The Challenges of a Remote Work Environment

By Kristin Acheson
Technology and Innovation Writer

Information security has become more important as companies adapt to a remote work environment. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Sheldon)

The big technology companies have been making strides in how they conduct work outside the traditional work environment throughout the pandemic. These changes have not come without failures and problems along the way. Concerns for information security have grown as meetings and data are uploaded to cloud software which lack security, sometimes outweighing the benefits of remote working. By trusting these additional networks and cloud systems, remote work environment have increased the flexibility of work. For example, inclusivity in the workplace has flourished under remote working because it gives people in all circumstances the option to work on their own time and at their own pace. It also gives workers a better balance between their well-being and productivity which is vital in creating a healthy work environment.

The part that is missing in companies today is the small run-in interactions and informal conversations which are being replaced with scheduled video calls. Informal meetings can be vital in making important decisions and organizing, however, since virtual meetings require so much organizing, they can feel like an extension of the workday instead of a casual run-in. Traditionally, meetings have only been held if there is a need to have them making it difficult to replicate the more casual aspects of the work environment. This perspective on the usefulness and purpose of meetings is seeing a shift with this new remote workplace environment.

Facebook and Twitter adhered to California’s stay at home order when the pandemic started, and Amazon and Microsoft adhered to Washington State’s stay at home order as well. These big tech companies had the privilege of being able to navigate remote working much better than other less established businesses. The problem big tech companies have is navigating how to deal with security remotely. According to an article published by Forbes, these large companies need to move from a “network security strategy to an end-point security strategy,” to keep the remote security consistent with what these companies were able to maintain in-person. A survey conducted by Gartner showed that 82% of company leaders are giving employees the option to work remotely which is large shift from when working in-person was required. Security and risk managers are starting to realize the need for scaling virtual private networks and refocusing on remote access security is more important than on-premises security.

An example of the need for better end-point security is in healthcare today. Telemedicine has been struck with an overwhelming number of new patients and keeping those patients’ information secure has become a priority. Companies need to focus on adopting protocols to enhance the security of at-home work. These protocols should include connecting to a company’s VPN, not using public Wi-Fi, and having a zero-trust approach with sensitive information. All companies are struggling to maintain a high level of security when people are working across many networks and signals. However, this change should be embraced as remote work will help a company move forward in a time where most people want to stay remote at least two days out of the workweek during the pandemic. With the growing importance of information security all companies should include improvements to their end-point security systems as they continue to adapt to the change of a remote work environment.


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