Prior to the pandemic, people went to the office. They may have complained about the commute, and they may have wished they had more discretionary time, but that was the way things were done in a pre-COVID world. Things are done differently now, and there’s no going back for businesses that want to retain their employees, secure their systems, and thrive.
At issue, according to Rafi Wanounou, SE Director for Fortinet, is the incredible surge in digital transformation. “In just 18 months, things that were on our roadmap were accelerated by between 7 and 10 years,” he said. “It’s a sea change, for sure, to see that much change in so little time.”
Wanounou joined Andre Dieball, Director of Technical Customer Service, Exclusive Networks, in a November 2021 webinar titled Thriving and Growing in the Next Normal. With cybersecurity author Brennen Schmidt as moderator, the one-hour briefing looked at strategies for success in this new digital landscape.
Watch on demand: “Thriving and Growing in the Next Normal”
When asked to articulate one of the key observations he had made in the past year, Dieball referenced a statement he heard recently, saying ‘good enough, is no longer good enough’. The problem, as he sees it, is that businesses often fall short when they act under pressure, and too many remote work environments continue to rely on technologies based on on-premises access, on-premises security, and on-premises workers.
Wanounou agreed that more needs to be done in order to benefit from the full benefits of a remote or hybrid workforce. In his view, businesses have done a good job of pivoting from on-prem, but they haven’t done enough in terms of developing new ways and new tools to measure productivity. As a result, employees are returning to the office in droves because no one knows how to measure how well they perform.
As long as the work gets completed, Dieball doesn’t care where it gets done, but he knows that many companies don’t trust their employees to work remotely. Likening remote work to making deposits in a bank account, he said the work fills up an account, which makes it possible for employees to make the occasional withdrawal. “As long as they don’t live in deficit all the time, everyone is fine, but that requires a change of mindset,” he said.
Wanounou and Dieball agreed that in addition to making it difficult to assess how much workers contribute, remote work also presents challenges when it comes to monitoring employees’ mental health. Wanounou recommended implementing regular touch points to ask remote workers how they are doing. “We never had to specifically ask this question before, but we probably do in this new world,” he said.
Moving on to the subject of cybersecurity, Dieball spoke to the importance of usability when applying security measures. “Don’t make it too complicated,” he cautioned. For Wanounou, one of the chief threats to cybersecurity is that people have let down their guard. “They are at home, so they may not be as vigilant as they are at the office,” he said. “As well, they don’t have that IT person at the desk down the hall to help them, so maintaining that security posture is going to come from training on new software tools.”
Training was an area of focus for both of Schmidt’s guests in this briefing. Wanounou advocated the importance of generating demand for training sessions, offering an anecdote about pairing a feature film with a training video. Employees go to a physical theatre, have the opportunity to socialize over a new release, and gain some insights into cybersecurity.
It’s clear that the hybrid workplace will require a new way of thinking and that working remotely is here to stay. It’s also clear that ‘good enough’ was only good enough in the early days of the pandemic. Companies have had time to take a second look at everything from employee engagement and supervision to productivity and cybersecurity. It is now time to equip their teams with technology and tools that are purpose built for the new world of work.
Are you ready to look at the workplace in a new way and leverage the power of a mobile first economy? View the webinar Thriving and Growing in the Next Normal for more information on how to better position your operations for the future.