Remote Possibility

Insights from Censornet's CEO, Ed Macnair

Imagine for a moment it’s January 2020 once more and you read the headline ‘Twitter announces it will allow its employees to work from home forever’ – It would have been viewed as a remarkably forward-thinking move, right?

Fast-forward to just last week and when that particular headline hit the news, my first reaction was simply ‘And so it begins’.

What a difference a few months make – The principle of Remote Working in itself is far from a revolutionary strategy but to employ it as an ‘ethos’ – as your ‘modus operandi’, is a genuinely progressive stance. It’s also clear that Twitter is not alone.

There is a palpable resistance in the air, a real momentum mounting, opposing the return to ‘the way things were’. I’m personally in awe of the astounding reaction and adaptability by people and businesses alike, under some pretty extraordinary circumstances.

Right in the middle of the unimaginable, ‘Business as Usual’ was thanked for time already served and politely asked to leave without notice. A new ‘Remote Working Culture’ hasn’t only emerged, it has begun to serve as the ultimate showcase of what people can do when empowered to work autonomously.

Almost overnight ‘Business as Usual’ appears to be well-and-truly on the ropes but this much is also true – it’s unlikely to ever hit the canvas unless people and organisations feel as ‘Safe’ as they do ‘Productive’ when working remotely.

And therein lies the next step to revolutionary change – if the office itself is up for debate, then so is all it stands for and that includes the traditional approach to Cyber Security.

Get that bit right and there’s not just light at the end of the tunnel, the possibilities are positively blinding.

And after all…what’s a FireWall?…

For that to happen, there are some approaches which need banishing to the Technology history books, beginning with Security products which exist solely for the purpose of protecting ‘buildings’ in favour of the Users themselves.

Take Firewalls as just one example. Their only purpose is to protect assets contained within an office or physically attached to a network. Mmm, is it just me or is that not particularly useful at a time when almost everyone is working from home?

The truth in any working environment is that Security can only be effective if it is ‘Contextually relevant’ and that leaves any solution designed to protect yesterday’s Cloud-Free market (or barely populated offices), with little-to-no purpose.

And this is why.

Businesses everywhere, (some by chance, others by choice), are now moving at ridiculous speed – they have to. The term ‘Collaboration’ has evolved from a ‘marketing rhetoric’ to a ‘hard-hitting necessity’ as Cloud-based tools are now being leveraged from every corner of the globe, just the way that Bill intended.

The sheer rate of adoption and ingenuity by some businesses may be nothing short of jaw-dropping but here’s the thing.

If the Security Solution or Policy designed to protect the new wave of remote users remains ‘unchanged’, those very same businesses could be waving ‘Goodbye’ to their Data and ‘Hello’ to a whole host of Compliance issues.

And that’s bad. Like, really bad.

You see, working remotely is remarkably effective when the Security in place is relevant to the business activity. It has to ‘Follow the user’ with ‘Autonomous protection’, ‘in the moment’ at ‘machine speed’…And is hugely problematic if it doesn’t.

It’s this little oversight which has gifted Cyber-Criminals a heady cocktail of possibility. The combination of a massive influx of ‘less-informed-remote-users’ with Security designed to protect office workers, has led to a whopping 50% increase in attacks.

Yep, business is booming for the bad guys during this pandemic, but the good news is, it really doesn’t have to be that way.

The more organisations begin to ask some serious questions of their legacy technology, the sooner Cyber-Criminals will be banished back to the virtual naughty step where they belong.

‘Remote Possibility’

Letting go of what was once ‘Business-as-Usual’ was probably overdue, long before the pandemic started throwing its weight around but there are still perceptions which need to be challenged if we’re to truly move forward.

I’d like to begin by banishing a few ‘Industry terms’ which I believe are holding us back, beginning with the term ‘Remote’ – let’s be honest, it’s been rendered simply irrelevant.

People work from anywhere and everywhere, so seriously, take your pick – Remote Working, Remote User, Remote Culture, even Remote Possibility – they’ve all had their day.

The moment you remove the word ‘Remote’ from any one of those well-worn phrases, in turn you create opportunity and that’s what we all need to keep moving forward.

Ditch the clichés and you’re left with a culture where people can work safely from anywhere in the world – it is no longer a remote but a real possibility.

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