Hybrid working is taking us all to the cloud. So how can you make the move with confidence?
By Tim Ryan, Senior Product Manager, Virgin Media Business
The genie is out of the bottle. The pandemic forced organisations to find new ways of doing business, and now our hybrid working lifestyle is here to stay.
A recent report published by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) found that 36% of employees feel more productive when they work remotely. Not only that, a large majority (69%) of decision makers believe that the changes in working methods will be made permanent by their organisation.
That’s good news for everyone. The same report highlights that hybrid working has inaugurated a 3.4% increase in productivity, a 3.6% increase in employee satisfaction and a corresponding 4.9% increase in customer satisfaction.
What does that mean for cybersecurity and connectivity?
Pre-Covid, where the majority of people worked in an office most of the time (let’s remember this was only 2019), traditional perimeter security methods served us well.
Most people, devices, apps and data would be inside your network, with a few operating outside it.
But applications are now dispersed all over the internet in a variety of different clouds. It’s no longer possible to take a centralised approach.
So what can you do instead?
Consider the efficiency of your network infrastructure and move your security closer to where it’s needed, tackling each application, user and device on an individual basis.
Make security part of your DNA
Consider security as part of your connectivity solution. The two are like wings. If they don’t come as a pair, you might as well have neither. So security should really come hand in hand with your network upgrade.
As you move applications and data to the cloud, it makes sense to take security out to where the users are. You’ve probably heard of ‘zero-trust’, where employees have to prove who they are before they can gain access to your network apps and data.
As the name suggests, with this kind of model, nobody is trusted, and you can instantly judge whether they can come in or not. That gives you more visibility and control than ever before.
You secure every single individual user, rather than the network as a whole. It means you can make instant judgements based on a user’s specific situation, and allow them access to certain data or applications.
This individual focus makes it easier to identify vulnerabilities as you’re looking at risk on a case-by-case basis. And it removes security barriers to any employees who should have access to things. So you free them up to be more productive and improve the overall employee experience.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a cloud-based bundle of services that brings both your network and the very latest security solutions to your organisation, all packaged up together.
Rather than IT departments having to bolt on security packages to the network, the security now runs through the network like DNA.
And address network migration challenges
In the rush to move to hybrid working, employers and employees alike adopted new cloud-based collaboration tools. This put an unprecedented strain on legacy networks, which should have come as no surprise.
Some organisations are holding back from moving to cloud, as they’re concerned about whether their network can really cope.
Others have forged ahead, accelerating cloud adoption to enable hybrid working practices. Yet they are now finding problems of their own. All that infrastructure has become extremely complex to manage.
In fact, 90% of organisations say they’ve experienced difficulty migrating to a cloud solution, with 43% citing complexity as the main issue.
But there is a way to navigate through the complexity.
Time for a cloud based network?
Public and private-sector organisations are turning to software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), where traffic is prioritised to and across cloud service providers, as well as from head offices to remote sites.
This reduces complexity within the public and private cloud. At the same time, the necessary links across infrastructure enable secure network traffic, and high performance and reliability for end users.
Consider SD-WAN and SASE together
With SD-WAN and a SASE approach to security in your toolkit, you can empower your employees to work more efficiently, with the tools that they need whenever they need them.
You’ll also be able to gain greater visibility of what’s going on across the network. And you’ll be able to scale up and scale down as your business needs.
No wonder that Gartner says that by 2025, at least 60% of organisations will have explicit strategies and timelines for SASE adoption, encompassing user, branch and edge access, up from 10% in 2020. It seems that SD-WAN and SASE’s time has come.
If you’re going to make the move to SD-WAN, it’s worth making it the right way. You’ll need an experienced partner to help you migrate.
Look for a provider that can take care of procurement, management and support, so they can deliver the solution as a whole. And make sure that they take your specific requirements into account, matching their solution with where you’ve reached on your cloud journey
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