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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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February 3, 2022 | Pedro Pereira

Business Continuity with a Hybrid Workforce

Hybrid workforces with distributed employees have a wider range of locations to keep backed up and continuously operational.

AFTER THE PANDEMIC, the workforce may never be the same. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of people working at home soared from 20% to 70%, and 54% want to continue doing so at least part of the time, according to the Pew Research Center.

This shift to a hybrid workforce is forcing companies to rethink business continuity. The biggest challenge involves user sprawl, says David Ruchman, CTO at Powersolution.com. “We now have to worry about many different small networks. What happens if the CFO’s home internet goes down? Will payroll be able to be submitted?”

Chad Kempt

Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at The Storage I/O Group, sums up the challenges: “More people in more places with more data distributed and more remote access, with more vulnerabilities and more threat risks to protect the organization from.”

So, how should businesses keep a hybrid workforce protected and operational? It comes down to technology, processes, and training.

On the technology front, Chad Kempt, owner of Fast Computers, emphasizes identity management. “Microsoft 365 has a lot of tools available in the higher-level subscriptions. Then we layer additional tools on top as required,” says Kempt. “The strategy is simple, though: We need to know who, what, and from where company data is being accessed.”

Ruchman uses a multipronged approach. It includes local file-level backup with a SaaS solution such as OneDrive, SharePoint Online, or Google Workspace. “Next, we use an SD-WAN type solution that encrypts the data in transit to protect for unsecured networks.”

Whatever the tools, configure them properly. Schulz notes misconfiguration is one of the biggest threats associated with the hybrid workforce. Another is failure to train users on their technology and to recognize social engineering attacks that can compromise endpoints.

Reliable connectivity is critical, of course, so never rely on a single internet connection, says Kempt. “Most of our clients have one to two primary connections and then a cellular failover with limited-service access architected into their network design,” he explains. “We can send the same level of solution home for key employees.”

Ruchman recommends secondary ISP connections for main data sources and mobile hot spots for home users. Do a cost analysis first, he notes. “It would not make sense to have a hot spot for each staff member as a precaution, because the likelihood of every hybrid worker’s ISP failing at the same time is slim.”

Finally, Schulz advises keeping multiple copies of critical data. The traditional recommended number was three “in two or more different systems or devices with at least one of those being offline or off-site.” With the hybrid workforce, he says, it makes sense to have “four or more versions with three or more copies of those versions.”

Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer and editor.

Image: iStock

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