It’s evident that the novel coronavirus has changed how we work. Largely, many of us continue business operations by working from home. While remote working has increased because of state-mandated stay-at-home orders, will these changes continue after the crisis ends? If not, what will the future of work look like? In this article, we have compiled what habits and expectations are likely to continue.
How COVID-19 Is Accelerating Changes In How We Work
With an increasingly multi-generational workforce, remote work was already predicted to be the norm by 2028. The coronavirus pandemic only accelerated the adoption of remote work and digital communication. Companies like Webex, Zoom, Microsoft, and Google have responded to the increased digital demand for their video conferencing and other digital communication applications, as well as project management tools.
But Is The Influx Sustainable?
The increase itself is not sustainable, but the way we work will not go back to how things were a few months ago. Instead, as Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro says, we will be entering a “new normal” once the crisis ends. We will take our recent adaptions to the work-from-home lifestyle and update corporate policies to be more flexible.
With the exploding opportunity to work from home, more employees are likely to expect the option in the “new normal” and with future employers.
Enterprises that don’t continue flexible, remote options after the crisis will likely lose employees, especially millennials and Gen-Zers, which can harm a business’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
The Future Of Streamlined Operations And Expenses
Companies are also realizing how cost-effective and efficient distributed teams are. By removing much of the in-office chatter and distractions, personnel may be able to dedicate more focused time to their work, if their lifestyle allows for it and they are not worried about the pandemic.
According to this Forbes article, “Layers of management will disappear along with very expensive physical plants, while investments in office perks can be reallocated to salaries or (more likely) the bottom line.”
Even more, the implementation of a full-time remote team could mean that enterprises could hire highly skilled workers from across the globe. This could further benefit companies that have diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as companies that struggle to find unique talent in their area (or who are willing to relocate to their area).
Remote work could also save employees time and money by removing their daily commute, which averages 26.1 minutes one way. Remote work would remove over 4 hours per week and 200 hours per year in a vehicle, lowering the total cost employees spend on gas and car maintenance for work-related travel.
The Future Of Collaboration
As enterprises implement and expand their work-from-home initiatives, they will also need to utilize cloud-based services, including cloud-based collaborative efforts. While we have taken this time of state-mandated work-from-home situations to just get through, we need to be looking at the long-term effects of what this pandemic has started.
As stated above, many companies will be adjusting their current policies to be more flexible. With this becoming part of the expectation and new norm, companies must also look at what tools and resources will these employees need to not “just get through” in their remote locations but what will they need to succeed and excel!
Collaboration tools and virtual meetings, as we’ve seen in the news and our most recent post, need a higher level of understanding for security on a company and a personal level. This understanding comes from knowing the programs functionalities and capabilities.
So How Do You Gain This Knowledge?
We at Meet Me In The Cloud offer a variety of solutions that support the usage of workplace technology tools in a remote work setting from customized training plans utilizing out 6 step methodology to our partnering with CyberFort to maintain a high standard of security.
Meet Me In The Cloud is here to help you establish your new normal within your company. Reach out to us to discuss the solutions that are best for you and your team as we move past COVID-19 and into the future of work.
As hundreds of thousands of traditional workers have transitioned into a work-from-home environment, the entire country has watched as horror stories have surfaced of virtual meetings gone wrong. Some of those have made top ten lists of “funniest virtual meeting fails”, but there have also been some completely frightening meetings in which intruders were able to easily access the virtual meetings and take control. And the reason this is happening is simple:
Companies are providing free software that appears popular and helpful, but it hasn’t necessarily been designed with secure collaboration as a priority.
Teams need to feel a sense of security and normalcy throughout these uncertain times, and never knowing who might pop in on a collaborative meeting is not a way to create that culture. Unfortunately, using free software to manage meetings is not a best practice during a time when those with ill-intentions are looking at every avenue to take advantage of the unprepared. The time has come to ask yourself…
Is your team susceptible to an “invasion” of privacy?
- Do you use a different access code for every meeting?
