As we gingerly begin 2022, it’s almost impossible not to think back to this time last year. After dealing with the personal and business stresses and changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic for almost a year, people were giddy at the thought of the new year and, thus, closing the doors on the pandemic.
But a year later, the world continues to grapple with changes shaped by the pandemic. While some had hoped that January 2022 would mark the beginning of pre-pandemic life, enterprise IT teams increasingly are accepting the reality that remote work is here to stay in one form or another for the overwhelming majority of businesses.
Consider the following statistics and projections going forward related to workforce shifts due to the pandemic:
- It was estimated that 26 percent of the American workforce would work remotely through 2021.
- Globally, 16 percent of companies are fully remote.
- More than 80 percent of workers believe their employer will continue to support remote work after the pandemic ends.
- Almost 60 percent of people say they would be more likely to choose an employer that offered remote work as compared to one that didn’t.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic, 41 percent of enterprise CIOs say they experienced additional incidents in support of remote access.
Not surprisingly, enterprise networks have undergone a significant transition to support remote work initiatives. One of the biggest changes has been increased reliance on digital transformations. Traditionally, corporate networks took a hub-and-spoke design, in which the corporate local area network (LAN) was the hub, and remote locations and individual workers were the spokes. The shift to remote work accelerated several initiatives including data center transformations, application migrations to the cloud, and broad adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) applications. Some would conclude that the adoption of SaaS and UCaaS provided greater flexibility, improved performance, and provided better security for enterprises with distributed workforces.
But enterprise IT also has come to understand that edges, specifically the client, service, and server workload edges, are more complicated than traditional approaches to corporate networking. Network traffic traverses the enterprise ecosystem from one edge domain to the next—wireless to wired connections, LAN to WAN, internet service provider (ISP) to colocation, colocation to cloud, cloud to server workload, and more. Successfully moving to the edge requires visibility into user activity, network performance, and application dependencies from a single, unified management and security control plane that supports remote work without sacrificing user experience.
Likewise, it’s vital for security and network operations teams to have consistent goals, unified processes, and interoperable technologies that protect the network, while also maintaining network uptime and performance for business operations. Doing so reduces costs via shared instrumentation, training, and operational efficiencies.
As more action is moved to the edge, it’s important for chief information officers (CIOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs) to ensure their teams understand the challenges of securing the edge, while also ensuring that end-user experience doesn't suffer from the policies and procedures put into place to do so.
To learn more about how to effectively use the edge to support remote work, read the new white paper “A Double-Edged Sword: As Enterprise Networks Increasingly Move to The Edge, CIOs and CISOs Have To Address Security, Customer Experience,” or reach out today to learn more from one of our security experts.
Referenced for statistics: