The Transition To A New Normal: About Connectivity and Digital | Part 2
The "new normal"—two words packed with several scenarios. For a parent, it could mean heading straight to the shower before greeting the kids. To students, it could entail less time spent with friends and more days waiting for the start of school. For an employee, it could involve getting temperature checks every morning and struggling to get a clear conversation through the muffled voices behind masked colleagues.
As for businesses, the new normal goes beyond restructuring physical spaces and identifying which teams are critical to the workplace. In the first article of this two-part blog, we identified how the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing businesses to adapt and prepare for a new breed of challenges, which can be solved with the help of a strong internet connection and digital solutions.
The first obstacle companies face is finding a way to encourage communication and productivity amidst a scattered workforce. Another challenge is keeping supply chains running, addressing emerging needs, and creating new demand, all while ensuring that both employees and customers are safe. One last challenge and probably the most important thing businesses need to keep an eye on, is guaranteeing its security against threats other than the lurking illness.
Managing and Securing Data
The COVID-19 virus is not the only enemy at present, especially in a time where information has become a goldmine. As customers from varying demographics settle online, businesses need to increase vigilance against cyber attacks.
Global Web Index confirms the uptick in online activity, stating that almost half of the 17 markets surveyed have an increase in online shopping. Over 60% report watching streaming services for news and entertainment, with a strong demand for more content. And around half are spending more time on messaging apps, video platforms, and social media sites, leading to more than 75% increase in smartphone usage (in countries such as China, Philippines, India, South Africa, and Brazil).
While the majority stay safe at home, there is no assurance the data they upload and download is completely secure—not without the right practices and solutions. With the workforce split into different locations, companies must add more layers to their cybersecurity to protect their data and their customers'.
Cyber attacks are just as sly as the pandemic and come in many forms. For instance, phishing emails can entice users to download instructions on how to donate, only to find out much later that they've enabled malware to enter their work tools. Hackers can easily mimic WiFi that is not password-protected. Moreover, distributed denial-of-service attacks can overwhelm servers and cause business disruptions online, at worst, allow cybercriminals to access company data. However, more often than not, human error is the biggest gateway for breaches.
Businesses can start strengthening their security with the basics, such as training employees and raising awareness about malicious online activities. In addition to establishing a vigilant culture, companies can also take advantage of tools, such as Mobile Device Management, to push work apps into phones and segregate personal ones. On top of ensuring that phones are used mainly for work, the solution can help track devices and monitor employee location.
Another option businesses can consider is using top-grade cybersecurity solutions, like Check Point and Zscaler.
Aside from guarding corporate data on employee mobile tools, Check Point can also prevent and automatically remediate cyberattacks on endpoint devices, protect user credentials, and provide actionable insights concerning malicious cyber activities.
Zscaler, on the other hand, can inspect and secure connections to externally managed Software as a service (SaaS) applications and programs. It also securely connects authorized users to internally managed apps, whether they are on a public or private cloud, or on-premise.
Regardless of where customers and employees are, businesses can scale protection against both physical and virtual threats. Round-the-clock cybersecurity solutions paired with a vigilant workforce can ensure business continuity in a time of vulnerability.
Preparing for Continuity
Business as usual is no longer an option for companies. Even with a modified community quarantine in place, our daily routines will not be like what it was pre-pandemic. A vigilant lifestyle is both our reality and responsibility.
While we wait for a cure to this global health crisis that could arrive within 12 to 18 months (an optimistic estimate), we will have to deal with staggered schedules and small meetings, the occasional cabin fever, postponed plans, and constant physical distancing, to put it mildly.
We will continue to rely on connectivity and all-things digital to carry on with our new normal. As mentioned in the previous article, this time reminds us of the value of digital transformation and our role, as businesses, to implement change so that families and communities remain well, healthy, and safe. The responsibility does not fall on one organization alone. All of us must do our part to keep up, cope up, and transform for the better.
At Globe Business, we empower enterprises to start their digital journey towards a more sustainable future—one wherein they are prepared for whatever situation. To help businesses achieve uninterrupted operations for customers, we have set up a roster of digital solutions that ensure business continuity. Get in touch with your dedicated Globe Business Account Manager and let us support you as you transition to the new normal.
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