Authored by: Justin Chiah, Senior Director, South East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong/Macau (SEATH) at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
For too long, organisations have treated working locations as a binary choice – we are either assigned to an office or are remote workers. Requirements for remote working have blown the doors open to a new flexible workplace reality, with 8 in 10 employees in Singapore wanting to work from home or have more flexibility, and almost 75% considering it as a key contributor to work-life balance. As many organisations recognise the value of workplace flexibility and intend to retain this workforce strategy even after the pandemic, the need to invest in a comprehensive hybrid work arrangement – one that is secure and connected – is more prominent than ever.
There is no one-size-fits-all hybrid work model for all businesses and industries, organisations must be effective in supporting all types of working in different functions, locations and situations. In setting the stage for a sustainable hybrid model where employees can benefit from working anywhere in a comfortable, secure and reliable manner at any time of the day, here are three success factors to help organisations and their people thrive:
Importance of a security-first mindset
The new norm of a flexible working environment no longer resides in the future – it is here now. Employees now expect seamless connectivity with the same secure access to support their ideal hybrid-working arrangements, be it from a café, the office or at home. However, traditional networking and security infrastructure intended for a static work environment are now being stress-tested and many are found to be obsolete. Aside from encouraging hybrid-working models through short-term initiatives such as purchasing mobile work devices for staff, tech investments need to consider long-term strategies to support the flexible model, employees’ preferences and rising security concerns.
Migrating from physical security systems to virtual ones to enable flexible working arrangements presents itself as an immediate challenge to organisations. Accessing classified data from a remote location means that each employee is a potential entry point for attackers. Cyber threats are no stranger in Singapore – since 2017, the city-state witnessed a rise in cyber-attacks across various industries such as e-commerce, banking and finance, as well as government organisations. In 2019 alone, almost two in five cyber incidents in Singapore targeted SMEs while large enterprises experienced an estimated loss of SG$18.9 million per cyber attack. With cyberattacks becoming more rampant and sophisticated, and with employees accessing classified data remotely, organisations need a modern network security that accommodates to an ever-changing, varying set of users and devices to safeguard against cyber threats and ensure secure hybrid-working arrangements.
Building a resilient digital infrastructure with Edge Services Platform
A sustainable hybrid-working solution must deliver a secure, enterprise-like experience that enhances creativity and productivity, and Edge Services Platform (ESP) – a cloud-native and AI-driven platform – is specifically designed to meet and exceed the goals of setting a foundation for the hybrid workplace. Unlike solutions that repurpose consumer network equipment, the AI-powered network provides enterprise-class telework hardware alongside plug-and-play installation, built-in identity-based security and cloud-native management. With this, organisations are protected against advanced cyber threats, better positioned to identify and resolve issues promptly before they impact business processes and outcomes, as well as are prepared to deploy network services to support the ever-evolving business needs.
Identifying and implementing flexibility-supporting security-first technology, empowers organisations to sustain long-term business agility and continuity as they get ahead of the curves, not simply reacting to them.
Playing a part in ensuring secure hybrid work experiences
As organisations across all industries embark on their security-first digital transformation, reskilling employees and advocating a security-first culture play complementary roles in ensuring secure hybrid work experiences. Establishing a cybersecurity policy that outlines the various security protocols, as well as tools and resources that the organisation provides can align employees on best practices when hybrid-working. As such, fostering employees’ ownership in protecting the organisation’s and their own personal data.
The rise of hybrid-work arrangements requires organisations to assess and reevaluate their digital infrastructure, in addition to their employees’ digital habits. Regardless of the business functions, locations and situation, one underlying principle remains – security-first. In adopting a security-first mindset, investing in a resilient digital infrastructure and advocating for secure work practices, organisations and their employees are more empowered to navigate around the tantalising possibilities that the new world of hybrid digital workplaces present.