The reality of working from anywhere

When I began thinking about the flexibility and productivity gains delivered by Microsoft 365, I immediately scanned my calendar. It’s clear that I am rarely in one place for more than a few hours. In fact, constant change is something I truly enjoy. Earlier in my career, we arrived at the office early and stayed until well after dark. There was a greater emphasis on being “physically present” than being “actively productive.” Now I find the reverse. High levels of productivity are demanded, at a rapid pace, regardless of physical location.


Reflecting on today’s mobile and global society, the changes I’ve witnessed have been truly amazing. During my career, we’ve moved from pay phones and green screens to cell phones, tablets and laptops. As I write this at 40,000 feet, my laptop and Microsoft 365 provide me with all the tools I need to make a 3-hour flight productive. Over the past few years I’ve literally worked from planes, trains, automobiles, boats and bikes. Don’t worry—I pulled over for the automobiles and bicycles 😊 I rarely miss a beat allowing me to provide a high level of customer service and response while on the move. Microsoft 365 serves me well during business travel, kayaking trips, and family emergencies…on my back porch or vacationing in Europe—the tools are available.


You may think this is just too much connectivity. Well, I believe that the most successful people are heavily invested in their jobs. Meaning—it’s more than just a job. To me, work is what I do—it isn’t in a silo. My work isn’t only my job, it’s a place where I enjoy personal relationships, collaboration, problem solving, and value. There is a great deal of comfort in being able to respond to clients and help them solve problems while living life to its fullest. For me, flexibility and ease of movement make the constant accessibility worth it.


At this point, I think you understand the value of these tools to me. The next question is, “with all this ease of access, how do I keep my data safe?”


The easiest solution and highest fence is Multifactor Authentication (MFA). One of the most common issues I see is a reluctance by firms to implement Multifactor Authentication because C-suite has expressed concern about MFA’s impact on the user experience.


As a business user, I don’t mind being required to provide a second form of authentication when accessing my work files and emails. The extra few seconds are well worth the protection. In fact, I’ve implemented MFA on all my personal accounts. All it takes is a busy, hyper-responsive person to fall prey to some of the scams out there. These people are devious and creative, so the best defense is a good offense. The price a user pays for clicking on the wrong link can be devastating both personally and professionally.


Combining Multifactor Authentication with Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is even better! With ATP, emails are scanned for malicious links before I open them. It’s a no brainer. I can see there’s an email but until it’s been scanned, it’s only available in preview.


If users push back on security, it’s because they really don’t understand what can happen. Educate your users on the risks and share why MFA and other security tools are in place. Once they understand the real picture, they will be ready to help IT build the fence.


In my mind, Microsoft 365 is a game changer. This licensing bundle includes Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility and Security, and a host of continually expanding Office 365 productivity tools. I’m excited that Microsoft is truly leading with Security – it’s the only way to ensure a highly productive and collaborative work environment - on or off the road.


By: Cathy Redford

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