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Corporate Office and Kitchen Table: Securing the Future of Work, Part 1

The future of work is multi-modal, the future corporate office is a private coffee shop with great Wi-Fi, and the future of enterprise security is going to have to adapt rapidly.

If there is a sliver of positivity that I can find in this devastating pandemic, it's that we are adapting and finding new ways to work, play, and socialize. When the pandemic ends -- and it will end -- as we go back to former ways of working, playing, and socializing, we can still keep the best of what we've learned, mixing modes as fits the moment. Our approach to enterprise security is going to have to evolve rapidly to accommodate multi-modal work.

I often marvel at how we've adapted to work in this remote environment, doing things that, at the beginning of this pandemic, I was skeptical were even possible. For example, we are interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new employees, all remotely. We are performing due diligence, acquiring, and integrating new companies, all remotely. Moreover, we are doing these things quite well. At this point, I don't think there is a business function that we can't figure out how to do remotely.

Still, like many of you, I eagerly anticipate being able to go back into the office to see colleagues face to face, collaborate, and socialize. One of the things I love about Akamai is that it's a collective endeavor. We work together to accomplish things that no one of us could accomplish alone. Yes, we can and do accomplish things remotely, but to me, that sense of the collective endeavor is just not as meaningful as it is when we can collaborate and socialize in person. So when offices reopen, I'm there.

Maybe not every day, though. When the pandemic ends, we shouldn't just throw away everything we've learned and go back to the way it was. Nor should we think of offices as being redundant or no longer necessary. The new workplace can be something more flexible and adaptable, a middle ground between the two extremes. Moreover, by accommodating more work styles and preferences, we can be more diverse and inclusive. Think of the office as a private coffee shop with great W-iFi, comfortable meeting rooms, and great facilities for collaboration and socialization.

When I say that the office is a coffee shop with Wi-Fi, I mean that quite literally, all the way down to the network. The W-iFi is a connection to the internet, not to a private enterprise WAN. When in the office, access to enterprise applications can work just as it does from home or any other remote location. In effect, all access becomes remote access, regardless of location. After all, we need a solution for secure access from remote locations, so we can just use that same solution for the office. Simplify.

The challenge is that the traditional model of providing remote access, the virtual private network (VPN), is not a great user experience, and it's not very secure.  Fortunately, we now have much better solutions. At Edge Live | Adapt, I'll talk with John Summers, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Web Security, about how a Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) is a critical component in merging infrastructure and application security with secure access to enable this future of work. You can register here.