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How to Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Work

Here’s the understatement of the year: work has changed. And amidst unprecedented labor shortages and the so-called “Great Resignation,” employers are wise to accommodate changing workforce preferences to boost recruitment and retention efforts. But as hybrid models take the lead in shaping the future of work, many executives don’t feel prepared to support the operational shift. In a recent survey by Riverbed and Aternity, only 32% indicated that they were “completely prepared” for a transition to hybrid work. Among other challenges, leadership faces new complexities in digital and physical access management that threaten both the employee experience and a company’s overall security posture. Let’s review how work is changing, what it means for physical access and security – and what you need to look out for as you prepare to implement a hybrid model.

Why hybrid?

After the seismic shifts prompted by the events of 2020, most offices are unlikely to return to their former in-person operational model. For one thing, it’s not what people want. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 73% of respondents prefer the option of remote work. While some companies have made the plunge into a 100% remote format, many hope to retain some of the in-person elements that help to shape company culture – and that also capitalize on existing investments in physical infrastructure. Tech giant Google, for example, known for office perks such as catered meals, coffee bars, nap zones and more, announced plans for the majority of employees to eventually adopt a hybrid work week, spending three days in the office and two working wherever they choose. 

More and more executives are coming around to the idea of hybrid work moving forward. 97% of respondents to the Riverbed and Aternity survey indicated they would be comfortable with a long-term hybrid model. Last year, that number was at 30%. 

Make productivity and security go hand-in-hand in the hybrid environment.

As more companies get on board with the idea of a hybrid work model, they face new challenges in making the experience seamless for employees. Many are also concerned with the new security risks introduced by managing so much IP digitally. But as potential cybersecurity weaknesses take center stage, let’s not forget about the gaps created from a physical standpoint.

The solution: Identity and digital credentialing technology that opens doors to a safer workplace. Click below to see what the process could look like for employees transitioning from working 100% remotely to returning to work at the corporate office.

Things to Consider

In a hybrid model, employees will need to shift back and forth from digital and physical workspaces on a regular basis. That means you need to make sure employees can access both, safely and securely. Linking physical and digital forms of employee identity facilitates the switch – and decreases vulnerabilities from a security standpoint.

Many hybrid models leave it up to the employee to determine which days they will spend at home and which they will be at the office in order to preserve a sense of flexibility and accommodate individual scheduling needs. And even with set schedules for remote and in-person work, the typical Mon-Fri, 9-5 access schedule becomes much more fragmented.

As a result, the physical access needs of salaried employees begin to more closely resemble those of shift workers. At the same time, many organizations are looking to increase their visibility and tracking capabilities to ensure worker safety in the fight against COVID-19. Managing and tracking physical access for every employee in the hybrid environment is challenging for any security team, but particularly complex for companies with a large staff and multiple locations.

Because legacy physical access control systems lack the capacity to manage large scale changes to individual cardholder work schedules, security teams who want to create more tailored physical access policies have had to tackle them by hand, creating multiple reports. The system limitations, coupled with overwhelming manual requirements for managing access, lead many security teams to simply assign 24/7 access for each cardholder – the least secure option.

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Security is a concern – but it’s not just digital.

A hybrid model relies on a cyber-physical infrastructure that allows employees to come and go from a variety of workspaces. The less siloed your digital and physical identity and access management becomes, the fewer security gaps emerge along the way – and the easier it is for employees to get where they need to be – and get work done.

But accommodating more sporadic access needs does not have to mean a manual nightmare. Consider the following preparatory steps:

Link digital and physical employee identities and credentials with health data to automate physical workspace access according to mandates and policies

Create a unified view of digital and physical access, securely store vaccination data and automate contact tracing as needed

Implement dynamic access to facilities according to individual work schedules with our first-of-its kind policy-based access control solution

Automate compliance with new health and safety regulations and policies

Start now with Alert Enterprise

Help employees work in a way that fits their individual schedules without opening your company up to new security risks. We can help you facilitate digital and physical identity-based access management, increase visibility, automate policy enforcement and more. The best part? Changing the way you operate doesn’t have to mean a rip and replace. Contact us today to find out how we can help you prepare for hybrid work using your existing systems.

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David Cassady

Chief Strategy Officer

David Cassady has been selling and leading teams in Silicon Valley for more than 30 years. During that time, he’s led a mix of established software players and startups. Cassady has also been involved with five IPOs — and at least as many acquisitions. 

As Chief Strategy Officer, David leverages his extensive experience helping software businesses drive growth through deep and impactful partnerships with the world’s most successful SaaS providers like ServiceNow, Microsoft and SAP. 

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Mark Weatherford

Chief Security Officer
Senior Vice President, Regulated Industries

Mark Weatherford brings years of high-level cyber-physical expertise to Alert Enterprise, and as Chief Security Officer (CSO), he guides the strategy of data management and protection by advising cyber-physical security policies and procedures within the company. Weatherford also works in liaison with businesses and executive professionals in the cyber and physical security industries to further accelerate security convergence adoption.

Mark has held numerous high-level cyber-centric positions, including Vice President and Chief Security Officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Department of Homeland Security’s first Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity under the Obama administration, California’s first Chief Security Officer, and the first CISO for the state of Colorado.

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Harsh Chauhan

Chief Technology Officer

As Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Alert Enterprise, Harsh Chauhan is responsible for the company’s engineering technology innovation and solution delivery. A 20-year technology veteran and leader, Chauhan is focused on the growth of the company’s 3D Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) hyperscale cloud platform.

He also continues to develop integrated solutions with leading technology partners like SAP, SAP NS2, and ServiceNow. Before Alert Enterprise, Mr. Chauhan held multiple CTO positions, as well as Product Owner and Head of Development at SAP GRC 10.0, delivering targeted solutions to high-profile SAP clients.

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Ruby Deol

Chief Operations Officer

Ruby Deol oversees all business units at Alert Enterprise. With more than 20 years of experience in global sales and support services, Deol nurtures existing client relationships with a customer-first approach. As Alert Enterprise continues to grow in industry recognition and stature, Deol is charged with developing and implementing methods to meet organization goals and facilitate the company’s ongoing transformation.
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Kaval Kaur

CFO and Co-Founder

As Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Co-Founder of Alert Enterprise, Kaval Kaur leads all finance and administrative back-office operations. Kaur is a member of the national professional organization American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the California State CPA Society.

Prior to joining Alert Enterprise, she was the CFO and Co-Founder of Virsa Systems, a position she held until its acquisition by SAP.

Kaur is a philanthropist at heart, embracing the diversity of the San Francisco Bay area by assisting with and promoting special cultural events. She recently sponsored 2,000 public schools in rural India to advance computer literacy skills for children and is a foster mother to a 10 year old.

Jasvir Gill

Founder and CEO

Leading the charge of digital transformation and security convergence is Jasvir Gill, Founder and CEO of Alert Enterprise, Inc. An accomplished engineer by trade, Gill is driving the long-overdue digital transformation of the physical security industry.

Prior to launching Alert Enterprise, Gill was the founder and CEO of Virsa Systems, where he grew the company into a global leader of application security software. An early pioneer in establishing governance, risk and compliance as a software market segment, he drove exponential growth at Virsa, facilitating its acquisition by SAP in 2006.

In his free time, Jasvir helps drive social and economic empowerment in the community. He’s also a trustee at the American India Foundation.