Understanding the Concept of Anywhere Operations and Its Scope

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many things including the way we work. We have all transitioned into the digital world for virtually everything. The massive shift has posed infrastructure challenges to organizations urging them to re-examine traditional methods of working and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ culture. It has also become important for enterprises to use their resources wisely both during and after the pandemic. They are now pulling up their socks to prepare for the evolving needs of hybrid workspaces in the New Normal.

What they truly need is Anywhere Operations – an IT operating model Gartner believes 40% of organizations would have applied already by the end of 2023 to offer a blended virtual and physical experience to employees as well as customers. It is garnering a lot of attention since the time it has come into being.

So what is Anywhere Operations after all and how does it impact enterprises? Let’s find out.

The concept

Remote working has become a reality that will continue even in the future. In a recent survey by Gartner, 47% of the respondents said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full time. Explains Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of advisory in the Gartner HR practice, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

As boundaries between real and virtual environments continue to blur, enterprises need to ensure ubiquitous access to corporate resources. There is greater dependability on digital tools and the resilience of enterprises will largely depend on how well they deploy them. Enterprises will have to adopt a more serious approach towards the transformation of their IT infrastructure – be it devices & apps or remote IT support and cybersecurity.

It is imperative that businesses deploy management solutions that allow teams to work in tandem and continue to enjoy the same accessibility irrespective of the location they log on from. Anytime Operations, clearly, is inevitable and the need to match pace with the fluid working style of today will push it towards mass adoption. Remote work however is more about the workforce whereas Anywhere Operations includes customers into the mix so that customers are also able to connect and interact for all their needs any time from wherever they are.

When implemented correctly, Anywhere Operations will serve as the perfect model for building resilience and flexibility.

Anywhere Operations supports:

  • Remote work
  • Remote deployment of products/services
  • Business partners, stakeholders, and customers

It encompasses productive business operations and its core objective is to ensure that these operations can be managed effectively from literally ‘anywhere’.

Anywhere Operations is not just an enabler of work from home, online customer support, or remote deployment of products/services but an organizational paradigm that offers value across multiple areas. These include:

Collaboration and Productivity

The need to attain the pre-pandemic level of collaboration and productivity has led to the emergence of virtual offices replete with task management tools, meeting solutions, club office suites, digital whiteboards, and video conferencing platforms. This enables employees to see each other, interact, conduct meetings, assign tasks, share ideas in real time, review space occupancy and usage, etc.

Remote assistance is crucial to enable sharing of digital replicas of devices and maintain real-time analytics. While it was easier to visit the client’s office in the past, the need to implement XR tools is being felt today to facilitate better collaboration around tangible objects and help clients in this period of social distancing.

Secure Remote Access

Development teams and clients are provided secure remote access via cloud solutions powered by firewalls to ensure safe access to the virtual environment. In order to fortify the security measures, ways and means are being explored to replace traditional VPN for users operating in multiple time zones.

Identity & Access Management (IAM) solutions that enable multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, Zero Trust models, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are now being applied to ensure secure access to data and applications, anywhere, any time. Cybersecurity mesh is also being considered by modern enterprises. While ensuring timely responses and a more modular security approach, it makes identity the security perimeter.

Cloud and edge infrastructure

Organizations had already started discovering the power of automation and how certain tasks that were being performed manually needed immediate automation. In order to ensure 24/7 secure access, ubiquitous cloud migration was important.

Distributed cloud now has become the future of cloud computing and provides edge cloud for a nimble environment. Edge computing provides an opportunity for enterprises to collect a huge amount of data from various locations separated by distance and time zones to create efficiencies and bring down operating costs. It ensures that cloud computing resources are closer to the location where data and business activity is.

Project management and product development tools along with CRM tools used by sales and marketing departments are therefore being moved to the cloud. Enterprises are shifting infrastructure to cloud to ensure governance and accessibility for business continuity. Apart from flexibility and security, cloud solutions offer cost benefits with respect to smart repository usage.

Enterprises are looking at integrating IoT and 5G technologies to catalyze connectivity beyond imagination. The ability of IoT to allow back and forth flow of data makes it critical for dynamic business environments of today and will continue to drive edge-computing systems. Cloud and edge infrastructure will help avoid latency and gain real-time insights. Cloud and edge architectures will minimize time lags in data processing to help industries perform computing tasks closer to where data is gathered quickly.

AI edge processing is now being leveraged extensively for applications that have sub-millisecond (ms) latency requirements and helps circumvent bandwidth, privacy, and cost concerns. Enterprises are now critically evaluating their API platforms that serve as the essential building block on the road to successful digital transformations.
Google’s recently rolled out Apigee X is a case in point.

Says James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, “During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,”
Automation to support remote operations

Automation will be at the helm of operations in a bid to minimize human intervention. Enterprises are now keen on automating tasks that can help make better business decisions.

Enterprises are increasingly using AIOps platforms that connect ITSM and ITOM to deliver high-value insights that can predict outages, prioritize events, and get to the root of event patterns to fix them. The modern AIOps platforms help a great deal for discovery, endpoint automation, and self-enablement. Zero-touch is also being deployed for automatic provisioning and configuration of devices without manual involvement.

