Three Security Considerations for the Hybrid Office for the Future

Heading into autumn, business leaders will continue to have an opportunity to consider workplace security while navigating a changing landscape. Leaders and decision makers have the chance to address the challenges of integrating next-generation technologies into the workplace while being mindful of security concerns.  

As technology facilitates greater flexibility and connectivity for workers worldwide – fueled by a global pandemic impacting workforces worldwide – business leaders should be increasingly concerned and cognizant about incorporating security features.

Information technology and data security leaders are heavily investing in network and device security solutions, allowing employees the freedom to work and collaborate remotely with access to controls and other needed resources. Digital and transformation strategies should include print and software solutions. 

Print and software solutions are key components of an office and should be prioritized when considering new network and device security protocols. But businesses should remain mindful and consider security solutions that provide features that can help protect their information.

Below are a few items for organizations to consider related to office and network security: 

Prioritize security when choosing productivity and collaboration tools 

Remote work has forced businesses to become more connected than ever before, which in turn could make it more difficult for IT decision makers to keep security in check. 

But collaboration will remain important to provide easy ways for people to access information and resources from their given location. But the onus remains on the companies to implement security features regardless of how information is stored and transferred. Consider solutions that continue to prioritize on-the-go productivity and security to help support both businesses and employees.

Businesses may consider integrating all-in-one security solutions into their workplace technology offerings, especially when planning around a hybrid setting. For example, look at cloud print solutions that allow employees to print from multiple devices and locations from approved network servers. Some solutions now offer users the ability to access their Microsoft Teams accounts directly from the user interface of certain scanners and printers. 

Leverage built-in cloud and security features   

Additionally, in the past two years, workplace technology has evolved significantly, embodied by the uptick in online video chats. Cloud solutions continue to experience widespread acceleration and growth as well with innovations. A recent report noted 90% of IT decision-makers said that their cloud usage exceeded projections since the pandemic. Cloud security, especially when exploring new tech integrations and solutions, should be considered as hybrid work environments keep increasing. 

Implementing safeguards continues to be key, as employees and partners access information from a variety of devices and locations. Fortunately, there are many services with built-in security features, such as cloud-based content and email management platforms, which offer detailed activity reports that allow users to track and control who is accessing data and content. This provides an added security checkpoint feature across organizations. 

Revamp ongoing awareness training

As employees have been dispersed for some time, organizations can empower them by arming them with regular training; especially those who will be maintaining a remote work environment for the foreseeable future. According to a recent report by security firm Malwarebytes, a majority of respondents said that training is important for employees working remotely. Significantly, they noted that in order to be effective, the training must be tailored to the needs and responsibilities of individuals, teams and departments. 

Looking ahead, alongside a fluctuating work environment, consider revamping internal security initiatives and curating an updated security training program for employees. Organizations can start by setting goals and objectives for the present and future, which can serve to uphold the reason for reinvigorating the program. 

These new goals can be simple at the start and designed to meet the immediate unique needs of your organization. Over time, organizations may want to set quarterly and annual goals of the program, which can become more tailored depending on employee participation and feedback as it evolves. 

Once the new program is established, an organization can keep monitoring its employees’ engagement and adjust training to stay as real-time as possible. And once it feels comfortable, organizations may want to consider flipping it on its head and throwing curveballs to keep it engaging and effective, helping add another layer of security while meeting employee needs for self-education. 

The bottom line: Security matters 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having many lasting effects on the workforce. Business leaders are continuing to have to pivot and adjust in new ways. But one thing is clear; security can be vital to operational success, especially during these times. 

As companies continue to adapt to a more flexible and hybrid environment, security should remain a top concern to protect organizational and personal data at all costs, helping to ensure long-term success. 

Mike Betsko
Mike Betsko

Mike Betsko is Senior Director, Marketing & Solutions, Canon U.S.A. Inc.