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Hybrid work, its impact on IT teams, and the resulting challenges faced by organizations managing data security and privacy regulations.

    We’ve all seen the headlines. Hybrid work is here to stay. Today’s young workers are demanding more flexibility from their employers, and the COVID-19 pandemic proved that it’s possible. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 59% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can be done from home are working from home all or most of the time. And while at the pandemic’s peak, teleworkers were staying home out of necessity, now that restrictions have eased and offices have opened up the workers who stayed home are doing it by choice.

    March 2020 saw hundreds of thousands of workers go from working in the office to working from home (or hybrid work), and three years later, the consequences of this shift seem … minimal. Below the surface of this surprising adaptability, however, is a cadre of IT teams who’ve worked overtime to make this new normal function.

    If companies didn’t have the infrastructure for 100% digital communication across the organization, they sure had to figure it out quickly. This meant modernization took a front seat as the all-digital future that once seemed far away arrived sooner than many thought it would. According to the 2021 Mainframe Modernization Business Barometer Report, 78% of enterprises reported starting at least one modernization program as a direct result of COVID-19.

    Additionally, orchestrating work from home meant beefing up security. When you add entry points into your network, you also add vectors for cyber threats, and a workforce of employees remotely accessing corporate networks from access points spread across the country and globe meant a lot more vectors.

    Every year, new information surfaces on how devastating data breaches are for organizations worldwide, and this year promises to be no different. A recent Harvard Business Review article that compiled the results from several recent reports states that the latest IBM Data Breach Report revealed an alarming 83% of organizations experienced more than one data breach during 2022. And the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found the total number of ransomware attacks surged by 13%, representing a rise equal to the last five years combined.

    The effect of these breaches on organizations? Publicly traded companies suffered an average decline of 7.5% in their stock values after a data breach, coupled with a mean market cap loss of $5.4 billion.

    This rise in cybercrime unsurprisingly has also caught the attention of regulators, adding the threat of hefty fines to organizations that fail to safeguard their users’ data. In the United States, the California Consumer

    Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have set the stage for more comprehensive privacy laws. The CCPA grants California residents the right to know what personal information is being collected about them and the right to request that it be deleted. The GDPR, on the other hand, applies to all organizations that collect personal data from individuals within the European Union. It requires organizations to obtain explicit consent before collecting data and to notify individuals in the event of a data breach.

    If just reading these statistics sounds stressful, when we attended the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Global Privacy Summit in Washington, DC this April, attendees assured us it was!

    This year’s conference had the biggest turnout ever, with nearly 6,000 attendees. We spent the week talking with privacy professionals about their biggest challenges, and unsurprisingly these professionals cited cross-company collaboration and keeping up with the latest data regulations from around the globe at the top of their lists.

    Most of the people who visited Infotel’s booth at IAPP were lawyers placed in charge of privacy policy in their organizations, highlighting the need for collaboration between legal officers, CIOs, and CTOs in crafting policies and ensuring compliance.

    We hear these concerns, and we understand how daunting it is for global organizations to carry this burden. What’s important to recognize though, is that finding the right partners can help significantly cut down on the chaos.

    Many of the data regulations that organizations face today draw from the GDPR and share common goals of protecting citizens’ personal information. By implementing daily best practices and working with trusted partners like Infotel, organizations can improve their compliance with these regulations and better safeguard their data. With the right systems and collaborators in place, staying in step with data regulations doesn’t have to be a daunting task. The key is to ensure that data compliance and security, as well as privacy, are at the forefront of any organization’s strategy.

    Looking for a partner to help ease the burden on your IT team in safeguarding your organization’s most important asset (its data)? Infotel is here to help. Learn more about our comprehensive suite of IT modernization and data compliance solutions at