As the demand for experienced, executive-level technology personnel increases, the impact of technology on companies has never been more complex.
There’s a tremendous appetite for more flexible working solutions. But plenty of companies is unprepared and ill-equipped to support hybrid work in the long run.
Most companies currently employ a hybrid work model, and more are following suit. Nearly 89% of businesses believe a combination of remote and in-office working is the ideal setup from now on, a Sungard AS survey shows. A recent Adecco report found that three-quarters of workers think it’s important to retain flexibility as part of the return to normal.
Despite the incredible appetite for a more flexible working arrangement, many organizations aren’t sufficiently prepared to support long-term hybrid work.
The company’s built a security strategy to protect on-site employees. Their infrastructure is too reliant on current legacy IT. They have a business continuity plan that centers on pre-pandemic protocols and needs testing in a post-pandemic world.
If your company is one of them, it’s time to test, evaluate and refine your processes. Here are some ways to nurture a long-term hybrid workforce.
Secure the right things the right way.
Security mainly was not the primary thought as businesses were rushing to establish remote workforces during the pandemic. Remote workers can be harder to secure, and cyber criminals quickly exploit the situation. Ransomware attacks grew 485% in 2020 and kept going up.
Not much has changed since 2020; many companies still have holes in their security plans.
A little more than one in five companies (21%) are confident that their IT infrastructure can operate in a secure remote work setting long term, and only 7.5% are very sure. Their security protection against phishing and ransomware attacks is an acceptable, largely virtual environment.
For companies in this situation, one of the priorities should be to adopt a zero-trust security framework. Perimeter security alone is no longer enough, given the severity of the latest cyberattacks.
A zero-trust approach can isolate workloads using micro-segmentation to prevent bad actors from moving laterally throughout a network if they gain entry. It also ensures that access to specific data is limited to those who must access it.
With more advanced cyberattacks on the rise and a largely dispersed workforce, companies need to be sure that they cover all their bases both inside and outside a network.
In addition, implement filtering to prevent unlawful traffic from the network, optimize your backup capabilities and policies to create the right balance between your disaster recovery requirements and possibly malicious data loss, and have a plan to recover data after a cyberattack. This way, employees can quickly get back to work should an incident happen.
1. Modernize infrastructure and technology
The pandemic has underscored just how much businesses need to rely on technology. But many companies don’t have the right technology in place. According to Sungard AS data, more than two in five business leaders agree their organizations must provide more or improved technology to promote a thriving remote working environment for employees.
According to a Deloitte report, some 31% of employees were overwhelmed by the number of work and home devices they need to manage. Companies need to streamline technology by providing employees with a single machine for professional and personal.
It isn’t about ensuring workers have the proper solution; it’s about assuring they can access the work environment that they need at all times. That requires a modernized infrastructure with high availability systems in place.
2. Build resilience into all relationships
Operational resilience is no longer an afterthought. And for a good reason.
At the pandemic’s start, many businesses realized they didn’t prepare for a multi-faceted disruption.
Indeed, businesses should consider lessons learned and how it has changed with remote work – rethinking workplace recovery options, for example – but organizations need to think broader.
Assess the business resilience of vendors and partners as well. Do they have good plans in place? How long can those plans withstand disruptions? Have they been sufficiently tested?
3. Organizations should also take measures to limit single points of failure.
The last thing you should do is put all your eggs in one basket. Finding your single points of failure is essential. Are vendors geographically distributed? Are they even diversifying the supply chain? Third-party partners could save severe headaches down the road if one or more of them experiences a disruption.
The hybrid work model isn’t going anywhere, but its long-term future depends on whether your organization can adequately support it. Organizations need to equip themselves to sustain a hybrid work environment full-time by addressing security, technology, and operational resilience.
The decision to contract with a fractional CIO encompasses several factors. But if, after careful consideration, you find you need one, bringing on a fractional CIO can be the best decision to ensure your company can survive and thrive.
Starting in January, we are offering 50% off our CIO Assessment.
To help educate companies on where they are deficient and how we can help them. To learn more about our Fractional CIO Services and our Fractional CIO Assessment, contact Jay A. Cohen, Fractional CIO, at 352-805-2926.
JAYCO Cloud Computing Solutions provides Fractional CIO Services for small & medium-sized businesses serving the Department of Defense (DOD) and the private sector for all industries.
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