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BrandPost: Should Your Enterprise Perimeter Live in the Cloud?

As enterprises embrace cloud computing and a mobile workforce, IT leaders have watched the traditional network perimeter capabilities dissolve, making security, access and identity concerns a top priority.

Digital ecosystems have expanded the infrastructure horizon for enterprises far beyond the network perimeter. Increasingly applications reside in the cloud, erasing the traditional idea of “inside” and “outside” a network perimeter. And while the idea of a “cloud perimeter” is emerging, protecting data your enterprise in requires a new approach to security that moves from the “moat and castle” approach to a zero trust model.

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BrandPost: State of Remote Access Security

Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce will be mobile workers by 2023, IDC predicts. With so many employees on the road at least part of the time, being able to access business critical applications remotely is key to the way we work — but also hard to secure.

In a recent study conducted by IDC for Akamai, more than half of respondents (56%) ranked security breaches as their greatest challenge around application access, even as they acknowledged that providing that level of access is an absolute necessity. Indeed, more than half the companies surveyed said every aspect of securing access is difficult, from managing mobile employees to onboarding and off-boarding contractors and partners.

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BrandPost: DNS: Early Warning System for Cyber Attacks

The Domain Name System (DNS) is akin to the central exchange for the Internet. It lists, tracks, and matches domain names – like www.akamai.com — to machine-readable IP addresses – like 23.199.214.34 — to steer traffic to the desired site.

But security wasn’t top of mind in the design of the DNS protocol. As such, it should come as no surprise that DNS-based threats continue to stalk the digital world. In fact, DNS is one of the top three most frequently used attack vectors to date this year, according to Akamai’s First Quarter, 2017 State of the Internet / Security Report.

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BrandPost: DNS and Security: A Vulnerability, Yes. But Also A Safeguard

Every action on the Internet relies on the Domain Name System (DNS), which lists, tracks, and matches domain names to machine-readable IP addresses to make sure traffic gets where it’s meant to go. Because it’s such a basic part of the Internet, many organizations take it for granted—and that’s made the world’s 30 to 50 million DNS servers an increasingly popular cyber attack vector.

A recursive DNS server’s only function is to resolve user requests. It has no way of knowing whether the connection it enables is good or bad. At many enterprises, firewalls do not inspect the port that DNS servers use to listen for queries. Often, the default firewall configuration is to allow inbound DNS requests from the public Internet so that a DNS service can respond.

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BrandPost: The VPN is Dead; Long Live the VPN!

For years, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been the best practice for giving remote workers secure access to corporate data and applications. But VPNs are built on the fundamental idea that enterprises have an inside and an outside—and the more operations your organization moves to the cloud and the more your users are accessing things remotely, the more difficult it’s becoming to define what “inside” and “outside” even mean.

How do you provide secure access to your enterprise network when it’s effectively scattered across the Internet?

A recent IDC survey indicates this concern is weighing on companies in every industry. More than 80% of the companies surveyed feel providing remote access is important, and most expect their use of remote access will grow by 11% to 20% in the next year or two.

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BrandPost: The VPN is Dead; Long Live the VPN!

For years, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been the best practice for giving remote workers secure access to corporate data and applications. But VPNs are built on the fundamental idea that enterprises have an inside and an outside—and the more operations your organization moves to the cloud and the more your users are accessing things remotely, the more difficult it’s becoming to define what “inside” and “outside” even mean.

How do you provide secure access to your enterprise network when it’s effectively scattered across the Internet?

A recent IDC survey indicates this concern is weighing on companies in every industry. More than 80% of the companies surveyed feel providing remote access is important, and most expect their use of remote access will grow by 11% to 20% in the next year or two.

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BrandPost: The Biggest Access Security Challenges and How to Address Them

As companies’ global partner ecosystems expand, remote suppliers, contractors and other external parties are just as likely to require access to some key enterprise applications as are full-time staffers working from branch locations, home offices or the field.

With the lines continuing to blur between who is inside the enterprise and who’s outside it, and control over end points diminishing, the challenge for IT to deliver secure access to applications that reside behind firewalls and across multiple private and public clouds grows larger.  

Here are some of the application access security dilemmas your own IT team may confront, especially when relying on traditional access approaches:

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BrandPost: How Content Delivery Expertise Can Empower Better Security

The push for enterprises to be more agile, flexible, and fast—a.k.a. Digital Transformation—is driving IT resources out of legacy environments and into the cloud.

