The Workplace of the Future and What It Means for Network Security

The convergent trends of BYOD, the consumerization of IT and mobility are causing rapid shifts in employees’ expectations for their work environment. Employees are driving the change by working remotely and on their own devices resulting in the workplace itself becoming increasingly flexible. These trends, combined with the blurring of boundaries between consumer and enterprise technologies due to them, necessitate IT departments everywhere having to rethink their network security infrastructure.

It’s an undeniable fact that for many employees, the notion of having a physical office is becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, since 2005, there has been a more than 60 percent increase in the number of employees working outside of a traditional office environment, according to Inc. Magazine. Those remote and mobile workers are demanding tools that let them access corporate networks and resources remotely from anywhere at anytime.

However, many businesses aren’t providing the technologies that employees need fast enough. This is evidenced by the fact that a recent Unisys study showed that 71 percent of the workers who are driving the uptake of technology in the workplace are using unsupported apps that are outside the control of IT. This is one example of how employees are using their devices unsafely, and IT staff must find ways to limit the risk to their networks.

Both smarter approaches and better remote access technologies are required to keep networks safe while providing employees the remote access they need. As we’ve discussed before, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and employee education can greatly aide in the prevention of a wide range of potential threats. Beyond making employees aware of corporate policies, enterprises should look to implement secure remote access technologies, such as VPNs, that are designed to work with every device users may have and ensure stable, encrypted connections with corporate networks no matter where employees are located. Central management and interoperability with other security components are two important features to look for in a remote access solution for the workplace of the future, because they give network administrators the ability to respond faster to potential threats.

As the Information Age article linked to in the beginning of this post mentioned, the original purpose of an office was to “create an environment where employees could access the resources required to do their job. Now [that] the resources (technology and data) have become mobile, the workplace must follow suit.” And so must IT departments, by equipping the modern workforce with remote access technologies that are built for them.

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