In the span of just a decade, the workplace as we know it has changed tremendously, writes Morten Brøgger, CEO, Wire. New technologies have launched into the mainstream that now enable us to work in ways that are more collaborative, efficient and secure.
At the pace that technology continues to change, it’s clear that the coming decade will continue to bring technological advances that evolve not only how we work, but the very nature of work itself. Taking this into consideration, organisations need to look at how they can make the most of new available technologies, but must also prioritise the serious issues of privacy, security and the importance of protecting digital assets and data — the most valuable commodities that modern organisations hold.
Just ten years ago, the workplace was very different from what it is today. Back in 2010, email was the primary form of communication, both internally and externally. Employees sent numerous emails daily, clogging up bandwidth and keeping IT teams constantly on their toes due to the threat of breach and cybercrime, two areas where email was (and still is) the perfect conduit. Back then, collaboration tools like Slack were making gains in the workplace but weren’t yet widely recognised or used. Skype was a consumer product, not commonly used for business.
“The chances of an employee spotting a phishing email is as slim as hitting a specific number on the roulette wheel”
Fast forward ten years to today and much of this has changed. The workplace has become increasingly flexible, with many companies incorporating remote working to their business practices. Today, approximately 40 percent of the workforce works remotely at some frequency. The nature of work has changed in that it doesn’t just happen in the workplace any longer — employees can work from home, from a co-working space, a company’s second office, a client’s office, or wherever the job takes them.
As work evolves into becoming more collaborative across borders, it makes sense that we’ve seen a trend in which modern workplaces are moving away from email towards more instant, dynamic forms of communication and collaboration. Need to check in with a colleague? Why send an email when you can message them in real-time, just as you would a friend or family member? Meetings and presentations can be done virtually and instantly, too.
Organisations have responded to this shift accordingly, by adopting the tools necessary to make work more flexible and communications more dynamic. As such, we’ve seen a shift where collaboration tools have become increasingly commonplace. In fact, according to market research, the enterprise collaboration space is projected to be worth £48.1 billion by 2024. This responds to the changing nature of the workplace, as well as driving further change of how we work.
The trend of sophisticated collaboration tools replacing email is heartening to see, as email has for so long been the weak link for both on-premises and remote working teams. In fact, in our recent report, we found that the chances of an employee spotting a phishing email is as slim as hitting a specific number on the roulette wheel. That’s a massive gamble to take when dealing with your company’s most valuable assets.
The new workplace collaboration tools replacing email are less porous than email in terms of cybercrime, but they equally need vigilant fortification against hacking. Once the organisation decides to adopt new technologies and tools to improve employee collaboration and productivity, they must ensure that security measures are taken into consideration. When it comes to the tools we choose to communicate and with across borders , those which offer end-to-end encryption are the best option to protect a company’s valuable digital assets and proprietary data.
More broadly, in the coming decade, it will be more important than ever for market-leading technology providers to collaborate on an industry standard for privacy and security in this new digital era of work. One example of this already taking place is the Messaging Layer Security (MLS) working group set up by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), of which founding members include Mozilla, Facebook, Wire, Google and Twitter. MLS is a new protocol currently being developed, that is designed to firm up the security of enterprise messaging platforms by employing end-to-end encryption within group communication. It has the potential to revolutionise the enterprise by making collaboration efficient, inexpensive, and secure.
As technology continues to move forward and bring us faster, more efficient ways of working, we’ll continue to see the workplace change in the decade to come. We can’t know what it’ll look like in 2030, but one thing we can bet on is that the most important undertaking for an organisation is to protect its data, as that is its most important — and most vulnerable — asset.