Quantification of the digital experience

Dubbed as ‘total experience’, digital experiences are a culmination of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience that can be tracked by mapping the EX and CX journeys. Quantification concerns the entire interaction from the time the first contact was made up to the present day. As interactions get more virtual, distributed, and mobile, total experience will give enterprises the edge to reach new frontiers of growth and make technological leaps.

Enterprises need to offer better technology to support the hybrid workforce while supporting the buying behaviors of customers. Just offering a great customer experience is not enough, and effort must be made to monitor and respond to experiences in real time to strengthen the relationship with employees as well as customers.

Achieve Anywhere Operations with Trigent

With decades of experience in turning insights into strategies and a sophisticated suite of products to drive your business, we can help your organization usher in a much-needed technology transformation for achieving Anywhere Operations seamlessly. We can be your trusted partner in delivering Enterprise IT solutions.

Talk to our experts for a business consultation.

A Deep Dive into Zero Trust Security

Why implement zero trust security?

With today’s workforce becoming progressively agile, gaining access to scattered apps from a multitude of remote devices from anywhere globally, there has been an acute need to protect the data, apps, users, and devices. As remote working has become mainstream, there is more load on the Cloud, and consequently, there is increased potential risk for security breaches. The Zero Trust Security model is a strategic idea and principle that helps firms stop data breaches and protect their assets, urging them to trust no entity within the organization before verifying, as threats can come from external users and internal ones. The cloud service provider is responsible for the platform’s security, but the onus lies on the customer to secure the data they store. AI/ML, blockchain, DevOps, and other emerging technologies require companies to consider their digital environment’s veritable security. For a business, it is imperative that employees securely access enterprise apps deployed behind the firewall. Other entities that will access the apps include vendors, contractors, associates, customers, and developers. Whether these apps are hosted in a public cloud or a private data center, this is a complex, unwieldy task that requires on-premise-hardware and software, including Application Delivery Controllers, VPNs, Identity, and Access Management (IAM) systems. Despite these technologies, an enterprise is subjected to many security threats caused by access to internal apps that expose the entire network to detrimental attacks. To offset these challenges, more and more enterprises are shifting to zero trust security.

The nuts and bolts of zero trust security

The Zero Trust Security model assumes zero trusts. Every request is thoroughly authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before granting access. Also, as cyber criminals can manage to compromise any of the assets, it is easy to breach the organization’s network. The attacks are more sophisticated by blatant poachers such as cyber criminals and bad actors. Once hackers cross the corporate firewall, it is easy for them to navigate without much resistance.

The zero-trust security concept relies on existing tech and govt. processes such as micro-segmentation and granular perimeter reinforcement to trust a user, a machine, or an application seeking access to critical data. To ensure high security, various systems and methodologies are incorporated, including: (ref. image)

The nuts and bolts of zero trust security

Common IT challenges to implementing the zero trust security model

Once you are acquainted with the zero-trust network, the pros, and cons, the subsequent move in the journey is to absorb some of the challenges you may have to overcome in implementing and adopting the zero-trust security system. You, along with the security team, must understand the importance of implementing policy as a code, and evaluate the policies and the complete degree of change involved in advancing from the traditional model that covers only the security boundaries to a comprehensive zero trust security model.

Network security can be demanding in this era of mobility, IoT, and Work From Home (WFH) settings. The challenges to implementing Zero Trust include technical debt, influence on legacy systems, and conventional development of peer-to-peer & distributed systems. The other common IT challenges include network trust & malware, secure application access, complexity, and IT resources. The best security strategy is moving to a least-privilege app access model, where access is given only to those needed to perform a task.

Ways to implement zero trust security

Assimilating zero trust security theoretically can be easy, but implementing it can be an arduous task. Zero trust security was first implemented over a decade ago. However, many enterprises are still ambivalent about implementing it in their organizations, despite the widespread popularity of the model. Complex IT environments, legacy systems should be embraced in a multi-phased manner. Build zero trust by design and not retrofit it. Here are the steps involved in implementing it:

  • Efficiently deploy micro-segmentation: Micro-segmentation is a process of disintegrating security perimeters into smaller zones to ensure that dedicated access is given to each part of the network.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a smart approach to achieving high network security. It is considered as the guiding principle of zero-trust security. MFA involves three factors, namely, the knowledge factor, the possession factor, and the inference factor.
  • Incorporate PoLP (Principle of Least Privilege) or limited user access: PoLP restricts access to users with only adequate permission to those files required to perform the accorded task. They can read, write, and execute these files. Also, the PoLP access can be applied to limiting access to apps, systems, processes, and devices to only those permissions necessary to carry out the task.
  • Verify all the devices located at the endpoints on a network: While hackers can be deliberately notorious, systems and devices are prone to fallibility. So, both have to be verified. Each device accessing corporate resources must be enrolled and verified before giving access to the data.

Transiting to zero transit security model

The quest for the zero-trust security model is just an email or a phone call away. Trigent enforces stringent security policies and assists with any possible security anomalies or incidents. Trigent’s Security Solutions team assesses your company’s IT vulnerability and builds a zero-trust security model, whether it’s an existing IT environment or a transition from a legacy system, or replacing VPN with ZT Remote Access. Our security services include operational management, security incident management, compliance management, audit support, solution analysis, information security advice & guidance, system assurance, and global information security coordination.

Reach out to us to know which zero trust security technologies can most suitably guide your security transformation.