Preparing for the Post Pandemic World: The New Normal for IT Teams is Supporting Remote Workers

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April 2020

By: Mohie Ahmed

Even as the world continues to stare down the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic as the infections continue to grow, IT teams continue to scramble to support Work From Home mandates, including setting up and supporting employees in the world’s largest and hardest hit cities.

For many, this has meant moving tens of thousands of workers to virtual desktops and virtual private networks, and has driven most traffic to the cloud, with none of the premise-based firewalls and other security applications available as necessary layers of protection.

The world is adjusting to a new reality, and IT teams and management teams responsible for ensuring the integrity of data and supporting as much productivity as possible are being pushed to their limits, spending long hours and millions of dollars while moving as fast as possible to ensure their businesses continue and their customers are served.

Enterprises across all industries, including the highly sensitive banking and financial services industry, are navigating how to secure their networks in an uncertain world, even as the disruption continues; what we are finding, however, is that as they learn how to support new ways to work, IT leaders are considering future plans and mapping out a way to not fall back into old paradigms. They are learning from the experience and rethinking their computing and communications architectures and platforms.

How will enterprises and organizations function after the COVID-19 crisis is remediated? Many executives have been surprised by the continuity and ability of many employees to be even more productive while working from home, skipping long commutes, and leveraging collaboration platforms that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. Some are looking at new budget models, where real estate cost savings can more than offset the investment in faster and more secure networks and productivity applications.

This emergency is forcing decision makers to think more deeply about the benefits of remote working, including attracting and retaining the best talent. By taking this time to plan the future, even while supporting the transition, businesses may end up spending less and getting more when it comes to the employees who have “desk jobs.”

Companies can begin to establish processes and procedures to make this critical shift, looking at technologies and costs, and finding cost savings while also preparing to excel in supporting remote working, a huge advantage next time a crisis happens – as they always do.

From a technical perspective, employees may need laptops, phones, monitors and other items most consider essentials to function properly in a home office – but that’s the simple part. Securing network infrastructure and those devices, information, data, and applications which are increasingly hosted on the cloud is mission critical to make this work.

Setting up Network Access Control will track critical criteria to ensure the right person is signing in, and Privileged Access Management will enable the support and oversight of users who have more power to interact with networks and applications. The cost for securing the cloud using PAM is an investment that protects companies from downtime and disastrous data leaks and cybercrime.

Setting up strong password controls, adopting two-factor authentication and strong encryption, monitoring by geo location, and automating this process so human error is less likely to cause problems is not only possible, but simple to install and run, with PAM solutions from Ironsphere, which are cloud friendly, and more open and affordable than traditional PAM solutions.

It is proven that investments in cybersecurity services provide significant cost savings, which can be helpful during these difficult financial times, including productivity gains for overburdened IT staff.

Change is the only constant in this new world, and every enterprise and organization, every educational institution, bank, and government agency must be prepared. With the right partners, they can be prepared for future uncertainty, anticipating change, while also improving productivity and performance in new ways.

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