No one can deny the fact that COVID-19 is proving to be the greatest challenge faced by humankind in recent decades. In addition to the human suffering caused by the disease, it is also causing serious economic damage, the real consequences of which are difficult to predict. Moreover, there is still no clear solution to the situation.
The pandemic is also forcing companies to change the way they work. From one day to the next, they have had to implement remote working, with those which have done it effectively setting themselves apart from their competitors. Companies which already had systems in place to allow staff to work from home have clearly adapted much better to this change.
Despite the fact that no one knows for certain what the return to normality will look like, it is clear that there is going to be a new ‘normal’. The measures which will most likely be adopted, either in the form of laws or guidelines, will undoubtedly mean our offices will not be the same places as before. Limited capacity and rules for distances between desks mean offices will no longer have enough space for all the staff who worked there before the pandemic began. As a result, remote working will continue to be widely used.
There are many aspects to bear in mind when implementing remote working, one of the most important of these being cybersecurity. Remote working does away with the walls of the office, with staff being able to work from any location, meaning IT teams have to be more vigilant than ever regarding security. While it is true that the majority of companies were already using remote working to a greater or lesser extent, the big challenge involved in implementing it on a mass scale for all staff is that some are more used to it and more aware of matters of cybersecurity than others. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Successfully implementing remote working also means taking into account the ‘hybrid’ way in which most companies work, combining on-premise applications, whether developed in house or by third parties, and others which use public cloud-based systems (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS).
All this is going to mean companies will have to introduce a whole host of measures, including running employee awareness initiatives, introducing information security management systems which comply with applicable standards (National Security Framework or ISO 27001), reinforcing physical infrastructure, following security policies in place when doing the above, introducing security monitoring and assessment tools, standardising computers used by staff, homogenising the hybrid world, etc.
If up until now this was important, with wide-scale remote working it is set to become a matter of life or death for companies, which will now be divided into those that are able to withstand inevitable attacks from cybercriminals and those which are not.
All this may seem overwhelming for companies, which must provide their customers with a good service or product whilst getting to grips with these complex issues. Therefore, our advice for them would be to ensure they have an excellent IT team, as well as collaborate with and seek advice from solid partners with experience in implementing end-to-end cybersecurity solutions.