The COVID-19 pandemic forced many Campbell businesses to adopt a remote work setup to curb the spread of the virus. But as more businesses slowly reopen to boost the economy, some companies are considering making the remote work option permanent.
Beneficial for both employees and employers
While remote work has many benefits for businesses, such as cost savings and reduced absenteeism, it also has perks for employees. Before, people had to endure long commutes. But with remote working, reporting for work is as easy as sitting in front of a computer at home. Working from home not only makes employees more productive, but it also enables them to attend to personal matters easily.
These benefits have resounded well with many workers. According to a survey by getAbstract, 43% of full-time workers in the United States now prefer to work remotely even after the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the flexibility and convenience of working from home as reasons.
Large enterprises such as Twitter and Shopify have allowed their employees to work from home forever, as they want to ensure their employees’ welfare. Some businesses are realising that reporting to the office is not necessary for their line of work, and working from home doesn’t equate to reduced productivity.
In fact, a number of companies are providing remote workers with the tools and equipment they need such as laptops, tablets, virtual private networks (VPNs), and wireless hotspots. While it may be costly for organisations to spend money on equipment for all employees, the return on investment (ROI) is expected to cover the expenses.
Remote work beyond the pandemic
Now that businesses have embraced remote work, experts predict that people will still work from home long after the pandemic is over. The coronavirus has allowed companies to experience the benefits of remote work first-hand and has made people hesitant to go out.
Thankfully, tools such as Slack, AnyDesk, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams have also made it easier for businesses to collaborate without the need to be physically present in one room.
Beyond office space costs, employers are also saving money with employees working remotely. According to Global Workplace Analytics President Kate Lister, companies can save around $11,000 per year with employees working remotely half the time.
The role of cybersecurity in remote working
Despite these benefits, businesses are facing a huge remote working issue: cybersecurity. Because employees work from home, they don’t use the company network, making their activities hard to monitor.
While you can easily block malicious websites on an office internet connection, this can prove difficult to do on your employees’ personal networks, making them vulnerable to hacking or malware.
Here are some good cybersecurity tips your business can follow:
#1. Discourage the use of public Wi-Fi networks
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are not as secure as many people think. Because anyone can connect to them, hackers can intercept traffic through man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks and spy on people’s online activities.
Suppose one of your employees accesses a confidential company file while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Cybercriminals can easily copy or modify the data, listen in on conversations, and steal the identity of employees.
#2. Deploy a mobile device management (MDM) solution
While it is convenient to use personal devices for work, some employee-owned devices lack the necessary software updates and critical security patches to keep cyberattacks at bay
You can use MDM to monitor and regulate mobile devices on your network. It can let you set access privileges to certain apps and documents, and remotely wipe devices if they’re stolen or lost. For instance, employees can only access confidential files during office hours. Once their shift is over, their access privileges are automatically revoked.
#3. Implement security tools
Security tools such as multifactor authentication (MFA), a firewall, and a VPN are nonnegotiable elements of your cybersecurity strategy to keep your data safe.
MFA adds an authentication factor on top of passwords, such as a one-time SMS code, a smartphone notification, or a fingerprint or facial scan. Cybercriminals would need access to any of these to access a user’s account, which can be difficult to do.
Meanwhile, a firewall is hardware or software that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of rules. Lastly, a VPN connects users to a private network and ensures that only authorised users can access the company network.
As more people embrace remote working, it’s up to businesses to implement strong cybersecurity rules. This will not only help employees become more productive, but it will also ensure the safety of company data.
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