Enabling Hybrid Work Models And Cybersecurity Are Top Of Mind For CIOs

Walter Tora, CIO of StarTech.com, says the two concerns will impact how IT and the entire organization function in the year ahead.
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As many companies continue to let some or all of their employees work remotely, how can IT leaders ensure the security of their organization’s systems in such an environment—particularly as data breaches and cyberattacks are wreaking havoc across industries?

Walter Tora, CIO of StarTech.com, based in Groveport, Ohio, spoke with StrategicCIO360 about the kinds of technology that help, why you need to keep in mind how IT is impacted by your choices and what’s in store for 2023.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to deal with since the pandemic and change to remote work?

The pandemic brought an influx of challenges including transitioning a business that was designed primarily to work from a single office to a 100 percent remote model with no access to a shared and secure location. As we look toward the future of work, we have to continue adapting as there will likely always be a remote/hybrid component in workplaces moving forward.

With this transition, I’ve also had the challenge of not only ensuring remote users have the best tech accessories to be productive in a new at-home work environment, but also providing the IT department with the resources necessary to support the newly remote employees. 

Hybrid and remote work settings are becoming the new normal for workplaces. What tech considerations are needed for employee success in the new work from anywhere world?

With hybrid work comes newfound flexibility. Some days the employee might be in their home, some days they may go into the office and sit at a shared desk space, other days they may be working from a coffee shop or even at a hotel. Because of this, the most important considerations for tech products are universal compatibility and portability.

For example, USB-C based multiport adapters offer users nearly all the functionality of a traditional laptop docking station but are BUS powered, making them far more portable. They are also driverless solutions so there is a reduced need for IT help desk assistance when connected to a new laptop. 

What security implications come with employees working from anywhere and how can companies adapt to mitigate these?

Having employees work at any remote location opens up the risk of data theft or compromise. There are also networking implications when users connect via public WiFi networks. As more workers begin working outside of the office, it’s more important than ever to set up all employees with secure VPN access. Privacy devices such as laptop screen privacy filters are also great to protect users when working from shared spaces such as coffee shops, airports or co-working spaces. 

What technology or business trends do you predict will have the greatest impact on IT professionals in the coming year?

Security has always been a top consideration for businesses, but with the recent rise in hybrid work, we will see new challenges and solutions for security. The risk of data breaches and attacks will continue to increase. Businesses and IT departments need to recognize this risk, improve where needed and continue to enhance the security and integrity of data and remote connections to corporate networks. Beyond security, there will be an increased focus on enabling productive hybrid working overall.

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