Cerdant Prepares Companies for the New, Permanent Normal of Remote Work
Among the services Dublin cybersecurity company Cerdant offers are risk assessments, vulnerability scans and assisting companies in the switch to remote work — the latter a service that has become especially popular during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cerdant’s Chief Technology Officer Joshua Skeens, says his company had a handful of employees working remotely as part of its business continuity plans, which allowed it to send employees home quickly and easily. But back in March, many companies weren’t prepared to have their entire workforce work from home.
He says for an entire office or an entire company, going remote wasn’t as simple. And now, as businesses realize remote work may be the new and permanent normal, a business and lifestyle change is needed.
“It was a lot harder for people to do that long term for a large amount of staff, where it might be easy for a marketing person or sales to be traveling and have access back into systems and for applications,” he says.
This involves installing hardware, SSL and VPN appliances so employees can use their web browser of choice to securely get back into their usual business applications, desktops and file shares.
The company has also assisted brick-and-mortar businesses who don’t have a need to return to their offices, and have instead installed hardware firewall clients with a secure VPN back into the business via employees’ homes.
However, transitioning to remote work isn’t as simple as just installing a new piece of hardware.
Skeens points to a statistic reported by cybersecurity and antivirus software company Bitdefender, which said the increase of remote work has led to a 40% increase in exposure to hackers via Remote Desktop Protocols (i.e. managing their workstation or server remotely).
Actions as simple as using a shared computer for work, not completely locking down a computer, not having the proper antivirus software installed and so on could also contribute to an increase in security threats.
Plus, the increase in phishing scams and social engineering attacks doesn’t help either.
“You could have a remote employee that went home for the very first time to work and they’re sharing a laptop with their kids. I mean, that’s something that we even face here internally,” says Skeens. “You would hope that kids know the right thing to do, but most likely they don’t, depending on their age. So they could be installing malware unintentionally and opening up holes back into your corporate environment.”
However, despite its challenges Skeens says he has always been in favor of remote work. He says it’s a great benefit for employees who can spend less time on commuting and more time on self-improvement, learning and training. And given the hindsight of the pandemic, businesses should take this new normal seriously.
“I would urge businesses to take a look at that and not just think that we’re only going to have remote workers while the pandemic’s going on,” he says. “I think that this is something that they should really think about, investigate and take seriously about offering.”
“I think that we’re not going back,” he continues. “I think that as a business, you’re going to be on the outside looking in when you’re trying to hire candidates and you can’t offer remote work.”
Skeens tips for maintaining a positive company culture from home? Stay in contact with employees and regularly check-in, whether professionally or personally.
“I make sure personally that every single day that I’m checking in on at least a handful of employees to make sure they’re just doing OK,” he says. “People handle situations differently. It’s letting them know that you’re there for them.”
For more information on Cerdant, visit www.cerdant.com.
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