The spread of COVID-19, also commonly referred to as the coronavirus, has had an unprecedented impact on the mobile workforce and employers globally. Due to the infectious nature of the disease, governments everywhere have initiated lockdowns and safety measures to prevent the spread. Such as the concept of social distancing introduced in early March, which instructed people to keep a distance of 6 feet from one another. As you can imagine, the idea of social distancing does not bode well for many businesses. Especially small to medium-sized businesses that have limited workspace to house all of their employees.
As the economic landscape changes businesses realize the harsh reality that they might not be around the following quarter. Businesses can either adapt by going remote or run the risk of going out of business. This rapidly changing work environment creates a series of challenges for businesses. As employees begin to work from home, new standards of productivity have to be implemented. Business plans will also need to adjust to fit the new environment during this pandemic. As companies begin to develop and implement these new remote methods they are quick to see challenges arise while trying to secure their mobile workforce.
As a business owner, during this quarantine, one of your main concerns will probably include maintaining the security of your mobile workforce.
Remember that your mobile workforce will lose its momentum if its security measures are not up to par. Workforce mobility refers to the processes or relocation services involved in the transfer of employees from one location to another. You must also look into making sure that your employees can easily practice security measures at home without any problems.
So, how do you secure your mobile workforce during the pandemic? Read on to find out.
What You Should Do
When researching security measures to implement as the majority of your employees begin to transition working from home, you must come up with a strategy that will work out in the short-term and also benefit you in the long run once the pandemic ends, and you can go back to work. So, how do you do it? We have prepared a list of actions that you need to take to establish managed security practices. These should not affect your workforce mobility and will also let you make the most of this quarantine.
1. First of all, Understand Your Technology
As your employees shift into the mobile workforce environment, it is very important for you to look into the technology that you haven’t previously had in place to run your business and secure your systems. It is completely impossible for you to come up with reasonable security measures without understanding your software first. It is a good idea to review your system’s defense capabilities in order to prevent potential attacks.
This may seem tedious but on the positive side, by looking into and understanding the technology, you will not only be able to come up with a plan which will allow you to manage security remotely; but will also highlight any security risks that your system was previously prone to. In the past, it was much easier to overlook these problems because your network was present inside your company only. It was easy to feel secure because you were protected by a firewall and a secure connection. However, now that you have to share your files and system with employees, you are more vulnerable and exposed to new threats.
As a business owner, it is your job to comprehend such issues by understanding the technology used to operate your company’s systems. You should also look into system requirements and bandwidth needs before making any implementations as this will probably result in the overloading of your system.
Bastet Partners‘ recommendation to you would be to make sure that you understand how everything works before installing security software to protect your system. You may also turn to a managed service provider to help you understand what you need. They can also guide you on what decisions to make when it comes to securing your mobile workforce.
2. Make Extensive Plans for Remote Access
Once you understand the technology and systems which you use to operate your business, it is time for action. A major security concern to employers during the pandemic is to ensure secure remote data access. Poor security measures can result in the wrong parties gaining access to your system. This is especially true if employees work off their own home network. Even if they practice safe security measures, its still possible they could be sharing their network with a hacker.
You also do not know your employees’ browsing patterns. What if they accidentally install spyware or malware on their computer? You need to look at all of these factors when preparing a detailed strategy that will cater to all of these threats and more which you can experience because of this new work environment.
Consider having a meeting and review cloud data access so employees can all work uninterrupted from home. Just keep in mind that if you grant access to everyone then that opens an entire array of security risks. We have mentioned some of these previously as well. It is imperative you begin addressing these potentially problematic issues. If not you will unintentionally grant everyone access to your data in a non-secure way. This may not seem like a big deal now but once things return to normal, this could be a problem.
3. Short-Term Solutions
Sometimes its easier to just come up with a quick, short-term solution and go with it because every business thinks it is facing the same issues but that is not the case. Think of this quarantine as a test for you as a business owner. You could have simply kept your business closed and waited for the quarantine to be over before resuming. But you did not do that. Instead, you opted to let your employees work from home and now you have to go with it. Therefore, you must give the best of your abilities in this situation and ensure that your business runs as smoothly as it did before your new work environment.
