How to adapt your IT strategy to remote and hybrid models of work

Realities on IT security and how Campus X addresses them within our own infrastructure.


By Sergei Biliarski, Campus X's award-winning IT Manager with 11+ years of experience


2020’s peculiar events quickly urged (almost) the whole diverse workforce - from the standalone freelancer to the large multi-national corporation - to adopt a fully remote workstyle, regardless of whether they were ready or not.


Basically overnight, companies had to instruct their fleets of office workers to find a suitable IT setup wherever they were stationed, and stay productive, for an unknown period of time.

 

Table of Contents

  1. What was the impact on companies?

  2. Facing new challenges

  3. Hackers and security breaches

  4. Lessons learned as an IT Manager at Campus X

5. In conclusion



What was the impact on companies?


Some companies were more prepared than others. Specifically, IT (but not only) organizations who had already invested in cloud-first and decentralized infrastructure strategies (e.g. AWS, Azure, GCP), modern communication and collaboration tools (e.g. Microsoft 365, Google Workspace), and mobile employee hardware, reaped the benefits of their insightful IT strategies.


Those organizations reported that they found this transition to be quite straightforward and almost painless.

However, others were not so lucky. Many established corporations, and even smaller organizations, still rely on legacy centralized IT models, be it for regulatory compliance purposes, rusty security policies, or plain old inertia. Many of these organizations keep all their valuable data and communication in-house in large, protected data centers and highly secure internal networks.


Thus, it was no surprise they struggled immensely to quickly apply their IT security standards to the work-from-anywhere, bring-your-own-device world.

What happened? This either left the companies’ IT systems with large security holes to preserve employee productivity or the opposite – they brought their loads of policies and procedures forward and restricted all kinds of access, blocked personal devices, created hoops of approvals, and ultimately crippled employee efforts to accomplish almost anything. In turn, this resulted in lower productivity and plummeting revenues.


Facing new challenges


Soon thereafter, the first group began to struggle too.


Although cloud- and mobile-first companies initially took the lead in adopting the new workstyle, many were not quite prepared for the next challenges down the road.

Firstly, home networks began feeling the immense strain of modern online work and study life. Imagine two working adults who are constantly and simultaneously requiring high-bandwidth low-latency connection for conference calls, quick access to large file resources, as well as sharing and collaboration tools. In the meantime, their kids engaging in real-time online learning.


Also, productivity began to suffer. Some sought escape from their crowded homes to better focus on their work. And while it is indeed fun to spend a few days tapping away on your laptop in a wooden cabin in the middle of nowhere or sipping a cold drink on a sunbed near the sea, people quickly realized that those conditions are way more suitable for what they were initially designed for – a short disconnect from corporate buzz and recharge of their mental batteries, rather than consistently delivering productive output.