Ensuring security by mitigating new risks presented by WFH

June 5, 2020

In the face of the pandemic, many employers experienced a shock, having to introduce remote work on a massive scale. But it turns out that shock therapy can do a patient a world of good.

The current model was dominated by the on-site style of work and direct contact with a client. Attempts to change this model have often met with resistance from the management. They assumed that " the master’s eye makes the horse fat". Thus the employee in the office was to be more effective and subject to control than the one who works from home.

The practice of remote working most often came down to selected days during the month and was treated as an additional benefit for the employee. Such a limitation was caused by the lack of trust in the employee and the constant need to control them. Therefore, it was not uncommon for employees to have software installed on their laptops to check whether they were actually working and their work was subject to a special reporting process.

Far from the truth

The fact is, however, that although the average daily working time in the office is 8.8 hours, it only translates into less than 3 hours of effective involvement in duties. As research conducted by vouchercloud.com shows, the activities that most often distract employees and engage their time at work are: checking social media, reading news on the internet, discussing non-work related issues with colleagues and preparing hot drinks.

It seems that all the above activities can also be successfully practiced at home. However, a report from Willis Towers Watson shows that mass remote working has not translated into reduced employee productivity. Moreover, the survey shows that in 67% of the surveyed companies more than 3/4 of employees work remotely, while before the pandemic, remote working was used in 56% of companies where less than 10% of employees worked remotely.

Managing time

The other side of the story is the need to skillfully manage employees working remotely. This is all the more important in a situation where many of them have never worked this way before. According to Gartner's research, only 30% of the surveyed employees had worked remotely before the pandemic.

In order to be able to manage remote working effectively, both the right procedures and the right tools are needed. On the side of the procedures and methodology, greater flexibility in the way the employees are able to achieve the expected effect of the work should certainly be taken into account. At the same time, the so-called "team-spirit" should be taken care of. Employees may feel alienated during remote work and may stop understanding their tasks. Finally, it is important to remember about effective cooperation between groups and teams: remote workers are not separate islands, but team members who need to manage their time and priorities properly.

Tools of the trade

For remote work to be of use, the right tools are needed to support it, allowing you to use company resources effectively but also securely.

The first one is an efficient VPN supported by intuitive software such as software tokens. Another tool may be geolocation, which, based on GPS and IP coordinates, will allow for access to company resources at an appropriate level, taking into account the actual geolocation of an employee. This is particularly important when accessing sensitive data and using applications managing financial or banking data.

The third example of a tool supporting remote work can be the so-called document signer, which allows for secure mass signing of PDF files, which can be used both in the billing process, but also for remote signing of contracts or applying for government funding related to the pandemic.

Adapt and survive

It follows from the above that those companies that are able to react quickly to the changing business environment by introducing remote work have a better chance of surviving the period of downturn. As experience shows, putting an employee and their needs first, as well as proper reading of signals coming from the market and quick reaction to them, are the best panacea for modern threats. Such an approach should result in increased employee involvement, which in turn will help to restore stability in the company and achieve business success.

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Read the original article and additional information at Cyber Security Hub