Lots of people are getting very excited about Hybrid Offices across the world, especially in bigger metropolitan places, like London, where business culture thrives. The necessity of social distancing caused by Covid-19 was initially achieved by having everyone working from home, but now weâ€™ve found solutions that allow employees to return to the office, and itâ€™s all achievable by having the right kind of IT. Companies in London especially are looking at hybrid offices as the ideal way of getting themselves back into the office, whilst respecting peopleâ€™s comfort zones.
If you arenâ€™t aware of what a Hybrid Office is, it simply means creating an infrastructure that allows employees to either work from home, or work in the office; and making sure that this arrangement still enables colleagues to collaborate seamlessly. But there are some security considerations surrounding hybrid working. TechQuarters is an IT support company in London; we spoke to the CEO, Chris, about what security tips they could give to businesses considering a hybrid office.
Secure the perimeter
â€œThe perimeter of your companyâ€™s network may have been tightly controlled, perhaps via an intranet only accessible within the office,â€ says Chris, â€œIf your business still uses the same network that was originally designed for just office-based internet connectivity, then having employees who must work from home will create weak points in that network.â€
And in fact, it is not just limited to WFH, as mobile phones and other similar devices can create weak points in the network. It would be more suitable then to upgrade your network infrastructure to accommodate the fact that your employees are not working within the rigid confines of the office network. IT companies in London such as TechQuarters can help you with this.
Better Device Management
Building on the need to have a strong network perimeter in a hybrid office setup, it is also of great important to have the best possible device management policies. BYOD policies have been around for a while and it is unlikely workers will stop using mobile devices alongside their main device. The trick here then is to make sure that within all mobile devices, there is a clear separation of work data and personal data.
Manage Communication Channels
Weâ€™re all using mass-market chat apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But because they are consumer level products, you cannot be sure that they are 100% secured. â€œAt TechQuarters, we use Microsoft Teams for all company related chat, as you can control external access and make sure itâ€™s only employees or approved external users,â€ says Chris, â€œwe may have a group chat on WhatsApp for social stuff, but for business chat, and sharing sensitive information about your business, you really need to keep that within channels you can control.â€
Upgrade your IT Support
If your IT Support was originally designed for on-prem office working, then it will definitely not be able to keep up with hybrid office working.
â€œWeâ€™ve been providing IT support services in London for a long time, and advocating for flexible and remote working for just as long,â€ says Chris, â€œand with every new customer we help setup hybrid working for, we have to do an in-depth security audit. Itâ€™s so important to get that right early on!â€
Unfortunately, it seems that hybrid working isnâ€™t something that can be jumped into right away, unless you know without a doubt that your IT security and your IT support is suited to it.