By Mike Fowler, CEO from Integris
As we gathered with friends and family last year to ring in the new year, none of us knew how challenging 2020 would be mentally, physically, professionally and technologically. With safety in mind, as the pandemic hit, so many of us were able to leverage work from anywhere (WFA) to keep our businesses running. This would not have been nearly as successful just years ago for a number of reasons. Sure we have zoom fatigue, but zoom didn’t even exist back then. Office 365 with SharePoint, hosted file sharing, our adoption of all services that are delivered in a browser (SaaS), and Teams makes WFA almost seamless.
The unsung hero here are the remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools that we use which allow us to maintain computers and support users wherever they are. And of course, the evolution of new security tools allow us to extend protection outside the office walls and right to the point of data consumption, the user’s computer. Of course I’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about high speed internet. Thanks to the power of high speed internet, we can have 4 zoom calls going at once (if you count the kids home school sessions) while answering your VoIP work phone. Some can even throw in a few Netflix streams.
As mere mortals we didn’t see the challenges of 2020 coming, yet we had the tools in place to adapt because we have been on the leading edge of cloud first architecture and used it as the guiding force for the construction of the Iconosphere. So let’s look forward to 2021. The information superhighway just raised its speed limit. WFA will drive so much more innovation and there will be an even bigger explosion of data, devices and services that live on the internet.
Companies that can be fast, flexible, and empowered by cloud first technology and security will thrive. They will be able to attract the talent and shape culture by rapid innovation enabled by the speed of cloud. Mere checkboxes enable services in an instant that would have been weeks and capital investments in the past, and unchecking just as quickly ends a spend in the wrong direction.
Further enabled by this move, cybersecurity remains our priority. At the core of security is Identity, and we want to make sure that when you access a service it is really you. We refer to this as Identity management. Single sign-on (SSO) is in the future for most of us as it is the practical application of identity management. How better to manage access to banks, vendors and internal systems that can be enabled/disabled through an SSO portal rather than remembering every site an employee had access to?
Combined with various forms of multi-factor authentication (MFA) we start to build a secure foundation for doing business in a WFA environment. MFA is something that can often be implemented with little cost and time to deploy, but adds huge protection. The bad guys are too successful tricking users into sharing login credentials, and MFA significantly reduces risks. We all know the security market is underdeveloped for small to midsize business and, under the hood, Integris is working directly with vendors to improve those RMM tools I mentioned above to better enforce security policies wherever the user works. Keep in mind that new, cost effective, security services are coming out each day and Integris’s R&D team will continue to evaluate these tools and recommend them when appropriate.
Other areas of focus include helping clients move to a cloud-based platform service which offers cost savings over the “move a server to the cloud” paradigm. Office 365 is an example of this type of service in that you literally no longer have a mail server to manage. Many of you are well into the elimination of internal servers for various business reasons. 2020 just gave us another reason to accelerate the move. Your business should no longer be tied to a physical computer infrastructure behind single points of failure. It is time…
Integris will also continue to provide our Modern Workplace seminars to better help your business leverage the tools that you already have and to be made aware of new tools that may be useful to you. Our team will stand ready to help you implement these new solutions.
As we close out 2020 I want to thank you for the trust you place in Integris. It is my sincerest hope that 2021 will be a happy new year for you and everyone in your life.