The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic significantly altered the way we work, with organisations still having to continually consider the evolving impact and demands of hybrid working on their IT infrastructure. In this blog, we’ll discuss the key considerations such as:
- The key IT infrastructure factors for enabling remote worker efficiency.
- Security measures to protect remote networks.
- Collaborative technologies in a world where employees are often favouring working away from the office, versus in the office.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working, unlike a remote working model, allows employees to use office space for in-person collaborative projects and build team relationships when needed, while being able to complete tasks remotely when focus time or solo working is required. Greater uptake of home working models can also have a positive environmental impact by reducing air pollution as a result of less frequent commuting. A recent ONS survey discovered that 28% of UK employees are currently working under a hybrid working arrangement. In comparison, prior to the pandemic in 2019, only around 5% of the workforce worked mainly from home. While convenient for employees, hybrid work arrangements require reliable remote access to servers and shared drives, portable devices for transportation between working locations, or dual device setups, and applications to ensure effective virtual collaboration between employees. Devices also need to be managed remotely to ensure sufficient security and protection against cyber threats. These demands have likely had a role to play in growing the cloud computing market by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.8%.
How hybrid working impacts IT infrastructure
IT infrastructures can play a positive role in driving efficiency improvements in a hybrid world. Hybrid working has enhanced staff efficiency in a wider sense by improving personal wellbeing and driving productivity. The Office For National Statistics found that 8 in 10 workers who worked from home in lockdown wished to continue as they believe it benefitted their wellbeing. Companies can also drive a positive environmental impact by adopting a hybrid working strategy. Reducing the frequency of staff commuting to an office location, helps to reduce carbon footprints and bring down fossil fuel and energy consumption. However, hybrid working also places pressure on systems to be accessible, fast and reliable from any location to ensure this efficiency. For example, hybrid workers living in remote locations may discover connectivity and performance issues.
Businesses across all sectors are feeling the pressure to deliver a more mature IT infrastructure, with cyber security as the main driver for nearly half, according to our research report. With more employees working from home, the risk of cyber attacks can increase if organisations continue to rely on outdated systems and legacy architecture. This might explain why 43% of security decision makers consider cyber attacks as the top threat when securing a remote or hybrid workforce. Without the efforts to modernise IT infrastructures and the proper implementation of strong security measures like zero trust policies, encryption, restricted access controls, two-factor authentication and VPN connections; hybrid working can expose businesses to data breaches and cyber attacks. Employees in remote locations sit outside of the office firewall and controlled conditions, and will regularly transfer sensitive data across consumer-grade internet connections. Insufficiently secured internet connections increase the likelihood of network breaches, jeopardising the security of business-critical data.
Multi-layered security measures, including full encryption, patches and firewalls, are needed to ensure tools don’t open vulnerable backdoors to sensitive data. Training programmes for staff are much needed implementations to also deal with this risk. Regular refreshers should be held to cover the latest updates on the latest email scams or potential phishing attacks. Every staff member should know how to use two-factor authentication and password best practice, with a list of approved devices and apps.
The opportunities for in-person collaboration have been reduced by hybrid working. However, this has allowed for the rise of collaborative tools, such as video conferencing. In fact, the video conferencing market is projected to grow to $17.05 billion by 2030. Hosted in the cloud, these applications typically include zero-trust protocols, end-to-end encryption and security-first infrastructure to protect users. As a cloud-based solution, organisations also don’t need to spend time managing or maintaining servers to ensure that these tools remain online. The increased uptake of these tools has encouraged companies to leverage their IT infrastructure to create a digital community. Instant chats with colleagues, setting up meetings and automating workflows have become the norm. IT infrastructures will play a vital role moving forward in providing a digital fabric that connects both employers and employees together, with data able to be accessed from any location.
The right choice for your IT infrastructure needs
Organisations require dependable, powerful and cost effective cloud connections to ensure that end users can securely access data, content and services from any location. Telehouse London Docklands is the most connected data centre campus in Europe, with unbroken up-time since 1994. With direct data centre cloud connections, businesses can directly cross connect to CSPs to establish private connectivity between CSPs and their IT infrastructure. Not only can this lead to an improvement in performance and security, but also increase scalable bandwidth at peak business times.
With a hybrid future defining business operations, how should organisations transform to achieve their business goals? Our latest eBook, Shape Your Tomorrow: Navigating 2023 and Beyond with Technology Infrastructure covers the future of IT infrastructures and what it means for organisations. Want to speak to a member of the Telehouse team? Get in touch with us here.