IT Challenges for the Hybrid Work Model

IT Challenges for the Hybrid Work Model

A fundamental transformation in how we work has been underway for a while now. The global pandemic put all of us on an accelerated path toward hybrid work and brought many changes to the surface: changes that affect where we work, what tools we use, and how we do our work.

The Benefits & Challenges of Hybrid Work

The workplace is no longer confined to the corporate office alone and has rapidly evolved to a mix of locations. Organizations must account for workstyles and work models, including the remote, hybrid, and “work from anywhere” work models. These work models ultimately drive the tools we use and access, such as device type, applications, workspace, and workloads. How we do our work has evolved as well, as technology has enabled our workforce to communicate, collaborate, consume & share data in real-time.

The Benefits of Hybrid Work

It is important to note that there are shared benefits between employer and employee with a distributed work model. From an employer’s perspective, the benefits are to retain and recruit top talent.  Employees today are expecting flexible work options as they sign up for new positions, and it allows organizations to search for qualified workers outside of their local area. Organizations see hybrid-work as a cost-savings opportunity where physical office space can be reduced.

From an employee’s perspective, the benefits are better work-life balance, increased morale and reduced turnover rate. 90% of employees say that hybrid work boosts morale as it offers them the flexibility to choose where they work.

The shared benefits of hybrid work are increased productivity and positive environmental impact.  Employee productivity has increased as employees had a more efficient use of time. A shift in mobility patterns led to a 17% decrease in CO2 emissions in April 2020, compared to peak 2019 levels.

The Challenges of Hybrid Work

The hybrid work model does present challenges however, as our workforce are using more devices, accessing applications running across multiple clouds, and working from different locations. These challenges are unique from the viewpoint of the user, IT Operations and Security.

From a user perspective, fluid & consistent application experiences are expected so that they can be productive. From the IT Ops perspective, workflow provisioning, ensuring continuous infrastructure operations, digital workspace support, and scaling up of infrastructure can all provide operational challenges.

Security Concerns for Hybrid Work

From the Security perspective, the list is long as the attack-surface has increased significantly with a distributed work environment.

Challenges like the following:

  • Cyberthreats like phishing are on the rise, how do we protect against it?
  • How do we protect against data loss and data leaks?
  • How do we ensure that the user & endpoint identities are properly verified prior to access?
  • How do we ensure the dynamic adaptive access for employees/contractors/vendors to applications and data?
  • How do we ensure that our users can safely browse the internet and contain/isolate threats when malicious websites are accessed?
  • How do we continuously monitor user activities in-real time, to mitigate threats at the application level?
  • How do we reduce security silos and the mean time to detect & respond to threats?

How to stay secure in the new work era

To understand how the security model has changed, we must first turn the clock back to before the pandemic. In the pre-pandemic days, applications and data lived before corporate firewalls.  Contractors and employees alike would need to go into the office with their devices and/or VPN into the corporate network to access applications and data. This traditional security model was based on two fundamental principles.

  • Building and hardening the network perimeter against external threats
  • The notion that everything inside an organization’s domain can be implicitly trusted

This model quickly became obsolete with business transformation initiatives with the public cloud and the acceleration of a distributed work environment. The traditional perimeter has dissolved, as users, endpoints, applications and workloads are now distributed across on-premises and multiple clouds.

A new identity perimeter is required to secure the modern enterprise, one that is based on Zero-Trust authentication, authorization and connectivity, across the hybrid infrastructure.

Ready to take your security to the next level? Get in touch with the CDI Security Solutions team for any and all needs – whether you are just getting started on the security journey, or have specific areas of concern, our team is trained and ready to assist in any situation.