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Bringing security to flexible working…

…Graham Jones, Regional Director UK&I at Exclusive Networks Group, explains how the distributor’s managed security services can help the channel secure clients’ distributed work environments

 The launch this week of a new Government consultation paper on flexible working that could give an additional 2.2 million workers more say over where and when they work1, following on from the widespread adoption of home working during the pandemic, is yet another indication that the world of work is unlikely to return to its pre-Covid state.

Instead, more and more employees are likely to split their time between multiple work spaces, bringing new technology and security challenges. Smart channel partners will embrace this as a new opportunity to support more complex working environments.

The rush to work from home in the pandemic wasn’t just temporary. It changed the way we think about work entirely. In a survey of 5,000 UK adults, conducted by the Centre for Economic Policy Research at the start of the year, four in five people said they wanted at least one paid workday per week at home, with most wanting more2.

Changing attitudes to home working combined with the possibility of new rules that will enable employees to request flexible working from day one of employment means that organisations that patched together collaboration systems in the cloud to cope with a short-term crisis during lockdown might now need to build distributed working environments that offer more robust support for employees and business processes.

 How the channel can help

Most businesses don’t have the resources to plan the technology underpinning these new environments, which is where you come in. Good resellers, integrators and managed service providers differentiate themselves by supporting, deploying and managing their clients’ business IT.

Channel partners must support their clients’ strategic decisions, often acting as trusted counsel as businesses plan for this new future. They must then develop and deploy appropriate systems to fulfil their clients’ vision and, finally, manage those systems to keep them operating reliably.

They must also ensure that those systems operate securely. Security is an important discipline that MSPs will embed in all parts of that process. Remote working means opening up access to company resources online while guaranteeing that only those with the right credentials get in. It means closing the gap between access to cloud and on-premises resources while securing endpoints that companies might not even own, on networks that they don’t control. Businesses must constantly monitor technology infrastructures that now span multiple domains.

Offering security that spans these new, distributed infrastructures is a complex process, and service providers wanting to build these services into their portfolios face considerable challenges. Building a security operations centre (SOC) isn’t cheap. The setup costs are high, involving considerable capital outlay.

Staffing a SOC is expensive too. Security skills are hard to find, especially as companies rush to secure themselves in the face of rising risks from ransomware and other threats.

Once you’ve made these investments, you’ll need to keep making them. Technology evolves so quickly that channel partners must constantly review and refine their services and skills.

Then, there’s the business end of things to manage. Many channel partners won’t be geared for the subscription-based billing that accompanies the ongoing management of these environments. They will need new billing and support systems to administer them.

 Managed security services are the answer

This heavy lifting will hold back channel partners that need to take advantage of these opportunities quickly. A managed security service (MSS) from a distributor like Exclusive Networks can get you started quickly with a honed set of modern security services that will offer you a competitive advantage and give your clients peace of mind.

Our MSS offers several service categories that will complement your broader IT offering for clients coping with distributed working after lockdown. These include a permanently staffed SOC, offering constant incident monitoring and reporting.

We offer device and policy configuration in accordance with best practice change management policies, and we employ threat countermeasures as part of a comprehensive incident response capability. In short, when it comes to cybersecurity, we have you and your clients covered, no matter where they’re working.

Working environments and practices will change to accommodate employee and business needs. The quest for post-pandemic equilibrium will be a journey. IT and the security that supports it must flex to support clients as they find their way. This is why a flexible MSS offering will be important not only as clients emerge from lockdown, but for years to come.

Talk to us for more information about how our MSS solution can position you to help your clients.

  1. Making flexible working the default – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  2. https://voxeu.org/article/working-home-revolutionising-uk-labour-market
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TechnologyReseller: 2021