Imagine owning a business, but not having to rent or manage an office. New technologies and changes in the way employees work will continue to define how businesses structure and secure the workplace. In a report predicting the changes to the workplace through 2025, Fujitsu echoes earlier findings from HP and Dell that offices are becoming more mobile.
"In today's technology-focused culture, an unprecedented amount of our daily lives is now digitized. By 2025, enterprise technology will necessarily become more human centric than it is today," says Neil Jarvis, Chief Information Officer at Fujitsu America in a statement. "This shift, which is due to an increasingly innovative society that demands a ubiquitously people-friendly user experience in the workplace, will blur the lines between the enterprise and life itself."
Not only will workers become more mobile, the line will also blur with what devices and apps are designed for work. And as that line blurs, security will also play a big role.
An untethered workplace
With an increasing number of Millennials preferring to work from home, small business owners may not even need to set up shop. The obvious benefit is that business owners may save on the cost of rent, but the downside is that employers will need to outfit employees with the right tools.
The Freelancers Union reports that as many as 53 million people, or roughly 34% of the workforce, are freelancers. By 2025, that number could increase to 89%.
To accommodate for the change, business owners should think about devices that foster connectivity and collaboration outside of a traditional office, such as lightweight laptops, tablets and convertibles. Coupled with a smartphone, collaboration or teleconferencing software and a reliable Wi-Fi connection, employees can get just as much done outside of the office.
Blurring the lines
We've already heard of the BYOD movement, but beyond bringing personal devices to work, employees of the future may also want "BYO-Datacenter."
This will be a new challenge in the workplace of the future. Gartner estimates that 30% of BYOD strategies will leverage personal apps and data for work purposes, a trend we're already seeing with small business owners. Business owners will have to manage devices and secure data stored by their employees.
Small business owners and employees may use their personal Gmail, rather than a Google Apps account, for work messaging, or they may store files and documents on their personal Dropbox instead of a SharePoint account. They may also use a work laptop to browse the internet at home or a personal smartphone to check work email at dinner.
Affordable cloud-based technologies are bringing enterprise tools to consumers, and many consumers are in turn using these personal tools for business purposes.
As remote workers connect more things to the internet, and even host their own "datacenter" or store work documents on personal network attached storage (NAS), there may be new challenges with securing data. Presidential candidate and former First Lady Hillary Clinton spurred a national debate on the security of government data when she used a personal server during her time as Secretary of State.
By 2020, Gartner estimates that there will be 25 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With more devices collecting more data, businesses will face new challenges on securing data.
"Most security breaches do not target personal information with the intention of identity theft, and often, they are carried out just to prove it can be done," said Mr. Jarvis. "Having said that, just as our interconnected existence expands, so will cyber-criminals' knowledge of data analytics, raising a very important question: Are CIOs prepared to outsmart cyber-criminals as they amp up their expertise? With the unsteady success rates of applying cybersecurity practices in our professional and personal lives, it's safe to say there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in this area."
The challenge for small businesses without robust IT departments will be to manage risks, especially since there will be many more endpoints spread across multiple locations.
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