Business today depends upon a more flexible, remote and mobile workforce, and that workforce needs secure, reliable, and fast access to those resources and applications that live in the cloud.

But the transformation to an inside-out enterprise—where applications, data and users increasingly live beyond a company’s confines—imposes some challenges along with the benefits it brings.

At the top of those issues: security. IT remains responsible for the security, visibility, and performance of applications and users that now sit outside the business’ traditional zone of control. Three-quarters of respondents [1] to a recent IDC survey say that the ability to provide secure remote application access is a priority.

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BrandPost: How to Facilitate a ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ Work Culture

Companies today expect more from their employees and, for the most part, employees are willing to give it. But it’s just as important for employees to play hard as it is for them to work hard, otherwise they risk burnout—and that’s not good for anyone. By offering onsite services, companies can create a “work hard, play hard” culture that benefits everyone. 

Employees are routinely working more than full time. According to a Gallup poll, adults who work full time in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week. Half of all full-time workers surveyed by Gallup reported that they work more than 40 hours a week, and nearly 40% said they work at least 50 hours a week. 

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BrandPost: Help Employees with Some Creative ‘Spring Cleaning’

It’s that time of year. The days are getting longer, flowerbeds are giving rise to color, and the trees are turning green. It’s also time for spring cleaning, and your employees aren’t necessarily thinking only about cleaning out the garage or the coat closet. Like the Earth, humans are undergoing a renewal of sorts. That’s good news for employers. By helping employees with their personal spring cleaning, you can also help keep them engaged—despite the beckoning sunshine.

According to research by Groupon, consumers are spring cleaning themselves. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults revealed that personal grooming and lifestyle habits change with the warming weather. In fact, six in 10 are adamant about embarking on a “spring clean of the body.” That means eating better, starting a new fitness regime, and spending more time on beauty routines. 

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BrandPost: Not Your Grandparent’s Company: Bringing the Workplace into the 21st Century

Gone are the days when employees dedicated the better part of their lives climbing the corporate ladder, working 40-plus hours a week year after year with all their hopes pinned on an early retirement. That was the way our grandparents worked, and it’s being rejected by Millennials and, increasingly, Gen-Xers. To remain competitive, companies need to change with the times. They need to bring the workplace into the 21st Century to attract the talent and skills necessary for a competitive advantage. 

For many Millennials, a job is not merely a means to an end. It’s an opportunity to fulfill their sense of purpose and to give back to the world. This is a benefit for everyone, as it means Millennials are more engaged in their work and, hopefully, more satisfied. But it also means that Millennials aren’t motivated by the Apple Watch (or other flashy tech gadget) the company gives to employees who reach their 10-year anniversary. Instead of waiting for those milestones, companies need to offer perks that build loyalty on a daily basis.   

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BrandPost: Putting People First: The Power of Employee Engagement

In the course of compiling its most recent employee engagement Meta-Analysis Report, Gallup crunched decades of employee engagement data to demonstrate the clear connections between highly engaged teams and an organization’s bottom line.

Among the findings:

  • Companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable.
  • Engaged employees are 20% more productive.  

As Gallup observes, the relationship between engagement and performance is significant—and “highly generalizable” across organizations. 

“Business units with more engaged employees have better odds of achieving the outcomes their organizations want—such as revenue, profit, and productivity,” the report states.

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BrandPost: What’s Your Strategy to Create a Great Company Culture?

Much has been made about the potential of “digital transformation” to make companies more competitive, to engage more closely with customers, and to speed everything from decision making to time-to-market. This digital revolution has also impacted employees, and not always in a positive fashion.

Always connected workers often work longer hours, both onsite and off, and the pace and volume of work has steadily increased for many employees. An Ernst & Young (EY) study found that one-third of full-time employees say that managing the work-life balance had become more difficult over the past five years.

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BrandPost: ‘Adulting’ the Right Way: Redefine What It Means to Work and Play

The responsibilities that come with being an adult are rarely fun: working full time, paying bills, maintaining a car, doing the grocery shopping week after week. There’s even a word for it now: adulting. Millennials in particular are realizing that adulting isn’t all they thought it would be. As an employer, you can make adulting easier by giving employees back the valuable free time they’ve come to miss.  

