The Distributed Workplace: What It Means To The Channel

The home office has its lure—but for MSPs or VARs, this raises new questions when it comes to data protection and management.

  • May 20, 2021 | Author: Todd Hyten
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As COVID-19 vaccine rates climb, is everyone ready to flood back to the office? Well, maybe not quite yet. 

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, software company Citrix Systems surveyed more than 7,000 of its worldwide employees and found: 
  • 16 percent would prefer to remain working remotely.
  • 52 percent would prefer to have a flexible policy and have a choice of working remotely or at the office.
That survey was in line with other reports that show employees want to retain their location flexibility even after “herd immunity” to COVID-19 is reached. The time saved on commuting alone makes it worthwhile for many workers. 
 
The home office has its lure—but for MSPs or VARs, this raises new questions when it comes to data protection and management. 
 
In a recent interview with The Channel Company, Gary Pica, president of TruMethods, LLC, talked about what the distributed workplace means for solution providers. 
 
 “As IT providers, we have to assume I everyone is working from home. If they’re working from home one day a week, it might as well be every day because we have to secure them the same way,” said Pica. 
 
He said IT providers have to assume, too, that there will be more devices and apps to manage with home workers. A distributed workforce using more devices means there’s more distributed data to store, manage and protect. 
 
Pica said data protection in a more distributed world won’t be easy for MSPs or VARs: “For decades we built [security] around the edge device. Now the employees go home and they’re on a work computer or a personal computer and they have your company data there. Securing that endpoint is so important now. It’s more complex and requires different skill sets.”
 
Pica said the problems of a more distributed workplace goes beyond new security tools.
 
“Some of this isn’t a technology issue,” said Pica. “Companies have to have a policy of what employees can and cannot do, where they put things, what devices they can use.” In the end, this may provide a new opportunity for MSPs or VARs to help their clients. “You have to have a way to help them because we can’t protect data we don’t know about.”
 
The upside of all of this, said Pica, is that solution providers will need to learn more about their clients to secure their data. New skill sets learned along the way will ensure a more secure distributed environment—a win-win for everyone.

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