In this installment of our Networking for the Hybrid Work Era blog series, we discuss how to create safe work environments while ensuring a seamless connectivity experience.

After months of anticipation, the return to the workplace is underway, and with it comes an assortment of emotions. The joy of in-person reunions. The awkwardness of physical interactions as we recalibrate our instincts for distancing. The awareness of what we’ve lost. And above all, a determination to keep employees and guests safe during this transition.

As an IT professional, you may not realize how much you can contribute to these efforts. You’re no doubt concerned about the overall health and security of your network environment to prepare for a successful and productive return to the workplace. But there is a lot your network can do to help take care of people’s health and security as well—regardless of whether they are back in the office or continuing to work from home.

Boost your digital immune system

Attacks on enterprise networks have been going up, and the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to target vulnerable organizations. The shift to work from home brought a 600% spike in cyberattacks. This trend cannot be treated as anomalous or solved through short-term solutions. By 2023, 40% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud. With this wealth of information existing outside of the traditional on-premises enterprise, perimeter security isn’t robust enough anymore.

A zero-trust approach to identity and security protects your employees, data, and infrastructure much better in a hybrid environment. Your network can dynamically create rules that protect users and applications. And you’ll be able to see into anomalies to detect and remediate attacks.

Put your finger on the building’s pulse

Monitoring the movement of people and things through your physical offices is now an important factor in reducing health risks. It’s relevant for everything from distancing guidelines to contact tracing and asset tracking. But trying to keep track of the number of users and connected devices on the premises while managing an end-to-end network to keep the business running isn’t an easy task.

By using existing Cisco Catalyst or Meraki wireless infrastructure, you can leverage your network as a sensor, creating a building-wide monitor that determines the virtual heartbeat of y, our workforce. With Cisco DNA Spaces, organizations can transform their physical workspaces using location analytics, gaining network insights that inform smarter and safer business outcomes.

Serve a balanced hybrid work experience

Having great conversations and partnering up to do meaningful work is key to every employee’s well-being. We knew how to do that in office-only environments pretty well. And with remote-only, everyone was in the same situation figuring it out together. But the hybrid environment is a new challenge, and giving everyone the same great work experience is critical.

Your network can play a part by delivering the same secure, reliable connections for people working from meeting rooms, dining rooms, and everywhere in between. By making it easier for employees to connect securely and stay productive—no matter where they’re working—your wired and wireless network suddenly becomes one of your organization’s biggest strategic assets.

Install virtual guardrails for interaction

We’re familiar with limiting the number of people in an elevator so it doesn’t get overloaded. And with limiting people in a room to follow the fire code. Dealing with COVID-19 regulations for occupancy is similar, except that they are more likely to change frequently, and they need to be enforced diligently.

Using the data collected from your network, you can make sure that your spaces are being used safely. You can also get notified and respond to incidents when they’re not.

Get in the zone with Cisco Networking Solutions for Hybrid Work

Here at Cisco, we’re already using dozens of our own solutions to take care of Cisco employees as they return to the workplace. And we want your organization to gain the same confidence, knowing that you’re doing what it takes to navigate your workforce safely into the hybrid future.

Learn more about Cisco’s Networking Solutions for this new hybrid era and read the e-book Keep Your Hybrid Workplace Safe and Thriving with Network Innovation to discover additional networking solutions that connect and protect your people and things—with zero-trust access, wherever they are.


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Raakhee Mistry

Senior Director

EN & Cloud Marketing