Ensuring Safety and Security When Working Remotely

The international Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a number of industries and employers being compelled to allow employees work remotely from home. The fundamental challenges when working remotely encompasses emotional, procedural and habitual trials. Uncertainty and tension in terms of working remotely is such an international concern that several academics have opted to refer to it as the “new normal”. 


This blog article will examine both physical and security practices that need to be adhered to by both employers and employees in order to remain motivated and stay secure. At the same time, both are pioneers in embarking on a journey in traversing an entire new world within an ever-complex and evolving digital and cyber security environment. It is further a given that a number of business enterprises will emerge from the pandemic profitable and stronger than ever, whereas an equal number of (or more) businesses may not surface to fight another day at all.   


From the onset, it is imperative for employers and individuals in leadership positions to be aware of the fact that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is by no means in sight. It is therefore critical for employers to examine means and ends to inform, educate and empower employees that are already anxious and uncertain about their personal well-being and professional security. This will ensure encompassing profitability, productivity, empathy and departmental sustainability for both employers and employees.  


Did You Know?


Findings have illustrated that 86% of employees want to go back to working in an office. Among the key concerns cited by employees were the lack of social interaction, ease of communication and a general sentiment that working from home created a sense of lethargy and inactivity. These concerns make it imperative for employers to ensure that physical, mental and cyber security processes are place throughout the respective organisation, enterprise or department. 


It is imperative to empower employees through continuous and detailed communication and to provide them with applicable tools to do so. This will jointly ensure employees feel they are valued and strategic engagement will ensure employees feel supported. Relevant and updated hardware, like mobile phones and laptops, airtight system passwords and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) software will ensure a seamless connection between each other and management similar to a real office.  


At the same time, means of effective communication will ensure sustainable collaboration between employees and with the employer. Organisations need to look to technology to enable teams carry out asynchronous work. For example, collaboration tools that allow teams to work on projects together without being present at the same time can empower individuals to manage their own schedules. To stay productive, inspired and efficient, organisations should look at implementing technology that allows individuals to find the required files, research, contacts and diaries with the click of a button.  


Cyber Criminals


Cyber criminals are aware of the propagating desire by employees for social interaction and a means to relieve constant lethargy and boredom. They are using the pandemic as an opportunity to develop contemporary vectors of attack, new exposure surfaces to exploit and new ways to steal the personal data of employees or the trade secrets of companies. Cyber criminals are further also aware that employees will be connecting to their companies’ servers for means of online communication, interaction, connection, sharing of files and browsing. 


At the same time, cyber criminals are also aware that many employees will be doing their work on computers normally used for personal affairs and that other workers will rely more on their mobile devices in the absence of an official personal computer or laptop. This will inevitably result in employees who are working from home may be more apt to blend their business and personal lives with one another blurring the ever-important line between business and recreational activity. 


How to Manage Cyber Security Processes


Among the key precautions that both employers and employees can take to manage cyber security processes include the following: 

  • The proliferation of video conferencing software, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, ensure that employees are able to use secure services where the risk of unsolicited accessing data is reduced. 
  • Always download software updates for all connected business devices including tablets, cellular phones, laptop and personal computers as soon as it is made available. Updates often contain patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities. 
  • Ensure that all business electronic devices are equipped with authentic and updated spyware and malware protection, including computers, tablets and cellular phones. 
  • Never use any other devices to access business profiles, internet banking or websites where business or personal credit card details are required. 
  • Prohibit the sharing of work electronic devices. This will reduce the risk of access to protected company information. 
  • Ensure that all company devices are password protected. If these are stolen or lost, it offers a level of protection against unauthorised parties gaining access to the stored information. 
  • As remote working becomes necessary, employees will likely be tempted to connect to free WiFi networks nearby. Public WiFi networks remain largely unsecure and by connecting to these platforms will lead to significant security risks. 
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) assist in encrypting internet traffic, this is more often implemented when a user is connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Ensure employees proactively, continuously and exclusively use a VPN when working and when accessing company information systems remotely.