When employees say they want work-life balance, what they really want is the ability to get everything done that they need to do. That includes work, errands, household chores, as well as hobbies and recreation. Work shouldn’t take over to the point that they no longer have time to live their lives. At the same time, younger workers especially are looking for positions that appeal to their sense of purpose. That means work is no longer a means to an end. This is a win-win for both employee and employer: employees achieve a personal sense of fulfillment, and employers benefit from higher employee engagement.    

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BrandPost: Go Green with Onsite Employee Perks

As global warming and environmental protections become more pressing issues, more companies are looking for ways to “go green” and, hopefully, reduce costs. Unfortunately, going green can be a bit overwhelming. There are many opportunities, and some of them require an investment. The best approach to going green is an incremental one that starts with onsite employee services.    

Onsite services are exactly what they sound like: services that employees would normally leave the office for that you bring onsite. These services may include everything from health and wellness classes to salon services or veterinary care. The idea is that you make available the everyday services that virtually every employee needs. Because they’re onsite, employees can get their errands and chores done all in the course of a day’s work.

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BrandPost: How to Make Working Onsite Worthwhile to Encourage Collaboration

Thanks to technology, people can work from just about anywhere. For the most part, that’s a win-win for employees and companies alike. Productivity tends to increase, and employees appreciate the ability to balance work with life. But there are legitimate reasons for encouraging employees to work onsite. For example, people collaborate better when they can meet face-to-face when inspiration strikes. The problem then becomes how do you encourage people to come onsite while still promoting work-life balance?   

In many industries, collaboration has become a competitive advantage. By coming together and sharing their limited view of the market, customers, and the company, employees can achieve a greater perspective that can lead to creative thinking and innovation. Working together, employees can come up with more efficient processes, new revenue streams, and product improvements that add to the bottom line.  

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BrandPost: Do You Know What Your Millennial Employees Want?

Like everyone else, Millennial employees want to be recognized for the work they do. But unlike Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, they expect more from their employers across the board. Understanding the values that motivate Millennials can help you create a recognition program that is effective in rewarding their achievements (and in ways that your other employees are likely to appreciate).

According to one study, 86 million Millennials will be in the workplace by 2020—representing 40% of the total working population. Companies that provide a work environment that rewards extra effort and excellence will attract and retain their Millennial employees. But what do you reward them with? The best approach is to align workplace perks or onsite services with Millennial values. 

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BrandPost: Five Outside-of-the-Box Workplace Services that Employees Will Love

As employees get busier, their workdays get longer. Traditional workplace services such as car washes and yoga classes are great—at first—but after a while employees tune them out. Truly engaging your busy employees sometimes requires creative, outside-the-box, off-the-wall offerings. 

There are a number of unique services that companies can offer employees to improve their work-life balance and job satisfaction. The key is to choose services that are relevant and of value to a significant portion of your employees. Sometimes this may mean actively marketing the services to employees or creating programs around them. Consider the following five workplace services:

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BrandPost: How to Gain the Upper Hand in the Talent Wars

Your company may not be a Google or a Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you can’t level the playing field by offering and managing significant workplace services. As workplace culture continues to be a key deciding factor for professionals choosing between job offers, such perks really do count toward hiring and retaining the best talent. Here’s how to make a difference.

To start, it’s important to understand the role of employee perks and workplace culture in hiring and retaining talent. Innovative employee perks cannot make up for a toxic work environment. They must work in tandem and align with your company’s overall mission to have a lasting impact on employee engagement and job satisfaction. For example, a health and wellness company that offers onsite yoga and nutrition classes will attract like-minded employees.

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BrandPost: What Three Things Would You Do to Make Your Company a Better Place to Work?

Here’s a bit of a shocker: A survey by the noted job recruiting site Glassdoor found that 80% of employees prefer new or additional benefits or perks to a pay raise.1

So much for the old saying, “I’m just doing it for the paycheck.”

In today’s evolving work environment, it turns out that employees are far more likely to stay with a company that considers and provides for their personal needs, above and beyond just their time in the office. In fact, study after study shows that things like workplace benefits can genuinely help promote a positive work-life balance. 

With that in mind, we recently reached out to some HR influencers via Twitter to get their views on the three things they would do to make their company a better place to work. Spoiler alert: one size doesn’t fit all, and good communication should never be taken for granted.

