Technology lies at the heart of the future of all work. We’ve all heard about how the shifting operations from a corporate office to a home network presented a complex set of challenges, even for those employees who have relied on VPNs for enhanced privacy and security.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size does not fit alle. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals are looking for flexibility and organizations are balancing the needs of the employees with setting the right culture to foster teamwork and collaboration.. The flexibility to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Ashvin Kamaraju.
Ashvin Kamaraju is the Global Vice President of Engineering and Cloud Operations for Thales DIS Cloud Protection & Licensing (CPL), a division of the French multinational company that provides services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets. Kamaraju drives the technology strategy and product delivery for Thales CPL, overseeing a global organization of researchers and technologists to conceptualize and develop the company’s portfolio of data protection products and services. With three decades of experience in engineering and cybersecurity, Kamaraju previously served in leadership roles at Vormetric and Symantec.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.
I have a familiar immigrant story: I came to the U.S.A for graduate school with just a suitcase and a few dollars and had to work very hard to be self-reliant and survive! When I graduated with a masters in Chemical Engineering the country was in a recession and there were no jobs in my field of engineering especially for a new grad. So, it was back to school again to keep learning and the second time around I ended up in the math department learning advanced math and computer science! This was a tough pivot but once again hard work, curiosity and perseverance paid off. I landed in a startup, enjoyed programming and my curiosity helped me keep learning. What shaped me is my hard work, tenacity and an appetite to keep learning.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?
Technology lies at the heart of the future of all work. We’ve all heard about how the shifting operations from a corporate office to a home network presented a complex set of challenges, even for those employees who have relied on VPNs for enhanced privacy and security. Over time, we have witnessed more and more consumers purchase smart assistants and IoT-enabled devices, opening new points of entry to their home networks which can then be used to infiltrate corporate networks and devices. And now, beyond the home, the Industrial IoT presents a new set of infrastructure targets that must be factored into corporate security practices.
As corporations undoubtedly wrestle with how to adopt new hybrid working models differently than they have had to over the past 16+ months, their security teams will need to continuously reassess and redesign their security and privacy measures accordingly.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
The adrenaline rush of the pandemic will give way to a yearning for calm and stability — but companies can’t afford to sit back on cybersecurity. There is no such thing as business as usual for cybercriminals. Many organisations left themselves vulnerable because they failed to grasp the serious cyber implications of the pandemic, including remote working — but it’s not too late to make headway.
Businesses need to start by taking control over where their most sensitive data is being held, who has access to it and what protections are already in place. Once this has been established, security and access management controls, such as two-factor authentication, encryption and key management, can be implemented to protect data at its core, while restricting access to only those who are authorised. Unless businesses act now, cyber threats will not dissipate with the pandemic.
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
An efficient workplace is all about maintaining a good balance, and remote working fits in this picture as long as efficiency and results are not compromised. Thales adapted quickly to remote working, and the Group has also introduced a global “Smart Working” initiative where each business unit has the ability to adopt a hybrid work model, based around decentralising decisions and empowering managers to decide how best to organise their teams.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
The future of work, from a security standpoint, will need to adopt a “Zero trust” approach in order to keep meeting employees where they’re at. Along with having employees work from home, more companies are in the cloud, leaving many exposed to new threats that go beyond their security strategies. “Zero trust” is not a specific technology; rather, it’s a strategy with strict and continuous identity verification and control of data in the cloud to minimize trust zones.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
The pandemic has altered our perspectives on technology, work, life, and society. While an uphill battle, the fact that security doesn’t need to happen in the physical office has shifted the future of work. This push for hybrid work environments has provided such flexibility for employees and also let’s Thales tap top-talent anywhere in the world as we build our teams for tomorrow.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
The “great resignation” will be a double whammy for companies which lost valued staff members in 2021, and I predict a direct correlation between staff turnover and cyber incidents. This is because newer staff members are less familiar with security protocols, and there is also the issue of fatigued or disgruntled workers who are filling in for co-workers.
In 2022, the cost to replace an employee needs to go beyond recruitment and training costs; it must consider the potential cost to the business in cyber incidents. And after the rush to fill seats, organisations need to double down on training and onboarding. All technology and processes are useless without empowering your people and having the right culture. Skilling and reskilling your employees is crucial, since they are the strongest asset in your cybersecurity chain.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
As Troels said, we are here “not to promote fear, but to protect hope.” Businesses should keep up with strong cybersecurity hygiene, enforce security and privacy processes and invest in their people to become more secure and safe against cyber threats.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
That would be Elon Musk. I like to pick his brain on what he is thinking about solving some of the most difficult world problems: water, traffic, finding another planet that can sustain life and how should human civilization prepare for singularity!
Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.