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The Risk of Doing Business: When WFH is Not Going Anywhere

Clock5 min. read
byVexxit Staff onSeptember 14, 2020

How companies are adapting to a fully work-from-home workforce.

Shopify has closed its offices until 2021. Facebook expects half of its employees will work from home for the next five to 10 years. Twitter has told its employees they can work from home forever if they wish. 

Forever… is a really long time. According to the Iometrics/Global Workplace Analytics’ Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, only around 16% of office workers are interested in ditching their workplace forever. Yet 76% say they want the flexibility to continue to work from home, at least weekly, once the pandemic is over.

“The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going back in,” says Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. A permanent shift toward remote work is leading to “profound changes in office space needs, workplace design, workforce policies and practices, and employer, employee, and environmental outcomes.”

It is often said that people are the weakest link when it comes to company security. Weak passwords, non-encrypted wi-fi, and sharing devices with friends and family all contribute to risk of malware, ransomware and email phishing.

While it’s the attacks on big multi-national companies that make the news, a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that 58% of cyber attack victims in 2018 were actually small businesses. “And with ransomware featuring as the most prevalent cyber related security risk to small businesses today, protecting your business from ransomware and other types of malware is vital,” writes Alniz Popat, CEO of Lifecare, on Entrepreneur.com.

The challenge is how to protect your company’s data and safety, particularly when employees are expected to use their personal devices to help bridge the gap with a company’s fledgling remote work capabilities. 

According to Mr. Popat, the first step is to secure your hardware. Create a policy for how to lock up or protect company-issued hardware for workers at home and install ‘find my device’ software on all laptops, phones and tablets.

Next, consider how you protect data. “If your company has an online presence, stores customer and company data on digital devices, and uses cloud-based software, a thorough cyber security strategy is essential,” says Mr. Popat.

Keeping your files backed up and installing security software is just the beginning. Companies such as Okta help with sign-in security, while Datadog and Crowdstrike monitor for threats and protect against security breaches.

 Finally, cyber security specialists can evaluate your company’s weaknesses and potential threats, helping you to create a strategy that focuses on both prevention and detection. They can also help with the training and education necessary for your team to manage technology safely and establish protocols for what to do when something seems fishy, or phishy even.

As an employer, it can all be overwhelming. Yet research from Global Workplace Analytics proves that businesses allowing employees to work from home tend to experience higher productivity and lower costs over the long term. The addition of a cybersecurity strategy means you can add more restful nights to those advantages.

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