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BrandPost: Maintaining the Peace in Times of H-1B Uncertainty

The outcome of the annual H-1B visa lottery is immigration’s Groundhog Day. It’s the same result year after year as many industries, including tech, have come to depend on their H-1B visas. With further immigration policy changes likely to come, here are ways to lower the stress levels that always accompany this thorny issue. 

First and foremost, convey to employees that corporate leaders genuinely care about their well-being, and that the company will do its best to take care of them. Given the current political environment, portions of your workforce may feel vulnerable or at risk even if an H-1B visa isn’t an issue for them personally. Creating a safe environment where everyone feels valued will help employees see the workplace as a safe haven from the uncertainty that can dominate the evening news. 

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BrandPost: How Services Can Become the Cornerstone of a Great Place to Work

It used to be that employee benefits were considered a “nice to have,” a little “something extra” that helped businesses stand out from the crowd.

Needless to say, times have changed.

Today workplace benefits are viewed as an essential investment. Organizations with top-notch benefits foster a better, more efficient workforce, and they’re able to attract better hires and reduce turnover. 

Consider:

  • 79% of employers believe offering benefits to employees is a critical component of attracting talent.1
  • Employees who are very satisfied with benefits are almost four times more likely to be very satisfied with their jobs.2
  • 75% of employers say that retaining and attracting quality employees were important outcomes of benefits.3

So how, specifically, are companies using services to create great places to work? We reached out to some HR influencers via Twitter recently and found that, when it comes to offering workplace benefits, there’s no shortage of creativity in play these days.

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BrandPost: How to Keep Key Personnel When Layoffs Come Down

No one wants to face the uncertainties that accompany layoffs. It’s a stressful time for everyone in the company. That’s why you need to be receptive to new opportunities to get beyond the current situation. Setting up a variety of bonus, incentive, and reward programs can go a long way toward retaining your top employees when layoffs occur. Here are some tips that can alleviate their angst.

Choose perks that improve quality of life.

Free soda, snack foods, and fatty lunches may be well received in the moment, but the associated morale boost is just that: temporary. Employees who indulge in these unhealthy perks may suffer from fatigue and lethargy, which can have a direct impact on productivity and creativity.

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BrandPost: Why Work-Life Balance Is More Important than Salary

Work-life balance means different things to different people. For some, it means traveling the world while working full time. For others, it means working from home a couple days a week. The bottom line, however, is the same: Work-life balance means getting all one’s work done while running errands, staying healthy, and having time for family and leisure.

Regardless of how employees envision it for themselves, work-life balance is taking on increasing importance. In fact, for many, it’s more important than salary. As companies strive to attract and retain top talent, demonstrating that they respect employees’ personal time is critical.

According to a study by Fidelity Investments, when evaluating a job offer, 58% of Millennials and 53% of Gen-Xers cite improved quality of work life as more important than financial benefits. That comes as no surprise when you consider other workplace and lifestyle trends that employees have to contend with. 

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BrandPost: How to develop mature DevOps practices

Every company must act like a software company these days. That’s why DevOps is so critical to your success: DevOps methodologies help you get better software to your users, and build tighter feedback loops for more effective learning.

If you’ve already undergone a DevOps transformation, you’re likely already seeing better cross-functional alignment and shared responsibility.  Hopefully you’re deploying software more frequently, recovering from failures faster, and dealing with far fewer security issues.

Now it’s time to take your DevOps initiative to the next level to achieve greater control, predictability and flexibility. By continually improving, you make room for more experimentation and innovation, and can even retain top talent. (See the proof in Puppet’s annual State of DevOps Report.)

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BrandPost: 17 questions to measure DevOps

If you ask 10 people to define DevOps, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Some answers will focus on culture and collaboration; others may focus on tooling. (If you’re interested in our definition of DevOps, we wrote a post called What is DevOps?)

DevOps is hard to pin down, but most people agree that it’s about much more than tooling. It’s about people, processes and tools — and probably in that order. It’s about aligning team values and workflows to achieve business objectives. By adopting DevOps practices, you can move faster without sacrificing quality, and set yourself up for future innovation and growth.

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BrandPost: In the cloud or moving to it?

Managing a growing hybrid cloud infrastructure, no matter the size of your team, can introduce a lot of complexity. You want to be able to take inventory, diagnose and respond to misconfigurations, and monitor deployments across your environment. You want to be able to scale, and do it securely.

We’ve put together a resource kit to show you how cloud management can be done. It includes:

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