Reinvigorating Innovation through Hybrid Working? Here’s what you need to know.

As we emerge from lockdown, businesses are looking at long term working arrangements for their teams, here is what business leaders should keep in mind to ensure safety, security and productivity.

Last month the BBC reported an interesting turn of event from Silicon Valley. Tech giant Google, was bringing forward its timetable of reintegrating employees back to the office. Employees who sought to work remotely for more than 14 days would have to formally apply to do so.

This about-turn in sentiment definitely contradicts what Silicon Valley executives rallied for last year – the benefits of working from home. In fact, Google is not alone, Amazon also has plans to ‘return to an office-centric culture’ as their baseline. They believe that it enables their teams to ‘invent, collaborate and learn together most effectively’.

Does this spell the end of ‘work from home’ or full-time remote working?

A commentary from a US-based writer for The Guardian (Gene Marks) cited that working from home was ‘a failed experiment’. The article sharply articulates the sentiments shared by many business owners who have to consider productivity and innovation of their teams. Both of which have suffered in some businesses. This attracted a whirlwind of rebuttals from various perspectives from employee satisfaction, to having the autonomy for better creativity.

It is safe to say that the ‘work from home’ evolution has just begun. As businesses start to look at ‘hybrid working’ models, we find ourselves at the precipice of the next disruptive phase in how businesses work in the coming future.

Unpacking the Debate on Hybrid Working

While the logistics of hybrid working are defined differently between businesses, the objective is universal. Hybrid working is poised to be the most comfortable compromise in achieving productivity and collaboration without dismissing employee satisfaction in a post-pandemic world.

In fact, the most recent Microsoft Work Trend Index report stated that hybrid working is here to stay. The mega study of 30,000 people across 31 countries also uncovered that regardless of productivity, leaders needed to get back in touch with the needs of their employees who are exhausted from overwork. While shrinking networks endanger innovation, hybrid working will allow businesses to access creative talent that was previously untapped.

With the emergence of Generation Z into the workforce, the implications are clear. Hybrid working is fast becoming an expectation for the modern employee. The question now is; how ready is your business for hybrid working.

What Does Hybrid Working Mean for Business IT Infrastructures?

Even Microsoft agrees that there is no specific playbook on the best practices towards hybrid working at the moment. However, in the interest of talent retention, businesses cannot afford to sit this transition out until someone gets hybrid working right.

When the UK first descended into lockdown last March, many businesses had to swiftly shift gears in order to continue operations with a remote team. The knee jerk reaction meant that staff of some companies had to use their own personal computers and mobile devices to keep up with work. This one of the many ways that businesses made themselves more susceptible to cybersecurity threats.

With a 60% surge in IoT malware and ransomware attacks reported over the last year, it is evident that business IT infrastructures for hybrid working need to be built on the foundation of cybersecurity first, not survival.

That said, there are some fundamental things that astute business owners and CISOs should be prepared for as they consider hybrid working:

REVIEW ACCESS GOVERNANCE

Businesses need to review and reevaluate their access policies and authentication in order for hybrid working to succeed. By having a clear idea of who has access to what, on which device allows the IT team to identify and prioritise risks while maintaining regulation compliance.

Some of the most successful businesses are even looking into Zero Trust security policies where organisations do not automatically trust devices, business-owned or personal, without passing the appropriate security verifications.

This is to ensure robust endpoint security regardless of where the team is located during remote working days.

DON’T COMPROMISE DATA SECURITY

Protecting confidentiality and integrity of business assets requires a cohesive system. Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) is fast becoming a non-negotiable aspect of any business operations.

Businesses need to address questions about who manages the data, how it is used and most importantly, how it is accessed in their hybrid working ecosystems.

GET COMFORTABLE WITH AUTOMATION

With a dispersed team as a result of hybrid working, even routine patch management can become a challenge to the business. Hybrid working infrastructures are complex and require swift management by nature. Automation helps streamline traditionally manual processes within a business IT infrastructure.

When deployed effectively, automation can help identify cyber threats and steer businesses out of harm’s way before a full blown attack.
As a first step for small-medium businesses that have yet to explore this, SOCaaS as a first port of call is a good consideration.

FUTUREPROOF BUSINESS OPERATIONS BY ASCENDING TO SECURE CLOUD COMPUTING

Many businesses fled to cloud computing as a means for survival in the uncertain times of 2020. This also gave rise to vast vulnerabilities that cyber criminals did not ignore. Hence, the meteoric rise of cybercrime reports over the past year.

Companies that have migrated to the cloud have found many deficiencies in their cloud security strategies. In order to combat this, companies need to have an honest review of the present arrangements and make the necessary amends to their deployment.

How METCLOUD can Help

Most recently recognised as the Cybersecurity Firm of the Year by Finance Monthly in the 2021 FinTech Awards, METCLOUD’s multi-award winning cloud computing platform is fully scalable for small-medium enterprises.

With more than 23 years experience in cyber secure IT infrastructures, METCLOUD is adept in providing clear solutions and expert counsel to businesses that require secure cloud computing.

METCLOUD is ahead of the curve and committed to providing the future of information technology. The company provides its own private cloud capability with symbiotic relationships with other cloud providers such as Azure, AWS, GCP and IBM Cloud.

With the burgeoning reliance on connectivity today, METCLOUD recognises the non-negotiable role of cybersecurity. With cybersecurity at the heart of the organisation, METCLOUD’s mantra, ‘get connected, cyber safe’ is at the core of everything that they do.

For more information about METCLOUD and how we can help with your business endeavours through cloud computing, feel free to contact the team.