With hybrid work models fast becoming the norm, organisations are responsible for creating a safe environment for workers returning to the office, while simultaneously ensuring access and securing for those working remotely.
According to Gartner, 51 percent of all knowledge workers globally (those involved in knowledge-intensive occupations such as writers, accountants and engineers), would have been working remotely by the end of 2021.
As remote working is not standardised and varies in different parts of the world, 31 percent of workers worldwide are expected to be remote, including a mix of hybrid and fully remote, in 2022.
Rising demand for remote and hybrid work across Asia Pacific
In Asia Pacific, applications for remote jobs are growing across China, India, Australia and Singapore, as interest and demand for remote work among job seekers continues to rise.
Similarly, organisations across the region are adapting to a more dispersed workforce and actively creating and hiring more remote roles, as the shift towards remote work opens up new opportunities for both the workforce and organisations.
It is therefore crucial to address the evolving security and identity needs of today’s hybrid workforce and enterprises as they embrace the new way of working.
Authentication and access management strategies and policies must be recalibrated and implemented in order for organisations to maximise user safety, business continuity and regulatory compliance in the hybrid world.
Securing the hybrid enterprise
Security and facilities teams are required to consider physical access trends that will ensure the safety of both workers and security professionals both returning to the office and working remotely.
Touchless solutions and data protection technologies facilitate robust and secure on-site environments, while multi-factor authentication solutions take centre stage for remote applications. These initiatives serve as the latest physical access trends and best practices to bring this newfound paradigm to reality.
As the pandemic has introduced a new sense of awareness of how people interact with objects and each other, demand for touchless access control solutions that help reduce viral transmissions at human-to-object touchpoints and minimise potential cross-contamination has increased steadily. Such innovations are also more sustainable in the long run as they reduce plastic waste.
Another benefit of touchless access control solutions is convenience for both users and security administrators. Due to its ease and appeal, mobile access provides an additional choice and convenience for everyday users with security administrators issuing and revoking credentials digitally and remotely, eliminating in-person interactions at the workplace.
Driving the growth of mobile access control, data protection helps to secure personal data and identity as such information is being stored in mobile phones instead of fixed mounted devices where identity theft is more susceptible to occur. This portability benefit where one carries his own digital identity with him eliminates the need to provide or exchange personal biometrics to gain access into buildings and digital portals.
Best practices and recommended strategies
Balancing the requirements and intricacies of both remote and on-site working can be challenging. Below are some considerations and recommended strategies for securing the hybrid enterprise:
- Double down on development – Technology and innovation will only evolve faster, more processes will move to the cloud and security must be ready to embrace the emergence of hyper-automation. This translates to upgrading infrastructure to support solutions in the cloud and on-premises that are not only highly secure, but also seamless and future-ready.
- Prepare for data proliferation – The growth of connected architecture, the Internet of Things (IoT) and peripherals lead to the conception of associated data. In the new world where data is the new oil, the usage of data with agility and speed will be the new basis of differentiation. Smartphones, mobile identities (IDs) and biometrics offer uninterrupted and easy access, expediting the use of digital information to identify anomalies and improve the user interface. Therefore, users’ personal data and identity must be protected and privacy concerns thoroughly addressed as more enterprises embrace the hybrid mode of working going forward.
- Password-less access – Provide access to enterprise resources through the use of high assurance digital credentials instead of passwords, and advance security options for remote workers.
- Implement new authentication strategies – Enterprises should consider implementing an advanced authentication solution based on the Zero Trust model to deploy secure identities at scale, and address the growing complexity of hybrid workforces and compliance challenges. The authentication solution should be integrated and made up of a comprehensive range of authenticators, credential management systems, authentication services, client applications and digital certificates to suit diverse organisational needs, user population diversities and use cases.