Employees To Get Permanent Work From Home Through Summer 2021

KEY POINTS

  • 90% employees don’t want to a rigid office schedule: Dropbox’s internal survey
  • Employees can make their own schedules in the new ‘virtual first’ policy
  • Dropbox will set up collaboration spaces called ‘Dropbox Studios’ 

Cloud services company Dropbox is allowing its employees to work from home permanently, as part of its new ‘virtual first’ approach, it announced Tuesday in a blog post.

All employees of Dropbox have been working from home since March when the pandemic triggered lockdowns. This mandatory work-from-home policy has now been extended until June 2021. The change comes after an internal survey by the company suggested that nearly 90% of employees feel productive at home and don’t want to return to a rigid five-day in-office workweek.

Dropbox is the latest to join technology companies including Microsoft, Twitter, Slack, and Facebook to announce permanent work-from-home policies.

“Remote work will be the primary experience for all employees and the day-to-day default for individual work,” Dropbox said in the blog post.

With the coronavirus pandemic upsetting the conventional work culture around the world, Dropbox is using the opportunity to introduce changes to its internal working.

In the blog post, the company said it would be changing its current offices into flexible co-working spaces — Dropbox Studios — designed especially for collaboration rather than solo work. The utilization of the co-working spaces in San Francisco, Seattle and Austin, and Dublin in Ireland, will depend on the teams’ needs. More co-working spaces could be set up if they turn out to be successful.

The company is also introducing ‘non-linear workdays,’ allowing employees to make their own schedules between time zones beyond Dropbox’s core collaboration hours. Dropbox will also facilitate employees’ relocation to other cities where it has offices.

“As our workforce grows more distributed, this will help balance collaboration with

Cyber Warriors Sound Warning On Working From Home

Cyber warriors on NATO’s eastern edge are warning that the growing number of people working from home globally due to the pandemic is increasing vulnerability to cyber attacks.

The Baltic state of Estonia hosts two cyber facilities for the Western military alliance — set up following a series of cyber attacks from neighbour Russia more than a decade ago.

“Large scale use of remote work has attracted spies, thieves and thugs,” Jaak Tarien, head of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), told AFP in an interview.

The increased amount of information travelling between institutional servers and home networks is creating new challenges for employers.

'Large scale use of remote work has attracted spies, thieves and thugs,' says Jaak Tarien, head of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence ‘Large scale use of remote work has attracted spies, thieves and thugs,’ says Jaak Tarien, head of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence Photo: AFP / Raigo Pajula

“Tackling these new challenges is complicated and requires a lot of resources as well as a different kind of approach,” Tarien said.

“We are likely only scratching the surface in assessing the magnitude of malicious activities taking place in the Covid-era busy cyberspace.”

An EU-wide survey in September found that around a third of employees were working from home.

The NATO Cyber Range CR14 centre was set up after a series of cyber attacks on Estonian websites in 2007 The NATO Cyber Range CR14 centre was set up after a series of cyber attacks on Estonian websites in 2007 Photo: AFP / Raigo Pajula

The concerns are echoed at NATO’s Cyber Range — a heavily-guarded facility protected by barbed wire in the centre of the capital Tallinn run by Estonian defence forces.

The server rooms inside serve as a platform for NATO cyber security exercises and training.

“Specialists have set up the work infrastructure, but they cannot control the way people use their home internet or how secure it is,” said Mihkel Tikk, head of the Estonian defence ministry’s cyber policy department.

Tikk said the

Working from home requires software-defined wide-area networks at home

Managed service provider Masergy Communications Inc. today announced two new offerings in its software-defined wide-area network portfolio that make it easier for people to work remotely.

The new services fall under the umbrella brand of “SD-WAN Work From Anywhere solutions” and extend Masergy’s current managed service to the millions of people now working out of the office. This enables businesses to give workers the same level of network and security services as they would have in the office.

Here’s the rundown on the solutions:

  • SD-WAN Secure Home includes a lightweight SD-WAN device from Fortinet. This acts as the gateway between the home network and the corporate one and provides application optimization and security capabilities. The use of an appliance simplifies deployment since the information technology department or Masergy can pre-provision it, ship it to the home worker and have the worker up and running almost instantly. The Fortinet appliance also provides access to the Masergy cloud for secure access service edge or SASE services such as network-based security services. This is available now and the price starts at $250 a month and then there are add-ons for security and unified communications bundles. But the price can also go down based on volume discounts.
  • SD-WAN On the Go is a software client that can be installed on mobile devices and laptops. The client includes a virtual private network and uses IPsec protocols to create a secure tunnel back to the company network. There is also integrated endpoint protection for threat protection. The On the Go product will be available, and although Masergy has not yet finalized pricing, it will be less than the Secure Home.

Both products are designed with zero-touch provisioning for fast setup. This is a key feature because asking users to download software, configure it and tune it

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How the architecture of new home security vision systems affects choice of memory technology

A camera or a computer: How the architecture of new home security vision systems affects choice of memory technology

A long-forecast surge in the number of products based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies is beginning to reach mainstream consumer markets.

It is true that research and development teams have found that, in some applications such as autonomous driving, the innate skill and judgement of a human is difficult, or perhaps even impossible, for a machine to learn. But while in some areas the hype around AI has run ahead of the reality, with less fanfare a number of real products based on ML capabilities are beginning to gain widespread interest from consumers. For instance, intelligent vision-based security and home monitoring systems have great potential: analyst firm Strategy Analytics forecasts growth in the home security camera market of more than 50% in the years between 2019 and 2023, from a market value of US$8 billion to US$13 billion.

The development of intelligent cameras is possible because one of the functions best suited to ML technology is image and scene recognition. Intelligence in home vision systems can be used to:
– Detect when an elderly or vulnerable person has fallen to the ground and is potentially injured
– Monitor that the breathing of a sleeping baby is normal
– Recognise the face of the resident of a home (in the case of a smart doorbell) or a pet (for instance in a smart cat flap), and automatically allow them to enter
– Detect suspicious or unrecognised activity outside the home and trigger an intruder alarm

These new intelligent vision systems for the home, based on advanced image signal processors (ISPs), are in effect function-specific computers. The latest products in this category have adopted computer-like architectures which depend for