The future of the workforce has often felt like an ambiguous concept, especially if you try envisioning it for the wide range of industries that make up our global economy. The technology inherent to the advancement of a biotech firm is wildly different than that of a consumer goods company.

However, one thing is clear— technology is the crucial enabler that allows people to efficiently carry out business tasks regardless of the industry they’re in.

From SaaS apps to cloud storage, the modern employee relies on a variety of different solutions to get things done, and it’s critical that those solutions work well together. With employees using an average of eight SaaS applications, it’s likely that this number will continue to climb as organizations modify their tech stacks to streamline operations.

It’s essential for employers today to have the right foundation in place to ensure their IT strategy not only works consistently without fail, but also empowers a productive workforce. How can you take steps right now to ensure your organization is prepared for the technology advancements of tomorrow?

Remote work has its own set of security risks– take action now to prevent a potential breach

It’s clear from this pandemic that the remote workforce is no longer a passing trend, but an element forever embedded into the essence of modern work. As long as it persists, companies must take the proper security measures to ensure sensitive data is protected whenever workers are located outside an office network.

The average data breach costs a company $3.9 million according to IBM, which could  break a small business. It’s imperative to take the proper steps to ensure your company’s data is secure while employees access information remotely.

Personal home networks and precarious public WiFi all have inherent security risks that could leave an organization vulnerable. Employers should mandate usage of virtual private networks (VPNs) for remote workers to prevent sensitive information from being susceptible to any prying eyes on the network. Beyond this, installing measures like single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a no-brainer for protecting the data within cloud applications.

Consider security solutions that utilize AI and machine learning to detect threats, compromised accounts and privilege abuse. Relying on this technology will take the guesswork out of threat analysis, allowing IT teams to be more agile in protecting company data.

Additionally, with more employees working from home now more than ever before, the organizations that can provide them with real-time IT support solutions will be one step ahead in ensuring seamless productivity.

As your workforce adds more devices, it’s essential to secure these endpoints with MDM

The days of the modern employee working from just one, company-issued device are long gone. A Dell study indicates that 60% of workers already use a smartphone for work purposes, allowing them to access their work email or Slack app on-the-go.

Every device used to access company systems is yet another endpoint to secure, so it’s critical to identify ways to reduce risk. Make sure you have a mobile device management (MDM) solution in place to provide an enhanced level of control over employee-owned devices, mitigate the risks with stolen devices, and separate corporate applications from personal ones.

Think of MDM as the potential launchpad from which you’re able to deploy the latest solutions to keep up with emerging threats and defend your business against them.

Be mindful of the ever-increasing number of regulations and frameworks around consumer data

 With heightened consumer awareness around data protection due to consistent breaches, it can be difficult for small businesses to ensure they are taking the right steps to comply with frameworks like SOC 2, or laws and regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and New York’s SHIELD Act.

Each of these frameworks have their own set of stipulations that can be confusing to understand. On top of this, the more devices there are, the more data that’s collected, yielding even more regulations to follow. For example, organizations that utilize facial recognition and machine learning will undoubtedly have to abide by supplemental data privacy rules sooner rather than later.

If your organization does not have the resources internally to keep up with the growing number of regulatory frameworks, consider working with an external security partner. By doing this, you’ll make the process of compliance simpler for your entire organization in leaving it to trusted experts.

While there’s no shortage of tools available to make work processes more efficient, having the proper IT infrastructure in place before taking advantage of new technology is critical. The future of work arrived early, and it’s important to have the basics down to set teams up for success and allow modern workers to thrive.

Ryan Denehy is a 3x entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Electric. Having experienced the pain and frustrations that many business owners encounter in managing their IT infrastructure and support needs, Ryan’s light bulb idea to create a cloud-based, real-time, 24-7 IT Support ecosystem laid the foundation for Electric’s vision to redefine IT Support for a new generation.

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