The corporate world as we have known it has changed dramatically in recent months. If at the beginning of October, the percentage of employees teleworking had fallen to 14% according to an Odoxa report for Adviso Partners, this proportion quickly changed again. In fact, following the latest reconfinement measures announced by the President of the Republic, teleworking has once again become widespread.
Outside our borders, some companies are considering reducing the number of physical offices in favor of a long-term remote working model. This is particularly the case for American giants such as Google, Microsoft and Twitter, which recently announced that their employees could work from home indefinitely. We can therefore observe that employers strive to find a balance between team productivity, safety and employee engagement. Teleworking is now anchored in uses and has become the norm, we must nevertheless be aware of the challenge posed by this new confinement.
Beyond the technical reasons, remote work has direct repercussions on employee performance. The psychological factor, often underestimated, is just as decisive. Some employers make the mistake of thinking that there is no connection between the technology that makes teleworking possible and employee support systems. Which is a big mistake. It is for this reason that IT and human resources teams must work together to allow employees to work in the best conditions from their homes. And help their organization navigate this turbulent period with confidence in the year to come.
Safety, a shared responsibility
By default, IT security teams have always been seen as solely responsible for corporate cybersecurity. They were simply responsible for implementing the appropriate technologies to protect the business. However, today the cybersecurity landscape continues to become more complex, due to the upsurge of new and reinforced threats. The massive democratization of working from home has caused an increase in the use of vulnerable services, such as virtual private networks (VPNs). This increases the risk of attacks against individuals and organizations. According to L’Anssi, 128 attacks of this type were handled by their service between January 1 and September 30, 2020, compared to 69 throughout 2019.
These attacks can not only disrupt business operations, but also have serious repercussions on employees. Indeed, the large and growing number of people accessing corporate networks from personal devices increases the risk of their personal data being compromised. While threat protection technologies can help protect businesses, users should also be trained to recognize potential threats. Especially in attachments or unauthorized links that accompany emails. They should be properly trained and given clear instructions on how to handle such events.
In today’s environment, companies should consider adopting a Zero Trust approach. This approach involves being suspicious of everything and eliminating the implicit trust associated with the user’s locality of access. Moreover, the Zero Trust framework is not a simple product, it is a state of mind, a philosophy to be adopted at all levels of the organization. While IT is responsible for getting the right technical stuff in place, employee behavior, threat awareness and policy compliance can have a huge impact. That’s why IT and HR teams need to be in sync.
How can human resources bring real added value?
It is the responsibility of human resources to help IT teams educate employees about cybersecurity risks and the importance of a Zero Trust model to guard against them. As part of internal communications, it would be relevant to share tips on how to stay vigilant and, for example, to detect social engineering attacks. Combining this staff awareness with solid network visibility is the first step in protecting the organization from cyberthreats.
Dispersed users create a series of performance barriers that prevent the smooth flow of information. We can also ask the question whether companies should consider creating a cross-functional group between IT and HR to centralize useful information. From sharing telecommuting tips and best practices to fixing minor IT issues before they get worse. In times of crisis, disinformation spreads like wildfire, so it is imperative to give employees a single, certified source of information.
New strategies for a new future
In order to thrive in this new future, companies must now consider new strategies. For example, a more flexible approach to working hours, new processes to optimize and secure the organization. Or the adoption of a Zero Trust model made possible by better visibility of the network and support for employees by human resources. Success is possible, but getting there requires a coordinated, cross-cutting effort to ensure that all the bases are covered. This requires a strategic partnership between IT and HR, focused on the implementation and management of the right digital tools. And on the application of good practices through appropriate training. This will help companies maintain high levels of productivity and foster a positive and safe workplace culture during these difficult times and beyond.