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Making Remote Work, Work

6 April 2020 | Sumit Dhar

How can the UAE government and commercial organisations embrace and succeed with remote working? Most organisations understand the benefits, such as work-life flexibility, talent availability, productivity gains, and cost savings. But now, social distancing is a requirement across the globe.

Remote work is no longer a benefit or perk HR can tout, but its today’s reality. And for CISOs, having a complete organisation remote is driving an entirely new set of challenges and requirements. But why? The biggest issue arises when companies try to impose a traditional office model on an organisation-wide remote work environment. When they do, they're asking for trouble and face significant risk.

Also, given current Coronavirus restrictions, CIOs and CISOs don’t have the luxury of time to evaluate and test various options. They need to act now. They need to immediately evaluate and enhance their work from home policies, business workflows, and applications by:

  • Building and enhancing policies that safeguard remote workers and clients.
  • Developing formal on-going cybersecurity staff awareness and training. While most staff goes through basic security awareness training, working remotely introduces new areas attackers are willing to explore like security of home networks while sharing work and personal data.
  • Evaluating and deploying secure collaboration tools that enable executives to confidently share sensitive information and client details without the risks associated with consumer-grade apps or poorly implemented controls to allow data exchange.
  • Upgrading existing business function through digitisation. Many business operations teams (i.e., legal, procurement, finance, HR, and sales) lack the digital capabilities needed to execute remotely while maintaining revenues and cash flows. Something as simple as having electronic agreements and digital signatures is missing from many organisations today, inhibiting remote teams.

Organisations need to rethink how they enable and transform their teams while maintaining the speed of business operations—and doing all of it in a secure manner that minimises company exposure in the long term.

CISOs need to be aligned to strategic business objectives and enable businesses in the current environment. Those who quickly act will allow their organisations to execute during times of crisis, and be better prepared for long term growth. They need to identify digitisation opportunities that will enable remote staff to perform without being hindered.

So, what should your leadership team be doing immediately? What are the top areas they should be concerned about? And how can they quickly gain wins in this time of crisis?

To secure and enable your remote teams, they should be evaluating the following:

  • Their policies, procedures and processes provide the right foundation for remote working.
  • Network security, access, and scalability. Many organisations are defaulting to VPN solutions to deal with remote staff, as it replicates and maintains internal access to systems. This is an excellent option for a subset of your organisation but may not scale within the time window needed. Look to alternatives, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) options.
  • Endpoint security controls. Given the variability of home office setups, CISOs, working closely with their CIO, should explore managed VDIs. Using managed VDIs on remote PCs quickly enables endpoint security control management without the concerns associated with native home PC/VPN access.
  • Mobile workspace security. To maintain a high level of communications, organisations need to outfit executives and high-value staff with mobile capabilities designed to maintain and share sensitive information over voice, text, or video calls.
  • Electronic document and workflow management. To thrive today, teams need effective ways of running their government and business operations - creating, tracking, and governing documents, managing signoffs, and more. The old methods of printing, filing, and signing are not available.

To learn more on how you could assess and quickly integrate these policies and systems into your organisation, visit today.

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