Remote Work and Cyber Criminals Are Here to Stay

By December 9, 2021Remote workforce

While virtually no one predicted a multi-year pandemic that would lead to a permanent hybrid workforce, those companies who were already offering flexible arrangements found it easier to adjust when the pandemic started forcing offices to close. Flexible work, remote work, and work-from-home options are here to stay. According to Gartner, 41% of employees plan to continue working from home at least part of the time, and that number is likely to grow. For your business to remain competitive, your IT security will need to keep pace with the shifting work environment and cyber-criminal activity. Hackers are finding more sophisticated ways to attack vulnerable businesses and steal their data, and your business IT security must become priority, even for those employees who choose to work from home.

We’ve been talking about the benefits of offering a flexible work environment to your employees for more than a decade. More businesses are being compelled to offer flexible work options to attract top talent, but to do so, they must ensure that their organizations have policies and protections in place that make it safe to do so.

How to Secure Your Organization for Remote Work

Offering remote work options as an employment incentive in your business can be relatively simple if the right tools and security protocols are in place. To achieve this, in addition to secure, local cloud hosting, you’ll need to ensure that you employ the following security:

  • VPN. Require your people to use a VPN when offsite. A VPN provides your organization with a secure network through which your employees can access your office applications over the public internet.
  • MFA. MFA requires an employee to not only login with a username or password but to also supply secondary proof for access, whether it’s a code texted to their phone, an authorization app, or a fingerprint (or a combination of those factors).
  • Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams, the secure answer to Zoom, features a variety of privacy and security controls to protect you, while providing the means with which you and your employees can collaborate with each other and with clients.

Hiring Is Easier – and More Difficult – with Remote Work

Back in the 90s, when hiring managers wanted to recruit someone with a specific skill set, companies would have to place ads using archaic forms of print communication called newspaper classifieds. Newspapers were only capable of reaching a specific audience: local readers who were actively seeking employment, which severely limiting a company’s options. But it also limited the employee’s choices, too. Today, with the proliferation of online job search engines, it’s easier to post and respond to a classified ad. Ironically, however, it’s harder to find people. Companies can draw from a larger labor pool, but the person you might want to hire can find a job just about anywhere in the world with a company that’s more than happy to interview them online and let them work wherever they happen to live.

New Job Seekers Are Willing to Hold Out for the Right Job

The pandemic accelerated a trend that was already materializing, in which companies were being forced to offer better benefits and more flexible arrangements. Job seekers no longer use classified ads; in fact, they rarely use job sites anymore. Job seekers are more likely to rely on their network for feedback about a company in which they are interested, obtaining details online about what it’s like to work for that company. Today’s job seekers are comfortable conducting business over the internet. They don’t need a tour of the corporate office to know whether you’re a good employer.

For businesses, particularly in the tech industry, the biggest advantage of the changing nature of work is that instead of having to draw from the local labor pool, you can now draw from anywhere in the country they can find the talent – without having to pay relocation costs. It can be far easier to find skilled employees who meet your criteria.

Benefits of Offering Remote Work Flexibility

There are a number of benefits to your organization if you are able to offer flexible working arrangements. Not only are you able to hire the best person for your team no matter where they live, but job satisfaction among all workers is enhanced when they know they have more flexibility to meet their needs outside of work, whether it’s caring for a sick parent or working from home when a child’s school has shifted to online learning.

But it’s more than just attracting the right talent – offering flexible work arrangements will help you keep the employee who might otherwise be lured away from your organization by a competitor prepared to offer more flexibility. You now have the ability to change the nature of your workforce, reduce overhead costs, and improve efficiency. Not only do you have more options for hiring, but your employees don’t have to give up their lives and homes to work for you. Remote work environments give you the advantage of having happier, more productive employees who are more likely to remain loyal and be more motivated to take the necessary measures to be vigilant about cybersecurity. This flexibility can also free you to hire contractors on an as-needed basis and avoid the costs of paying additional salaries and benefits when an increase in work volume occurs.

Your People Are Your Bottom Line

We talk all the time about how your employees can be your biggest risk or your strongest line of defense. If you’re always having to train new people, your cybersecurity risk will increase. On the other hand, if you have a veteran workforce that has been part of your zero-trust, security-first culture for years, the more you can do to keep those people the better – and flexible work arrangements is topping the list of desired benefits.

Whether your employees work from home or are out meeting with clients and away from the office, working remotely adds efficiency and immediacy to your ability to service your clients. Your employees simply need a secure internet connection to be able to collaborate on projects, access needed information, and complete work. In the long-term, it’s possible that the typical corporate office will disappear and be replaced by virtual companies with employees who connect from all over the world.

Will you be ready?

thinkCSC Is Here to Help

thinkCSC is ready to help ensure the continuity of your business. While we may have entered uncharted territory with regard to the pandemic, thinkCSC continues to be at your service. Please get in touch if you need support for your remote workforce.

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