profile image
Katrín M Guðjónsdóttir

Manage network security complexities when teams are hybrid working

Before the pandemic — working remotely, usually from home — was a growing trend but still somewhat unusual in most large companies.

May 28th, 2021

Before the pandemic — working remotely, usually from home — was a growing trend but still somewhat unusual in most large companies. Then in 2020, Coronavirus (Covid-19) changed everything overnight. Everyone, or almost everyone, was suddenly working from home.

Offices were closed. Most sat virtually empty for many months.

Meetings were conducted over Zoom. Kitchen tables, spare rooms, even bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms became workspaces. Teams and Slack became the main ways many of us interacted. Face-to-face meetings, coffees with colleagues, networking and anything involving co-workers or clients was potentially dangerous.

Now we are coming out of the other side of this pandemic. Vaccine rollouts are slowing the spread, and businesses everywhere are looking to the future. Business owners, boards, and CEOs are understandably asking themselves and wondering: What does the future of work look like?

Do we we still need our offices, or should everyone work from home?

Is there a middle ground between the two?

Yes, there is, which is why many have come to the same conclusion: Hybrid working.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is where teams work a few days at the office, and the rest of the week at home. It allows for a natural fluidity. Or to ensure the right people are in the office at the same time, a rota system could be established, to allow for occasional face-to-face collaborative working.

It’s also a smart way to keep numbers relatively low at the office, which is an advantage if you are still aiming to maintain an element of social distancing. We are not so far out of the other side of this to assume a pre-pandemic normal. Hybrid models emerging include two days in the office and three days at home, or the other way round, depending on company and employee preferences.

Although a relatively new concept in the corporate world, tech companies and startups have managed hybrid working, and remote teams for decades. Only as a result of the pandemic is this becoming the norm for everyone.

According to several survey’s published in the BBC, 55% of workers in the U.S. want a hybrid model. In the UK, 37% of those surveyed are in favour of that. A Chinese employment expert, Alicia Tung, expects a 60/40 split between onsite/office and working from home within the next 10 years.

Employers are seeing the advantage of downsizing offices, or taking on flexible space, rather than long-term and more expensive leases. Although not every company is doing this, there are certainly sufficient signs that this could be the way forward for the majority of organisations in the years ahead.

What this means for network security?

When it comes to the question of network security, hybrid working does create challenges for IT leaders, managers, and those responsible for the security and integrity of networks.

Working from home (WFH), remote working, and staff using their own devices are all complicating factors, from a security perspective. Now that hybrid is fast becoming the approach many companies could take permanently, it requires long-term, robust, scaleable, and secure solutions.

Continuing with the same makeshift solutions many companies implemented at the start of the pandemic won’t work. Now is the time to think strategically. Give your IT teams what they need to manage network security seamlessly.

Manage complex network security with hybrid teams

#1: Review current remote network architecture

Networks are functional and reliable dependent on split-second interactions between a critical network trinity, known as DDI: DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management. If all of these are functioning as they should, then everything should work smoothly.

However, with teams moving to a long-term hybrid working solution, we need to review whether the architecture and any DDI solutions currently in-place are equipped for this. More often than not, when something goes wrong, the fault can be traced back to the functioning interaction between DDI components.

Reviewing the current state of play of your network architecture is a crucial first step when preparing for long-term hybrid working. You need to be confident the network will function just as well across multiple offices and hundreds of homes as it did when you only had offices to worry about.

#2: Test whether current DDI solutions are equipped for hybrid working?

Equipping a network for long-term hybrid working is different from suddenly needing to switch to remote working in the middle of a pandemic. Security was a serious concern, but so was maintaining operational network continuity. Businesses needed to keep functioning.

Now we are thinking for the future, makeshift solutions need to evolve into something more permanent. Do you have any DDI solutions in-place?

If you do, but they're not fit-for-purpose, then now is the time to review strategic and operational needs. If you don't have any DDI solutions, and instead have a complex interplay of services, you run the risk of network architecture that could fail at any point. Or is open to security weaknesses.

With the right DDI solutions in-place, you can dramatically improve a networks efficiency, connectivity, and security, which ultimately determines whether a network can continue to perform well when teams are moving fluidly between home and onsite working.

#3: Can you improve network visibility and security?

In large organisations, networks were already complicated. When you have multi-platform networks, a combination of on-premises (onsite), cloud, and hybrid cloud solutions, it increases the risk of human or technical causing crippling downtime, outages, and even accidentally opening the door to damaging cyberattacks. Network complexity reduces visibility, creates blindspots, increases security vulnerabilities which can be more easily exploited.

In this new age of hybrid working, companies need higher-levels of visibility and abstraction more than ever. With the right solution, such as Micetro, you can remove unwanted and potentially dangerous complexities, increase visibility, control, and network security.

Rollout sustainable networking, whether your team is in the office, at home, or anywhere in the world, with Micetro by Men&Mice. Request a Live Demo, or start your Free Trial.

Contact us today for more information about network security when everyone is hybrid working.