If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that working from home is here to stay. According to The Economist, Americans spent only 5% of time working at home before the pandemic and by spring 2020, that figure was 60%. Companies have been faced with challenges that ultimately have proven to warrant adjustments. Employees have now become accustomed to a work-at-home lifestyle and the culture it has created.
A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company found that companies plan to reduce office space by 30% and move to more flexible workspaces, adding that 4 to 5 times more remote work will exist than before the pandemic. What other changes will companies need to make in order to keep with the era of change and adhere to the requirement of a new way of working? What technology should be implemented to problem-solve solutions for ongoing transitions and to promote employee productivity?
The good news is, with the introduction of a permanent work-at-home model, advancements and use of technology grew. Some of those solutions include:
- Video and voice calling to foster collaborative environments
- Mobile applications to enhance flexibility and productivity
- Unified communications to enable integration of the many different tech platforms workers use in the office
Even though working from home has brought advantages to both company and employee alike, there can be an increase in vulnerability to the corporate network that must be taken into account (especially for those companies that prior to the pandemic, did not have a work-at-home option in place). Here are 3 more important lessons working from home has taught us on this subject.
Lesson 1. WFH Has Increased Vulnerabilities for the Corporate Network
The majority of employees are highly productive and efficient working from home. It allows them to have more flexibility with time management, resulting in enhanced productivity. However, there are some risky behaviors that companies should be aware of in regards to employees working remotely.
According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting:
- 44% of employees feel cybersecurity restrictions and policies make them less productive
- 36% of employees delay updates to devices
- 27% of employees admit to ignoring or going around cybersecurity policies
Here’s a startling fact – as part of the HP Wolf Security Study, KuppingerCole (a cybersecurity company), found in just one 7-day period, 700 fraudulent websites that impersonated popular streaming services – services that employees often use their work devices to access. Having systems and technology in place to safeguard the company network should entail a strict protocol of checks and balances between personal and professional use.
Yet even as employees tighten up their at-home behaviors, hackers and skimmers are busier than ever. They see this as an opportunity to take advantage of any lapse in security. Information technology decision makers (ITDMs) are aware of this concern, and are investing in the tools and practices needed. HP Wolf Security Insights found that 88% of ITDMs believe risk of breach has risen because employees are using personal devices for work that weren’t built with security in mind.
Lesson 2. Cyberattacks are Rising
With an increase in vulnerability of corporate networks, cyberattacks are on the rise. Cybersecurity solutions have always been a critical part of a company’s overall success. However, now more than ever, they are crucial. The statistics are astounding and lend a hand to the direction companies will need to take to protect their intellectual property.
The study conducted by Forrester Consulting also revealed that:
- 92% of executives report a business-impacting cyberattack within the past year
- 70% were victims of three or more cyberattacks
- 67% report these cyberattacks targeted remote workers
- 74% say at least one cyberattack resulted from vulnerabilities in systems put in place in response to the pandemic
As reported by the FBI, cyber security incidents were up 400% during the pandemic. With this said, what can companies do to find solutions that encompass an all-in-one approach to employee satisfaction, corporate liability, and longevity for work-at-home models that are here to stay?
Lesson 3. Companies Struggle to Find Comprehensive Solutions for Employee Performance and Security
Companies need a solution that can consolidate the number of tools they use and make it easier for employees to communicate and collaborate on projects. While finding this might seem like a tall order, it’s actually something that Xtel offers: a complete WFH and end-to-end security strategy backed by a network that we completely own/operate, thereby providing a single point of contact. The key is consolidation and ease of management.
Some of the challenges that a program like ours assists in overcoming are:
- Gartner found that 78% of CISOs have 16 or more tools in their cybersecurity vendor portfolio; 12% have 46 or more
- Forrester found that 52% of security leaders say they have elevated exposure to risk through 3rd party vendors since pandemic onset
- Gartner found that 80% of organizations are interested in vendor consolidation strategy
For more information about working from home and work-at-home initiatives, make sure to download the e-book, Work Anywhere – Boost Employee Performance & Protection against Cyber Attacks in 1 Powerful Move presented by Xtel.