Many firms urged their staff to report to work prior to the pandemic, whether for leadership, community, security, or other reasons. Regardless of their previous opinions, COVID-19 caused enterprises all around the world to quickly move to remote labor.
Although the shift was motivated by concerns about safety and public health, many organizations that previously opposed working from home have recognized that employees may be just as productive working remotely — even if they must adhere to stay-at-home orders and face social isolation. Working from home can actually increase productivity because remote employees don't have to go to and from work, so they can work from the comfort of their own home, sleep in a little later than usual, and so on.
When stay-at-home orders start to lighten up, increased employee productivity and contentment are more than enough for some organizations to continue to allow working from home. To do this, businesses will increasingly rely on cloud applications and services to enable remote workers to remain productive while also having access to the corporate resources they require to complete their tasks.
Remote work habits, on the other hand, pose new vulnerabilities, and businesses will rapidly discover that security will extend far beyond the old firewall boundary. Instead, users' identities in the cloud must be prioritized to ensure that the correct employees have adequate access to the resources they require, all while preventing unauthorized access and hostile insider threats.
Business Benefits Of Remote Work
Remote work, when done correctly, can boost employee productivity and job satisfaction. Multiple organizations were either embracing or beginning to embrace flexible remote work arrangements to gain these benefits even before the pandemic. Additionally, because geographical proximity is not a barrier, employers may work with a bigger pool of candidates with remote work rules, and – a huge benefit for tech companies in particular — over half of developers indicate that being able to work remotely is a priority when seeking for a job.
Some businesses may even close their offices or downsize to save money on rent and other expenses. Companies who have had their business models disrupted by social distance and stay-at-home directives, as well as those that have been financially harmed by COVID-19, are especially likely to do so. Employees will save time and money as well, as on-site workers spend over 200 hours a year commuting to and from work and spend a variety of sums on commuting expenses such as gas and bus tickets.
How The Cloud Supports A Remote Workforce
Cloud applications and services enable businesses to serve remote workers no matter where they are in the world. Real-time communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, for example, are essential for enabling real-time communication throughout a complete enterprise.
Companies need to take a closer look at how many (and which) cloud apps and services they're investing in in order to effectively continue remote work patterns in the long run. Companies want employees to have access to corporate resources via cloud technology in order to work remotely, and major cloud service providers have seen growing sales to meet this demand.
Simply put, businesses will need to prioritize cloud security and governance solutions, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and other critical instances that can securely manage their remote workforce.
Which Cloud Security And Governance Controls To Prioritize
Many firms that previously had a totally on-site workforce have soon recognized that their security perimeter is no longer the traditional firewall as a result of this pandemic. This will be true once the stay-at-home regulations are lifted and firms continue to encourage remote workforces. In fact, the key perimeter in cloud cybersecurity is and will continue to be identity and access management (IAM).
As a result, businesses must prioritize IAM technologies in their cloud architecture to ensure that only authorized personnel have secure access to corporate data, tools, and resources while repelling unauthorized access attempts by hackers. This is, however, easier said than done.
Managing identities in the cloud is tough since everything in it has an identity, from people to cloud services. Organizations must record the resources that each person should have access to in order to accomplish his or her job in order to manage these identities at scale. Any efforts at internal or external unauthorized access or over-privileged access should be denied. This can be difficult for large enterprises, but with the right IAM solution in place, businesses can rest assured that employees will be allowed to accomplish their duties while harmful attempts are thwarted.
An effective IAM solution must be capable of protecting a complete remote workforce, regardless of size. Manual methods would make this challenging, but organizations can manage access and role management as well as identity authentication utilizing IAM with automated monitoring and remediation capabilities. This will also aid company security teams in proactively navigating any cloud-based identity-borne threats.
While not every job or industry will ever be 100% remote, companies can still leverage cloud apps and services to continue enabling workers — both remotely and in the office. With a proper understanding of how to implement and support a remote workforce and the challenges that come with this, remote styles of work can be a win-win for employees and employers.
To learn more about the three key IT trends to drive growth in your organization, watch the full recording of our most recent live stream here. If your firm is using or contemplating using Microsoft Teams, or to purchase Microsoft through Office 365 contact RCS Professional Services. As a Microsoft Partner, we provide premier pricing and support on Microsoft products and licensing. You can also visit our youtube channel for a Single Sign On demo.