Networking Tomorrow’s “Smart” Workspaces

Gone are the days of hard-wired, physical workplaces – today’s modern work locations rely on technology to define their boundaries: Wi-Fi connections, virtual connected spaces, multiple digital devices, anywhere/anytime remote access, collaborative software, and more.

The very definition of networking has changed – as have the very places people work. Case in point: smart offices, where workers can select documents from their laptops and, with the tap of an app, project them onto wall-mounted screens for instant collaboration. Don’t have the time to install a printer manually? A smart office can automatically detect the nearest printer and connect to it.

Smart offices can digitally direct workers to the next available conference room or virtual space for hosting interactive meetings with both off-site/remote and on-premises colleagues (and even Skype meetings with no one else in the room). Employees can even use a smartphone app, linked to Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in an office parking garage, to find the closest available spot – just in time for the next meeting.

Save time and money

Smart workspaces help reduce costs and increase efficiency across the office environment, from conference rooms to cubicles. By letting employees collaborate anytime, anywhere, on any device, smart offices save time, reduce the hassle of managing meetings, and help cut travel expenses. Because smart office technology can automatically direct employees to available conference rooms, organizations can eliminate unused office space and trim costs. Smart offices even help recruit and retain employees.

But for all their perks, smart offices can present significant challenges for IT. Remote connectivity, personal devices, sensors, data volumes – they are all components of IoT that can render smart offices vulnerable to distributed denial-of-service attacks, malware, and data theft.

Fortunately, there are steps organizations can take to safeguard their smart offices. Step 1: Perform due diligence in selecting your technology vendor. Questions should include:

  • What smart office technologies can you provide?
  • What is the security profile of these solutions?
  • What kind of security measures have been integrated into the solution’s development lifecycle?
  • Can you provide secure deployment guides?

Once you have the answers to these questions, the next step is assessing your IT teams’ readiness to properly and securely implement smart office technology. Do you have the necessary resources, time, and expertise to deploy and test interconnected devices and networks? If not, you may want to turn to an experienced third party.

With these best practices in place, organizations can begin the journey from today’s hard-wired physical workspaces to the offices of tomorrow.  

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