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Working from home is not going anywhere. In fact, research shows that post-pandemic 42% of employees who worked strictly from a company-based location will not return to the office. Do you know how this will impact your business? Learn more about the tools needed to protect your client data and improve employee productivity.
Check out the latest happenings in the world of IT from our Locknet® experts. In this issue, we highlight some topics your organization should be aware of to minimize risks. Specifically, mitigating insider threats to your security and the risks of hanging on to legacy data.
Suddenly, almost without warning, every small and medium size business owner is thinking about work from home security and productivity for their remote workforce. With the threat of COVID-19 suddenly driving America's workforce home, business leaders are searching for creative solutions, scrambling to figure out how to navigate this new world of business by understanding how to manage a remote workforce, the essentials of working from home, and how to maintain or grow productivity without sacrificing network security.
These concerns are particularly profound for highly-regulated industries; those in the financial sector, like banks and credit unions; those in health care delivery, pharmaceutical companies, insurance, financial advisors, and many more industries with regulated data. A security compromise for a company that is highly regulated by the government would be unthinkable--the costs are far too high; the ramifications, are too far-reaching; the fallout, is potentially devastating.
Yet, whether in a highly regulated industry or not, every business leader is seeking ways to maintain productivity throughout and beyond the duration of this crisis, this new normal. The situation is, for too many businesses, dire. Many are hemorrhaging cash, desperately seeking a solution to keep them afloat--and fast. For countless companies right now, incoming revenue is at a standstill. A solution must be found, yesterday. If you are a leader of such a business, know that you are not alone. We navigate this new normal together.
At Locknet® Managed IT, part of EO Johnson Business Technologies, the team of experts works to balance productivity and security every day—not just in the age of COVID-19. Simply put, it's what they do, and it's what they help businesses of all sizes do. Over the years, and as a highly-regulated business themselves, they've mastered a deep understanding of what it takes for a business to thrive while managing change like the COVID-19 crisis, including:
The best time to plan was yesterday. But the second-best time to address a crisis of this magnitude is today. Let's do a deep dive into this new normal and examine the steps you should take and the tools you will need to navigate the new world of business with a remote workforce.
This moment of uncertainty is sure to raise questions about productivity. For one thing, we have differing generational attitudes: baby boomers who recognize the unique value add of shaking hands and conducting business face-to-face, and younger generations, some of whom are digital natives, who have never known a world without WiFi or at least constant connectivity. For generation X, Y, Z, or millennials, working from home may be a relatively easy transition—one which enables them to follow up on an email at all hours, not to mention, respond to crises swiftly and seamlessly. And while the generational divide may lead to fears that productivity will take a nosedive when your workforce goes remote, studies show that is likely not the case. In fact, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found in a study of 16,000 people, that telecommuting led to a 13% improvement in employee performance on average, over a nine-month time period.
That productivity was dependent upon one vital factor. Remote employees need the right tools to be effective and productive from their home office. We get into the specifics about the tools you need in place below. But first, let's look more closely at the companies themselves, and where you might be from a preparedness perspective.
"Companies are trying to figure out how they can have their employees work from home and be as close to 100% productive as possible," explains Kris Kilgard, Director of Sales with Locknet Managed IT. Kilgard says today's companies fall into two categories.
Companies which were most ready for this new normal that started in recent weeks were likely to be regulated entities, which are required to create pandemic policies, among many other policy requirements they face. These companies dedicated resources to creating a policy at some point, and many probably thought they would never need it. Of course, that time—in hindsight—was well-spent, and these companies were better prepared to seamlessly continue serving their customers while pivoting with these changing times. Locknet Managed IT is among the regulated industries, which is why the company is well positioned to continue operations without delay, and help other companies transition to work from home and support their remote workforces.
If your organization has a pandemic policy in place, you're off to a solid start for this new chapter in the business world. Yet, gaps are likely to surface throughout the process. When that occurs, there is great value in finding the right technology partner to circumnavigate those challenges.
If you are in the first camp, and your organization has a pandemic policy, the coming weeks and months should be easier on you. But if you are in this second camp, don't despair. Countless companies are making their way through these uncharted waters, with a rapidly evolving timeline, and help is available.
Locknet is currently assisting many companies through this transitional phase—it is navigable, particularly with the right partners in place. Some of these companies are even transitioning their IT support to home-based employees during their busiest, most revenue-generating times of the year. Needless to say—their needs are critical and having the right IT partner with the right tools for productivity and network security is vital.
The scramble is real.
Overnight, entire companies are rushing to enable their staffs to work from home so that productivity is uninterrupted. And often a vital consideration is being tossed aside.
"They are throwing security out the window," explains Shannon Mayberry, Locknet Security Manager. "They are doing whatever they can to get their employees home and connected so they can be productive. The companies may be bleeding cash...they need to be productive."
Companies are doing what they need to do. But that comes at a potentially staggering cost.
"This is a prime situation for hackers," says Kilgard. In their rush to stay fully functional, in this overwhelming period of fear among businesses, many companies are forgetting the importance of protecting their data and the data of their customers. And that can make them easy prey. "Everything they know about security they are setting aside for the sake of productivity. Frankly, I might do that too, if I didn't know the risks associated with this."
Balancing security with productivity is essential to ensuring the viability of your business throughout this crisis and for the long haul. As security and productivity experts, Locknet helps clients continually improve their risk posture.
"The number one way you can lower your risk is to become aware of it," says Kilgard. "We help identify risk and put plans in place to eliminate it. Some have impact on end users, some have no impact on end users. It all takes planning. "
As your business transitions operations to a remote workforce, you will need some essentials in place, among them: policies, tools and training. Here are the top essentials our experts recommend for work-from-home security.
To keep your business running smoothly through this disruption and the unknowns ahead, there are several essentials to have in place. Some relate to policy. Others relate to the tools you and your employees need to stay productive. And still others are associated with necessary training to ensure your employees are working smart—while protecting your company data and client information.
Having the right policies in place will provide your staff with the guidance they need to perform in their new workspace while still working toward company deliverables and objectives. Here are some of the policies leadership will want to consider.
In these uncertain times, maintaining productivity is key, but it shouldn't come at the expense of your security. The experts at Locknet Managed IT, part of EO Johnson Business Technologies, help protect hundreds of businesses in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa from cybercriminals and shore up network vulnerabilities every day. Here is a complete list of our essential best practices for network security and productivity for businesses with a remote workforce.
Want to know more about remote workforce productivity and security solutions? Download our printable and shareable resource, which provides an overview of best practices for network security with a remote workforce, as well as a listing of our recommended productivity and security solutions. Ready to protect your business for the duration of the pandemic and the future of work? We can provide you with the work-from-home security you need, as well as the productivity essentials for working from home; simply contact us to discuss your needs and how we can help.