Intelligent SME.tech Issue 20 - Page 21

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// EDITOR ’ S QUESTION ?

DON BOXLEY , CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF DH2I

W hile some of us may eventually go back to the office , likely in a hybrid fashion , it has become clear that remote work is here to stay for all shapes and sizes of organisations – SMEs included .

Even before the pandemic , the move towards remote work was trending up . A 2017 Gallup poll showed 43 % of employed Americans were already working from home at least some of the time .
In 2018 , the Census Bureau reported that 5.2 % of employed Americans worked from home in 2017 ; an increase up from 5 % in 2016 and 3.3 % in 2000 .
However , once the pandemic hit much of the world ’ s workforce found themselves trying to learn how to work and be successful from home . Although for many it was a bumpy transition , it didn ’ t take long for employees and employers to get used to the idea and eventually for many , greatly prefer the new work mode . In 2021 , Gallup reported there were nearly as many working remotely in 2021 , as was true in 2020 .
Likewise , a survey from BDC – a Canadian bank dedicated to SMBs – revealed 74 % plan to keep offering the ability to work remotely , even once it is safe to return to the office . BDC went on to detail the top benefits for employers , which included improved employee retention and reduced operating costs ; and for employees , reduced commuting time , flexible working hours and improved life balance topped the list .
For SMEs , remote working has presented them the aforementioned benefits as well as challenges , much like their enterprise counterparts . However , one critical differentiator was and continues to be the level of manpower and budget available to support and ensure the safety and success of ongoing operations .
Prior to the pandemic , Virtual Private Networks ( VPNs ) served as the primary underpinning for most organisations ’ data access and security . To better understand VPNs , their benefits and their pain points , DH2i engaged Virtual Intelligence Briefing ( ViB ) to conduct a study .
The results showed that using a VPN created a number of problems for organisations . Topping the list , 62 % of respondents cited inadequate security as their number one VPN pain point .
The most surprising finding was that almost 40 % of those responsible for keeping ransomware and other malware from penetrating their network , believed that it already had !
So , what is an SME to do to overcome the fact that traditional VPNs for remote users rely upon complex , expensive and less-thansecure network-to-network approaches ?
The answer is a new and reliable approach to networking connectivity – the Software Defined Perimeter ( SDP ).
This approach enables SMEs to build a secure software-defined perimeter and use Zero Trust Network Access ( ZTNA ) tunnels to seamlessly connect all applications , servers , IoT devices and users behind any symmetric Network Address Translation ( NAT ) to any full cone NAT , without having to reconfigure networks or set up complicated VPNs .

74 % PLAN TO KEEP OFFERING THE ABILITY TO WORK REMOTELY , EVEN ONCE IT IS SAFE TO RETURN TO THE OFFICE .
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