Sending them home was the easy part: IT departments are bracing for the challenge of keeping employees safe when they can work anywhere, anytime

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It turns out, sending workers home to work may have been the easy part. 

“Coming back scares the heck out of me,” Tim Nall says. As the chief information officer of Brown-Forman, the 151-year-old alcohol and beverage brand that makes Jack Daniels, Nall must keep an eye on the productivity and security of 5,000 workers. 

“We’re going to have people in the office, people in their homes, people in different offices,” Nall says. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”

More than 140 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose – roughly half of US adults – and some companies are eager to return to offices as the threat of COVID-19 wanes.  Google is pushing for a return to offices, capping employees’ work-from-home to 14 days per year, while JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon predicts that no more than 10% of his employees will work from home permanently.

But early data suggests that most offices won’t be filled to full capacity anytime soon. In 2020 we went from working in the office to all working remotely. In 2021, we’ll be both, and every employee will have their own path, Sanjay Beri, the CEO of the $3 billion cloud security startup Netskope, told Insider. “Every company has become more geographically dispersed. People are everywhere.”

A recent PwC survey of US executives found that only 20% of employers want workers back in the office five days a week, even as companies like Atlassian give their employees unprecedented flexibility to work wherever they want on a permanent basis. In a separate survey of offices based in New York City, the average employer said they expect 56% of workers to return to offices on a regular basis while the rest work remotely.

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Even as workers trickle back into offices, employers are signalling that they’ll grant workers flexibility to come and go from offices as they please to keep capacity low in the wake of the pandemic. But all of that flexibility, and all of that uncertainty, introduces new kinds of challenge for IT departments everywhere.

Because while the move to remote work certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, it was manageable: You knew, more or less, where every employee was located and how they were connecting to the network. With employees more freely splitting their time between the home, the office, and perhaps even the open road as a digital nomad, the situation gets much more complex. That complexity creates opportunities for the bad guys to exploit, the experts warn.

John Davis of Palo Alto Networks, a vice president in the area of public sector enterprises like government agencies, told Insider that “What we see most is hybrid – it’s part on-prem, part remote. And when it’s cloud-based, it’s multi-cloud. So security is an enormous problem.”

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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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