Amid rising inflation and interest rates, and the growing number of cyber threats, businesses are constantly evolving in order to be resilient. This month, The Fintech Times is highlighting how businesses are showing this resilience against a myriad of factors – some within, and some beyond, their control.
We begin our focus by analysing work from home (WFH). While it saw mainstream adoption in 2020, during the height of lockdown, its popularity has since died down as offices have opened up again. According to Finder, 43.1 per cent always worked from home in April 2020, while in May 2023, only 13 per cent did. Furthermore, the research shows that in 2023, only one in four (25 per cent) work from home sometimes.
There are a variety of reasons for the decline in WFH: cybersecurity issues and the impact it had on employee mental health to name a few. Although, opening up offices again is one solution to these problems, when looking to analyse how resilient an organisation is, we have to see how they are still making WFH work – especially as potential employees prioritise flexible work environments when looking for a new job.
Investing in equipment
In 2021, Atlas VPN found that many SMEs who enabled employees to WFH suffered:
- Phishing attacks (41 per cent)
- Web-based attacks (40 per cent)
- General malware attacks, (39 per cent)
- Denial of services attacks (12 per cent)
Malicious insiders using legitimate data for personal benefit impacting companies too (19 per cent). These attacks have not gone away with time. In fact, due to hackers constantly evolving their own technology to breach organisations and employees’ data, the need for up-to-date tech to resist the attack is bigger than ever.
Danish Soomro, founder at Devi AI, the social media manager, highlights this as he says: “To protect WFH workers, one thing to never overlook is offering employees the ideal electronic equipment to provide formidable work quality without any technical perchance that could interfere with deliverables.
“It is also important to constantly train employees on potential virtual risks and security threats, especially in the AI and remote work world we are currently building. Thirdly, it is also essential to promote a culture that encourages remote workers to take breaks and move their bodies so that they do not encounter any health issues from sitting on the computer for too long. A healthy body and mind of their employees is key for businesses to have productive teams.”
The pandemic had an unspeakable impact on everyone’s mental health. The neverending lockdowns completely ruined routines and left many people feeling isolated and alone. Jeff Haughton, SVP, incentives, corporate development and strategy at paytech Blackhawk Network explains why the benefits of regular communication cannot be understated.
He says: “As workforces increasingly spread out geographically, it’s more important than ever to nurture feelings of connectiveness for employees that don’t work in a physical location alongside colleagues. It’s also increasingly challenging to recognise, reward and engage them where they are simultaneously.
“Our research found that only 18 per cent of employees are happy at their jobs, and nearly half of those who reported being unhappy would seek out new employment with an organisation better recognises and rewards them—and would be more loyal to an employer if they received more frequent recognition for their contributions and achievements.
Need for recognition
Haughton continues: “The technology exists through widely used software tools like Microsoft Teams where businesses, managers, and employees can disburse digital rewards like prepaid and gift cards to individuals or teams in mere moments—wherever they are—on a regular basis. Which, in addition to being a clever use of technology, is important from a morale standpoint.
“About four in five employees would be interested in using a recognition platform that empowers them to send and receive recognition to anyone in their company, and 77 per cent want to be recognised by their colleagues.
“The future of work, particularly remote work, depends on technology and innovation. Rewarding and recognising employees for their accomplishments and contributions no matter where they are located—and empowering them to recognise each other—will give businesses a competitive edge.
“Not only will accessible reward and recognition programs foster camaraderie and nurture company culture, but they can also help streamline efficiencies (after all, digital rewards don’t require postage), quickly reinforce behaviours and celebrate wins, and boost employee loyalty.”
Integrating the cloud
In order to protect WFH workers, organisations must use the tech available to them. The cloud has seen a huge uptake in the past few years and according to Ofir Shabtai, co-founder, and CTO at Shield, the regtech. He explains: “We have added additional security layers which ensure our complete communications compliance lifecycle platform is one of the most secure RegTech solutions on the market
“As well as the practical challenges that remote working has brought for many financial sector businesses and their employees, it has also opened up potential additional security challenges when confidential data is being shared and used away from secured business networks.
“To address this, Shield’s platform utilises full end-to-end encryption to ensure this data is protected, from the business’s secure data storage right through to the endpoint (be that a laptop or handheld mobile device), wherever the person is working.
“Equally important is the security of cloud-based data, which has become essential for firms supporting home-working staff. Working in a fully secured cloud and in full cooperation with leading cloud vendors, we have built a solution based on AWS (Amazon Web Services) to ensure each customer account is created with the correct security setup, incorporating the highest security level.”
Security is not an expense
When looking to protect workers, organisations must change their mindset to ensure they don’t see security as an expense. Vincent Cook, CEO Cyb3r Operations, the cybersecurity firm, points out how a failure to comply with regulations not only puts workers at risk, but can also result in hefty fines for an organisation.
“Regulatory and data protection compliance has become increasingly challenging for CISOs and their security teams.
“To ensure the nurturing of the culture and the creation of the required secure environment, it is necessary to allocate more resources, focus, and investment towards employee education, training, and awareness. This will empower employees to identify and proactively respond to potential threats.
“Consequently, for many companies, failure to recognise the benefits of regulatory compliance and best practices leaves them susceptible to heavy fines, financial loss, and brand and reputational damage – all perils to long-term success.
“Ironically, one of the biggest threats to organisational cyber security is complacency. Stakeholders must move away from perceiving security as an expense rather than an investment and realise the business-critical importance of protecting not just their own but also customer and supplier assets and data