The Coronavirus has been making headlines in the past several days and weeks. As the world continues to grasp the social and financial impact of the virus, companies have been forced to adapt to temporary regulations or forgo business completely. Several states have now implemented “safe at home” measures designed to minimize and curb the widespread impact of the virus.
While certain businesses, such as restaurants and gyms, have been forced to close their doors entirely, office-based organizations have adopted or enhanced remote work capabilities. Companies that traditionally have been adamantly opposed to such conditions are now increasing workplace flexibility.
The worldwide pandemic has caused a paramount shift in the remote workforce. Companies and decision-makers should now be focused on enabling sustained productivity, upholding customer satisfaction, and effectively managing risk and safety measures.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential risks associated with deploying remote workforces and directives that can increase the safety of employees and company interests.
Inherent Risks Associated with Remote Workforces
The remote workforce has grown tremendously in recent years as leaders have begun embracing new-age professional flexibilities. Although certain organizations maintain archaic workplace structures, tech-friendly companies have vastly expanded work-life balance programs such as remote work.
The Coronavirus has essentially forced the hand of businesses to quickly implement new measures for deploying remote workforces. The issue is that working outside of common office places may increase cyber vulnerabilities. Decision makers have cited certain inherent risks that may be encountered when developing remote workforce initiatives such as:
- Remote access insufficiency: although VPN servers may be used to access workplace servers, they may not be configured efficiently enough to support workloads dispersed to remote virtual locations.
- Endpoint safety: endpoint virus protection programs such as Sophos and Symantec are typically deployed through central servers which may be difficult to access outside of office environments.
- Scaling remote network capabilities: one common problem with remote work is system overload. Bandwidth is limited when numerous people are attempting to access internal systems. Employees may be forced to utilize alternative technologies such as cellular-based broadband data.
- Limited videoconferencing technologies: external software such as Zoom and Webex weren’t designed to withstand surges in demand and usage. As a result, web conferences and communication could become limited.
- BYOD policies: employees may have limited technological capabilities outside of the office place. Certain corporations or governmental agencies may advise against the usage of external devices such as monitors, keyboards, and mice. An employee with only a single screen laptop may be significantly less productive than their typical workplace without having access to additional equipment.
Leaders may be hesitant to increase remote work flexibility under these conditions. Employees must be able to create safe and effective workspaces within the comfort of their own homes.
What Our Experts Recommend to Improve Remote Workforce Environments
Remote workspaces may have certain innate limitations, however, companies must be flexible if they hope to stay competitive during current times of crisis. If you’re a leader with a remote workforce here are some considerations to take into account.
- Minimize network vulnerabilities and maximize authentication measures by using SPF and Demarc records
- Educate employees on potential vulnerabilities such as phishing scams and ransomware attacks. Utilize phishing simulations to help evaluate and improve employee response
- Maintain proper protocols that protect against financial scams; Ensure individuals are aware of cyber criminals that may pose as internal employees
- Create a strong VPN strategy that uses firewalls and other protective measures; Be sure to check firewall throughput and user capacity
- Evaluate your BYOD policy and limit the types of personal devices that can be used in conjunction with company equipment
- Explore alternative methods of deploying endpoint security measures
- Utilize mobile device solutions that enable access to corporate resources and functions
Companies should practice their due diligence in minimizing risk to the greatest extent possible.
Talk to the Experts at TBConsulting
The workforce has changed drastically over the last several days. People are working remotely at a far higher rate due to the necessary precautions enforced at the state and national levels. Workplaces are changing at a rapid pace—raising a number of potential security concerns.
Our experts at TBConsulting recommend diversifying internet access for critical employees. Try to avoid using a single ISP as shutdown may cause workplace disruption or shutdown. Maintain regular communication with employees using internal conferencing systems or external technologies such as Zoom or WebEx. Establish backup communicative strategies such as Microsoft Lync to help ensure employees always remain reachable.
As companies continue to increase remote workforce capabilities—decision makers must step up and implement protective measures to manage risk while sustaining productivity. At TBConsulting, we provide fully managed solutions that monitor digital environments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We develop strategies to determine risk, safeguard data, and increase protective security. If you would like more information about how TBConsulting can help in this uncertain time, please contact us for a free 30 minute consultation.