The New Hybrid Workforce

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Representing the hybrid workforce with an image of a woman's face reflected in a computer screen, superimposed over tiles from a video call.The start of a new year is traditionally a time for reflection: fondly looking back on the year that was while attempting to predict what could be in the coming year. This past year was challenging in so many ways that it’s difficult to identify much to fondly look back upon. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight one area that I have been grateful for – the tech that enabled so many of us to shift to working from home.

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic necessitated multitudes of employees once confined to their corporate campuses to suddenly be enabled to work remotely. The pandemic also accelerated the move to digital transformation, requiring IT and cybersecurity teams to ensure that infrastructure and resources essential for work remain available and secure. And these changes do not appear to be temporary.

Poll after poll confirms that the way we work and conduct business has changed for good. In fact, a recent Pew Research poll indicates that 90% of people interviewed “do not want to go back to the office full time, even once it’s safe to do so.” Even the vast majority of IT decision-makers expect remote work “to remain in place long term or permanently.”

Hybrid workforces are now the new normal, forcing companies to retool their networking and security infrastructures to not only make corporate resources available 24/7 but also deliver an optimal user experience to their remote workforces. However, the rush to support all these newly enabled remote employees and new ways of doing business has exposed significant limitations in legacy systems that were never designed for rapid scale nor to deliver consistent security and an optimal experience everywhere.

Legacy systems and point-product solutions cobbled together to solve for premises-based requirements do not work for the new hybrid workforce. A new model is required to securely enable today’s increasingly remote workforce, one that delivers consistent security and an optimal experience regardless of where users are located or which applications they access. To describe this model, Gartner coined the term SASE – a Secure Access Services Edge – to align networking and security to emerging business and employee needs.

Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access and CloudGenix SD-WAN transform networking and security to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive cloud-native SASE so organizations can easily support the dynamic secure access needs of their hybrid workforces. Learn more on our informative and interactive webinar, “Securing Today’s Work-From-Anywhere World.” Get valuable tips on how to enable today’s work-from-anywhere workforce and achieve consistent security with an optimal user experience for all users and locations.

Donald Meyer, director of product marketing at Palo Alto Networks, has more than 19 years of networking and security industry experience. In his current role, Meyer is responsible for the Palo Alto Networks SASE security portfolio.

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