Cybersecurity: A Thorny Issue in Remote Working for CHROs

CHRO and global HR leaders today need to be proactive in augmenting tech infrastructure. Successfully fending off cyberattacks require collaboration with work from home employees and IT staff. Follow these action points to protect your organization.

As homes became the new office, and employees shifted to remote working overnight, the change or the ