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A survey of 4,105 Australian managers and employees by recruitment firm Hays has found that 51 per cent don’t feel safe and happy to go back to the office. One in three Victorian survey respondents said they felt comfortable to return to the workplace.
Which is why IT and security managers should redesign their security strategies with remote working as the new normal, according to Jon McGettigan, ANZ regional director at Fortinet.
Fortinet ran into just such a dilemma after rapid growth of its regional team – due to the rapid uptake of SD-WAN solutions, which drove 47 per cent business growth in the first half of the year – saw them working from home rather than from the company’s Sydney office.
The facility was designed to support up to 50 staff – mainly helpdesk support and in-house professional services staff to support implementations of SD-WAN and complex security foundations. But an increase in remote working has reduced office occupancy.
Meanwhile, McGettigan has been working with ANZ customers in a range of sectors – from government and financial services to healthcare and education – as they also adapt to the pandemic.
These experiences demonstrated to McGettigan the importance of security architecture that puts remote users at the centre, not the periphery, of extended networks.
Fortinet has used flexible cloud-based applications and SD-WAN to adapt security for its remote workforce. McGettigan says this allows it to maintain security levels and will continue to do so even if employees never go back to the office.
“Like any organisation, there was some uncertainty about what is safe and what’s not safe,” he says, “but 99 per cent of our roles can be delivered remotely.”
“Whilst we never knew if all our people could work seamlessly from remote locations, with a bit of tweaking it has worked extremely well. I think everything about how we work will change – and being completely remote will become acceptable.”
So far, it seems that office workers are not rushing back to cubicles. In September, the ABC reported that nearly half of Australia’s 18 million square metres of commercial CBD real estate wasn’t being used.
Contact Fortinet to learn more about remote secure networking.