effective solution to the current problems organizations of all sizes face.

It allows them to continue using their existing infrastructure and prevents them from depending solely on remote work tools.

But there are three major IT problems that all organizations must overcome to make the hybrid work model work.

Problem #1: Company-Issued Computers Versus BYOD

Whenever employees are allowed to work outside the office, a decision has to be made about which devices they can use for work-related purposes. More specifically, organizations must decide whether or not to implement bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies in order to allow employees to use their personal smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

This decision can be surprisingly difficult to make because there are compelling arguments both for and against the implementation of BYOD policies. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:

Pros of BYOD policies   

  • Cost savings: Organizations can save a lot of money by allowing employees to use their own devices, instead of requiring them to always use only company-issued computers.
  • Convenience: Employees find it convenient when they can get work done using the same devices they would use after work.
  • Productivity: A diehard Mac user will always be more productive on a personal Mac computer than on a company-issued Windows machine, and vice versa.

Cons of BYOD policies

  • Visibility: As soon as employees are allowed to use their own devices for work, visibility suddenly becomes an issue, especially when they’re not required to ask IT for approval first.
  • Security risks: Personal devices create major security risks because they may be outdated, poorly maintained, and used for all kinds of dangerous activities, such as torrenting.
  • Compliance: Without visibility and security, it’s impossible to achieve and maintain compliance with data protection laws and regulations.

Because the cost of a single security incident or compliance violation can easily exceed the cost savings associated with BYOD policies, we recommend that organizations require their employees to use only company-issued computers, even if employees find it less convenient.

Problem #2: Secure Remote Access to Data and Systems

When all employees work from the office, organizations can rely on the castle-and-moat network security model to keep all data and systems protected, ensuring that no one outside the network can obtain access without authorization.

However, the hybrid work model makes the castle-and-moat model ineffective by blurring the network perimeter. One solution is to move the castle to the cloud.

We at OSIbeyond encourage our clients to take advantage of Microsoft’s powerful cloud solutions, namely Microsoft 365 and Azure, to securely access data and systems from anywhere and at any time.  Microsoft 365 offers the same familiar office applications organizations already rely on, while Azure lets them run customized business applications using Microsoft’s scalable and cost-effective infrastructure.

Problem #3: Remote Work Cybersecurity Threats

According to a survey from security firm Sophos, the vast majority of IT teams (82 percent) experienced an increase in cyber-attacks in 2020, and experts attribute this increase to the shift to remote working during the pandemic.

Cybercriminals see remote employees as easy prey, and they’re—at least in most cases—not wrong. Many employees don’t understand the threats they face, don’t adhere to cybersecurity best practices, and have various bad habits that put them at risk.  

To protect employees against remote work cybersecurity threats, organizations need to implement the following three-pronged approach:

  • People: Cybersecurity professionals like to say that people are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, and they have many statistics to back up their claim. To strengthen this link, organizations need to train their employees to recognize and avoid threats, such as phishing and ransomware attacks. 
  • Processes: Without order, there is chaos. Developing policies and procedures that clarify roles and responsibilities for hybrid workers helps ensure that everyone knows what to do and, just as importantly, not to do.
  • Technology: From continuous monitoring of all systems and devices using a Security Information Event Management (SIEM) solution to advanced web filtering there are many cybersecurity tools that organizations large and small can implement to become more resilient.

We Can Help Implement a Hybrid Work Model

By combining ongoing cybersecurity awareness training with the right policies and procedures, all while taking advantage of the latest cybersecurity tools, any organization can successfully protect its employees, regardless of where they work from.

At OSIbeyond, we can help you not only keep remote work cybersecurity threats at bay but also transition your existing infrastructure to the cloud so that your data and systems become accessible from anywhere and at any time.

Schedule a meeting with us to get started.

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