Hybrid Work Model — Is Your Biotech Organization Ready?

Many biotech organizations have cobbled together their IT department over the last two years, trying a patchwork of solutions to manage the many changes the pandemic has brought to the work environment.

Unlike other industries where all employees were able to work from home, in biotech much of the action happens in the lab. As a result, many employees need to be in the office every day, while others may have the ability to work from home on some days and come into the office on other days. Not to mention, there is a lot of collaboration happening with colleagues in clinical research organizations, who themselves may be working from remote locations.

It doesn’t look like this setup will end anytime soon, so it’s safe to assume the new normal is here to stay. However, this doesn’t mean you can leave your IT systems as is. In order to thrive in this new reality, it’s important to have a clear IT strategy in place that can support your business goals — instead of putting your organization at risk.

Security considerations

On any given day, your organization has the brightest minds working on life-changing research. They create hundreds upon thousands of pages of research, which the entire organization is dependent on. If your research is stolen or compromised, what happens to the future of the company? Ransomware, phishing, and other security breaches are a reality.

While you may think your organization is not a target for security breaches, think again. Cybercriminals are not only going after the Pfizers of the world, but any organization which is easy to infiltrate. This is why security is such an important element to focus on for your IT department, as they manage remote and in-office employees sharing valuable data back and forth.

In addition, IT teams need to keep compliance requirements for the industry in mind, ensuring security systems not only follow best practices, but also industry regulations. Password management and multi-factor authentication play a major role in keeping your research secure — no matter where your employees are.

Operational and logistical considerations

Your employees need to communicate with each other — and external stakeholders — while sharing large amounts of data back and forth, which makes locking down your data a challenge. Are you protected? Telecommunications is an IT priority in the new normal as collaboration and security must work hand in hand. Data needs to be easy to share, but not easy to steal.

Ensure your IT team has the knowledge to design and implement IT systems that are flexible and agile and can meet the different needs of your remote and in-office employees as well as their external stakeholders. Logistical considerations are moving targets. It’s not possible to “set and forget” IT, as needs may change on a weekly or daily basis.

Cultural considerations

If your biotech organization doesn’t have a culture of IT education and support, you may be facing major challenges down the road (or even right now!). In the new normal where everything is flexible, it’s important to have an IT strategy you can turn to in order to guide your employees. Aspects such as training, work hours, work-life balance, and more all overlap with IT. A strategy helps to ensure that IT can support those areas to meet business goals.

If it’s normal for an employee to work late nights in the lab, you also need IT support during this time should something go wrong. Similarly, if an employee can log in for a meeting from their camping trip, they may require IT’s help. A dedicated IT team with a solid strategy means that employees feel supported anytime, anywhere.

No matter what your new normal is, be ready.

Working in the lab, working at home, working with external stakeholders — it shouldn’t matter when you have the right IT strategy and team in place. Your IT systems should be able to handle any situation while ensuring your data is always secure.

Download the biotech IT Self Assessment to evaluate whether your IT department is ready for anything — or if it still has some catching up to do.