- Is there any kind of multi-factor authentication for sensitive topic meetings?
- Are hosts the only individuals who can begin a meeting?
- Is there a method to monitor and identify attendees?
- Does your meeting allow anyone to file share, screenshare, or chat?
If you answered “No” to any of those questions, then your virtual collaborative meeting is at jeopardy for a security breach.
But even looking at those questions, you may be thinking: “I don’t even know how to implement some of those changes!” And that’s where we can help.
Tools & Support for Secure Collaboration
Meet Me In The Cloud can provide you and your team with the tools and the support to secure your virtual collaborative team meetings.
Security is top of mind right now when it comes to collaboration. Meet Me In The Cloud has been ensuring success in security with our 6 step methodology since 2011. Because of this, we know that secure collaboration isn’t a one-size-fits all. We have designed customized training and advisory services for each level of your organization.
For Your IT Team
In the early steps of our methodology, we provide an Extensive Security Walkthrough conducted during a Site Admin Training Session with your Adoption Lead.
For Your End Users and Meeting Participants
During training sessions, we will discuss the features that you can implement to ensure secure collaboration. We’ll help you learn how to lock your meeting room, when to use your personal meeting space vs one-off, regularly scheduled meeting, how to allow attendees to start the meeting or choosing alternate hosts, along with a wealth of further information and best practices.
What Are the Next Steps?
All of these details can be overwhelming if you don’t have an expert on your side to help you create a secure collaborative environment for your team. We are here to be that expert for you so that you can focus on the collaboration that will help your business continue to move forward during these uncertain times.
Please feel free to reach out to us and we can help you and your team create a more secure work-from-home experience!
In this “Flatten The Curve” blog series, we’ve told you about our 8 Tips for Working From Home and in our latest blog, we discussed preparing your work-from-home workspace with 5 easy tips. One of the tips on that blog was a suggestion to keep your network clean, and we want to make sure you know more of the top 7 aspects of making sure you are continuing to do business securely!
1. Ensure Your WiFi Connection Is Secure
Most Wi-Fi is secure by default, but if you have an older system, then it might not be, which means anyone in your neighborhood or apartment complex can see what you’re up to! Make sure your connection is secure before doing business. And by all means, avoid public Wi-Fi. If you have to work away from your home network, use a personal hotspot or some other method to encrypt your web connection.
2. Check That Security Software Is Up To Date
Take a look at your anti-virus and check: Is it even installed? Is it actively functioning? Is it fully updated? In addition, take a look at your browsers and make sure that privacy tools and add-ons are working properly as well.
3. Have A Backup Strategy And Plan
Backup all your important files and customer data systematically. If your company were to be the victims of a cyber attack, all data could be lost without a backup. Because of this, you need to create a plan to backup – don’t just assume that you’ll remember to backup those files: schedule the backup on your calendar so you won’t forget!
4. Secure Your Device
Even if it’s just your kids running around your house, lock your screen if you work in a space where others can access your device. Set an automatic timeout in case you are called away from your desk and don’t have a chance to lock your screen.
5. Create a Robust Passphrase
A strong password can be one of your best allies in work-from-home cyber security. Using a robust password makes it much more difficult for a hacker to get into your company’s system. They must be over eight characters long and use both upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols. The longer… the better. Best practice is to make passwords up to 64 characters.
6. Utilize Two-Factor Authentication
Most companies have already implemented two-factor authentication (i.e. when users must confirm their identity with a code sent to their mobile device after having used their username and password), but if your company doesn’t already, now is the time to get on board! Two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication makes it extra difficult for an attacker to access company data.
7. Update Employee Information Security Policies
Since many of your employees are now using personal devices to communicate and work, updating your information security policies can help protect you against their violations. Help employees be aware that they cannot use their personal email for company purposes, sync client information to a personal cloud account, use social media to discuss the company’s business, etc.
And there you have it! 7 quick fixes to your work-from-home cyber security that could save your team a lot of heartache in the long run! Please feel free to reach out to us and we can help you and your team create a more secure work-from-home experience!