How To Make Remote Work Successful For The Long-Term

Enterprises switched to remote work in a hurry when Covid hit. Now CIOs need to make sure their remote and hybrid approaches balance the need for cybersecurity.
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As remote work transitions from an emergency approach to standard operating procedure, information chiefs need to take additional steps to ensure their systems are secure and compliant with cybersecurity regulations.

Justin Donato, vice president of IT for Nintex, a Bellevue, Washington-based tech company with offices and remote workers across the globe, has ideas on how to do just that. Donato spoke with StrategicCIO360 about the core principles that should guide your approach.

How and why are global enterprises adapting to a remote-first work environment?

Global enterprises must adapt to a remote-first work environment. Current global events have resulted in a dramatic shift in the way people work and achieve work-life balance. If an organization expects to grow and continue attracting top talent, they must embrace what has quickly become an integral part of our professional culture by providing a degree of flexibility in where and when people work.

Ideally, global enterprises can make this shift by providing a secure and decoupled environment that allows employees to connect to company resources as required, with any device. Current technology platforms, personnel and budgets can make this a considerable effort, therefore the first step on this journey is understanding the organization’s risk profile and establishing a framework for prioritizing these outcomes.  

What has Nintex’s strategy looked like as the organization moves to long-term remote work? What have been Nintex’s strategic goals in the process?

As the approach to remote work began to evolve into a long-term scenario, Nintex IT’s strategy was to work with business leaders and our business partners in security and compliance to establish that framework and start that process of prioritizing our efforts toward a secure and decoupled environment.

Our strategic goals have focused on business empowerment, by ensuring people have access to the data and systems they need to be successful while maintaining a security posture that is acceptable according to our internal and regulatory requirements. This balance has only been achieved through establishing deeper relationships with business leaders and focusing on achieving our organization’s corporate objectives.

What digital infrastructure and technology solutions are necessary to make remote work successful in the long-term? What changes has Nintex put into place for its own virtual operations?

While there is a range of existing and emerging solutions designed to make remote work successful in the long-term, maintaining focus on a set of core principles will help drive the design of your digital infrastructure. Multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are critical to any defense in-depth strategy and should be supported by a proven ability to recover data, irrespective of the compromise.

At Nintex we have not so much changed our approach to virtual operations as much as we have doubled down on our core principles to support the deployment of a secure and functional infrastructure.

How has the threat of new coronavirus variants impacted CIO strategy? What have been some of the challenges to becoming a remote-first organization?

The threat of new coronavirus variants has enforced the mindset that long-term remote work, or at least a hybrid approach to remote work, is now an established element of our professional culture. As a result, a CIO’s strategic considerations such as the organization’s risk profile, business model and budget priorities must also change to accommodate this and ensure they are providing the right digital infrastructure and technology solutions.

Two challenges that are consistent across almost all organizations have been the need to rethink the approach to security for a disconnected workforce and supporting the business as it adapts to changes in its underlying business model.

The approach to remote access, patch compliance and endpoint monitoring have all been impacted by this shift to remote work, and IT organizations need to move quickly to own and implement the required changes to meet these challenges. For some organizations, the shift to remote work has also changed the way they do business, the underlying go-to-market strategy and how they interact with their customers. CIOs need to work closely with business leaders and guide critical decisions that may impact digital transformation and core commercial systems.

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