To ensure that, you must make sure that your systems also have the same level of security as they did before the pandemic.
Thus, we recommend that you avoid moving everything to the cloud and come up with a decisive plan on how much data access you want to give to each employee. Instead of giving full cloud data access to everyone you might consider giving a clearance’ level for each employee. Grant them access to certain information based on their current and previous projects.
This is more difficult than it seems. However, if you’re a medium-sized business owner, you can hold a meeting with your managers and decide on this. As a small business owner, it might be a good idea to weigh in on your current capabilities. Enable access accordingly in a way that is secure.
4. Use Secure Systems
Once you have planned on data access management, you can look towards using secure cloud-based systems that you can use during the pandemic. Most larger companies have larger cloud data systems that do, in fact, include a cloud-based data system as a backup. However, we’re primarily looking at small to medium-sized business owners in this article. It is safe to assume that most of our readers do not have cloud-based systems that can be used as a fully functional data system.
So, how can you allow your employees to access the cloud via secure means?
This is where we come in. Bastet Partners specializes in managed IT, cybersecurity, and workforce mobility options to help ease the transition. Our technologies can help you operate your business at full capacity during this quarantine period without making any security blunders. You can use hybrid systems that make partial use of cloud-based connections and VPN services to access cloud data. This way your mobile workforce has the ability to work from their own computers and store information securely on the cloud so that one single medium is not used.
Another form of protection would be to completely avoid using browsers or any software which can be remotely controlled. If such software is in use at your workplace then it is a good idea to make sure it is thoroughly protected. You may need to go to your office or send someone over to monitor such software but make sure to take precautions. If your software was designed by a specific company, you could even contact them for help. They will assist in setting restrictive measures that will allow only limited access to remote-controlled software.
5. Issue Corporate Devices
As a business owner, you must always think about mitigating risk. One of the best ways to do that is to issue devices to your employees. This move-in itself mitigates the majority of the problems which have arisen because of the new remote work environment. You can bulk buy or rent laptops or tablets or any other device which your employees need to perform tasks. You can also install security software as well to manage and secure these devices to run smoothly.
Businesses prefer employees have company-issued devices due to additional features and accessibility it provides them. Employers are able to view the performance of their employees and track the progress of projects. All while preventing them from accidentally opening emails with malware in them. Since you will be handing out company-owned devices to your employees, you can even get appropriate firewalls and antivirus software installed which will not infect your system.
Furthermore, you can also secure company devices by installing identity authentication methods such as multi-factor authentication. This method can help employees add an additional layer of security on specific devices.
Other options can be face or fingerprint recognition to ensure that only the intended party is using the device. You should definitely look into software that offers double encryption of cloud data as WhatsApp does to ensure security. This is actually one of the cloud solutions which has gained popularity since the pandemic forced remote work. As the owner of the connection, you will also be able to see what your employees are up to, making it easier to discover the origin of any security risk.
6. Communication Is Key
Lastly, you must ensure that you are on top of things by communicating with your employees. Communication is arguably the most crucial part of the office environment which we took for granted up until this pandemic. As business owners, it is imperative that you keep in constant contact with your mobile workforce. It is imperative that any potential security threats are spotted as soon as possible before they compromise your entire system.
Problems will definitely occur as your mobile workforce makes the transition to the remote landscape. So you must be in continuous communication with your employees to be able to respond to them promptly. You have to harness a virtual environment where your employees can freely communicate with you. Report any risks or challenges which they are facing so that you can immediately work on solving them. By doing so, you will not just avoid any problems but will also be keeping your business secure.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way businesses and daily life operate. Owners begin to realize that they must implement changes in order to stay alive. As our businesses move online, we too have to learn to adapt. This new form of working must, therefore, take the appropriate security measures to ensure the continued success of your businesses.
As a business owner, you need to look into the latest mobile and security options to ensure your business’s survival. Once operational, your employees can at the very least work normally even if they are not really in the office. It is your responsibility to encourage a mobile workforce and provide them security. Lastly, you should manage the security system of your company such that when new developments come out in the field of cloud-based or hybrid data systems, your company can keep with the times as well.