Moving from Remote-Ready to Remote-Resilient

By Elizabeth Clor

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), remote work in the United States increased 115% between 2005 and 2015. Even before the current pandemic hit, global remote work was projected to increase by 30% over the next decade, according to Gartner. 

As of March 19, 2020, an estimated 88 percent of global companies required, or strongly encouraged, staff to work from home. With an overnight rise in remote work worldwide, more people than ever are logging into sensitive corporate networks and IT solutions from home. Consequently, now is the time for companies to adapt their current IT operations to prioritize fortifying dispersed digital operations, enhancing network security and introducing updated IT security best practices. 

Educating Employees

Cyberthreats to remote workers and unattended (or remotely monitored) corporate networks operating during the pandemic are here with a vengeance. In fact, a recent survey from the CNBC Technology Executive Council found that there’s been a 40% rise in phishing attacks and scams since COVID-19 hit countries around the globe. A third of survey respondents reported an overall increase in cyberthreats—with SaaS systems, in particular, struggling to respond. Consequently, IT teams need to take a leadership role in educating remote employees about risks inherent to remote work—like the perils of using unsecured wifi or what to do when receiving a potential phishing email.  

IT team members should schedule security training sessions that teach non-technical colleagues  important individual security measures, including: how to avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources; when to implement multi-factor authentication and strong password use (as much as possible); or why it’s important to exclusively use company-approved software and keep it updated on company hardware like laptops or tablets. 

Responding to Support Requests

A 2019 report from Buffer found that 40% of workers viewed flexibility as the top benefit of remote work. While required social distancing feels anything but flexible, the reality is that workers will often set their schedules outside the typical 9 to 5 when working from home. As a result, IT teams need to be flexible and responsive to IT requests or other IT-related inbounds even more frequently than before. Employees need to feel supported and business leaders need to feel confident that their underlying network security and structure is being maintained, regardless of a dispersed workforce. 

Securing Home Offices and Offices from Home

IT leaders need to institutionalize adaptable and remote work-ready standards, policies, processes and practices that keep protecting corporate assets and themselves front-of-mind. During the initial phase of remote work an emphasis was on helping employees set up shop. Now we are entering a phase of resilience, where remote work is the “new normal” and IT teams need to employ  proactive efforts to deliver support to IT systems—and the people who access them to do work.

Interested in learning more about how Contegix works with clients to improve enterprise security, power remote work and strengthen solution infrastructure? Check out our video.