There’s More than a Remote Chance we’ll be Working Remote in some Fashion Forever

by Scott Mahnken 0 Comments

The strategies for rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent consequences are starting to formulate and it seems that recovery will be broken down into three separate segments, with some overlap.

Phase one includes how companies are adjusting to the virus today and up until the date when it’s all clear to return to some semblance of normalcy. Phase one represents a period during which organizations were forced to quickly adapt their logistical and operational procedures to accommodate the new remote work model. Day after day and week after week adjustments are being made as gaps in the remote work model emerge, yet with each passing day things are getting more efficient. Sadly, just as everyone adjusts to the new work from home remote model, they’ll be called back to work, disrupting the harmonious home office environment we’d started to embrace.

Phase two starts today and concludes at the end of the year, thus some crossover from phase one. Phase two includes adjusting not only to the return to normalcy or semi-normalcy, it also includes a much keener focus on closing business, generating revenue and closing the year with momentum. Many companies will scramble to recuperate from the business opportunities that were either lost or delayed during Q2. I anticipate Q3 and Q4 will be times of great marketing and great promotions. Phase two should be fun as energy levels run high as everyone has seemingly come out of their shell ready to do business. During Q4 many organizations will have robust budgets because of the money they saved earlier in the year and certain organizations, those that are compelled to spend their budget or lose it, will be opening their purse strings.

Phase three represents our new reality, it starts January 1st, 2021. We’ll be living in a world that’s open for business, yet there may still be subtle interpretation demonstrated by some. Visionary leaders, companies, products and solutions will start to stand out during phase three. The strong will survive, if not thrive, while the weak and those not willing to adjust will fade away. Phase three will be highly competitive as buyers seek to align with only the best products at the best prices; thus, value and ROI become paramount. Remote workforce security will become a new topic of discussion and a land of opportunity for players in the space.

One of the key takeaways that leaders are taking away from phase one is how their workforce adjusted to working remotely from home. In most cases, both communication and production increased. Therefore, how does an organization return to its traditional 9-5 office environment without disrupting its workforce and causing undue emotional stress? This is going to be a key test for many companies and its highly likely that many organizations will offer a blended remote / in-office option in order to adopt a work model that works for all. Keep in mind that many organizations invested heavily to support the new remote work environment that was forced upon them. Electronic retailers experienced record sales and sold out of many popular products in March, as companies directed their employees to work from home. The investment, combined with the efforts dedicated by the employee to create their personalized work from home environment, shouldn’t go to waste.

Beyond the operational or cost issues and beyond the improved communication and performance, there are many other reasons to embrace the blended strategy.

  • Limit the time wasted and added expense of commuting
  • The opportunity to spend additional quality time with partners and children
  • The ability to create a truly customized work environment
  • The opportunity to eat healthier and less expensive lunches
  • The green benefit to the environment by not commuting
  • The operational cost savings to the organization such as rent and overhead

Earlier I mentioned how organizations were scrambling to respond to the logistical and operation requirements of going remote. Did you notice we didn’t mention security or cybersecurity? In many cases it has been ignored.

The work from home environment is a pandoras box for cybercriminals and studies show that hacking attempts are already up 37%. Hackers know that individuals working from home are far more vulnerable, as there’s no IT manager in sight to snuff out their attacks. Employees working from home will be marked remote workplace targets for phishing security attacks because its not as easy to pick up on suspicious emails when there’s no colleague near to ask, “Do you get a request from HR to update and share your password?”

The question becomes how do organizations provide enterprise level security for employees in the workforce that are working remotely from kitchen tables, family rooms, living rooms and even bedrooms?The remote home workforce environment doesn’t include an IT manger to oversee activity and security, but it does include friends and family members that presents inherent security risks.

When you are working from home, can someone look over your shoulder as you enter a password? Could that same person take your password Key to access all your websites, files and apps? Might that person have access to your phone screen, and could they capture a PIN or token number? Although some of these scenarios might seem unlikely, the fact is it only takes one breakdown to expose valuable corporate data. One breach could cost millions and cause immeasurable damage to the brand. Breaches have proven to cost people their jobs as CEO’s, IT Directors and front-line employees have been swiftly shown the door after being associated with a breach.

One way visionary leaders and companies are addressing remote cybersecurity issues head on is by adding a layer of biometric authentication to their remote security platform. Organizations are leveraging the uniqueness of the user’s biometric traits to eliminate the theft of passwords, PINs and token numbers. When a remote user signs-in with a password, we cannot be absolutely certain it’s them, yet when a user signs-in with their fingerprint, we absolutely know it’s them.

BIO-key is helping organizations add a strong layer of biometric authentication by offering a low-cost entry point for every user. The company’s line of compact USB fingerprint scanners have been tested and qualified by Microsoft. BIO-key has tens of thousands of these readers deployed in banking, healthcare, education, government, manufacturing, retail and call centers. With an MSRP of $39.99 BIO-key has made biometric technology easy and affordable for all.

Many organizations want to leverage the strength and accuracy of biometric authentication beyond device sign-in. ID Director for Windows, ID Director for SAML and WEB-key extend the security and convenience of biometric authentication across the entire organization.

Since phases one through three all include employees working remotely it’s imperative that your organization develops a long-term sustainable approach to securing the activity of their remote worker. To optimize the security of your remote network, its considered best practices to include biometric authentication.

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Scott Mahnken

Author: Scott Mahnken