How organizations can safely enable remote working

Octavio Hernandez

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced organizations to re-think their approach towards mobile and remote working overnight. Some organizations might’ve used remote working as a perk to provide a better work-life balance for their employees in the past. However, the recent re-classification of the virus to a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) has forced many organizations to implement their business continuity plan in full force. We are one such organization and now everyone at Asavie is working remotely since last Friday (Friday the 13th in fact!).

We have looked at the two biggest elements of remote working, namely people and technology, with a view to providing insights that will make the transition run in an efficient and safe manner for all employees, while still ensuring productivity remains high.

People need time to adapt

Your company may be used to working remotely, but this will be a discrete event rather than the norm. Under normal circumstances, the employee enjoys a quiet atmosphere where they can concentrate and be productive away from office distractions. This is not the situation right now. The reality is that there will be children in the house (most schools are shut or shutting down at the time of writing) and potentially another adult trying to work at the same time. Both employers and employees will need time and patience to adapt to the new circumstances and figure out what works best without rushing and adding pressure to an already difficult situation. There is the added anxiety of COVID-19 which adds to this need for patience.

The working day will intertwine with domestic life

When offices and schools are open, we have an ecosystem around us that takes care of the basics. We can go out and buy coffee, lunch and we don’t have to wait. Kids go to school where they’re kept busy and safe for most of the day. The dynamic changes when people are confined to their homes. In this micro-ecosystem people will have to find the time to cook, do the washing, feed the kids and keep them busy. This will happen at different times during the traditional working hours which means, work will spread out throughout the day with periods of inactivity when, well, life happens. It is important that workers and businesses understand this new dynamic and establish a routine that flows around it without it becoming the much feared “available 24/7”.

Technology is an enabler, but it has to be safe

Safety in the times of the Coronavirus mainly refers to individuals and businesses embracing safe behaviours like social distancing and limiting the need for face-to-face meetings. The broad availability of laptops, smartphones, Wi-Fi and internet on tap has facilitated the adoption of mobile working. Unfortunately, this hasn’t gone unnoticed to hackers and scammers who have identified an opportunity to strike at individuals and organisations that haven’t implemented safe online behaviours. For this reason, it is important for businesses to review and remind employees about their online usage policies. If they haven’t done so already, they should implement and deploy online security policies to all their mobile devices.

Data security is paramount

With more employees accessing confidential data from their mobile devices, it is imperative for companies to ensure the security of data both on the device and in transit to and from their private or public cloud applications. We recommend limiting access to business content and applications through corporate-issued devices only.  You should also keep the software up to date with the latest versions of OS and firmware. This will minimise the opportunity window for hackers looking to exploit security gaps in the organisation.

These are taxing times for employers and employees alike. However, remote working offers a viable option for enterprises to counteract the negative impacts of the pandemic. Asavie SD Mobile can support the organisation by providing a secure way to access business information from mobile devices. SD Mobile provides security against opportunistic malware and hackers. At the same time, it supports the implementation of corporate policies for internet usage and data access. CIOs will have the full visibility of all the usage of these devices and ensure productivity doesn’t fall. SD Mobile offers these controls in domestic and roaming scenarios. I guess roaming is not going to be a business challenge for now so we’ll leave it for another blog.

Learn how Asavie can help your organization enable a secure remote working strategy.