We’ve all experienced profound changes as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses, governments, consumers – all of us.
The most marked changes were in how we interact, socialise and work together – or, to put it more accurately, how we work apart.
Our connectivity changed from face-to-face meetings to virtual ones, especially with work. Many of us shifted from the familiar working environments of our offices to ad hoc workspaces in bedrooms, spare rooms and kitchens.
One of the big challenges, aside from getting used to working from home with all the unique challenges it can bring, has been making home working as safe and secure for the business (and employees) as it was working in the office.
With so many employees accessing the corporate network and data from often less secure locations, companies have had to secure the devices employees use to access the network and company data.
Another concern has been the security awareness of remote workers. How confident are businesses that employees working outside the company perimeter won’t fall victim to phishing attacks, drive-by downloads or ransomware?
Rightly, companies did what they could to address these issues; but did they look at the infrastructure?
To use an analogy, while they concentrated on the safety of the car and the driver, did they pay enough attention to the road they were using?
What roads are you using?
One of the major lessons for businesses during the pandemic was how much they relied on communications and connectivity to keep trading. But did they pay enough attention to the infrastructure they were using to deliver it?
In the rush to continue trading during COVID-19, many companies put their faith in mobile networks, home broadband and Wi-Fi networks to connect to their remote employees.
This didn’t always meet the same strict criteria of the enterprise grade connectivity companies aim for inside their own premises. How many businesses truly think it is safe to entrust their business data to a home wireless network?
Even if the technology underpinning home networks is as secure as that for office wireless networks, it has not been configured by trained engineers to provide appropriate and consistent levels of security. Too often, home networks can be poorly configured or maintained.
With an emerging consensus that remote working is now part of daily life for many companies, connectivity is extremely important. Your business will need to decide, for example, whether an internet connection to a remote device using internet protocol security encryption is secure enough for your company network and data.
Is the resilience provided by home networks robust enough to protect your company?
Connectivity is not an afterthought
Many companies view connectivity as a utility. However, this fails to account for how much they rely on connectivity to run their business in the future.
When a business is connecting to remote employees and to cloud platforms and services, the quality of its connections – the security, reliability and performance – is critical.
Connections from workers outside the office require the appropriate level of security and resilience to their roles working inside it. These connections can take a range of forms, such as mobile 4G or 5G, fixed line, internet and broadband, but they need to be appropriate for the business and implemented properly.
For example, those that need to access sensitive data could be connected with mobile broadband or a dedicated corporate broadband connection. This avoids the danger of sharing a connection on a home wireless network with a number of users and devices.
Connectivity cannot be treated as an afterthought for any business in the post-COVID era. But it doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all. With the right provider, you can choose the appropriate connectivity for your employees and your business.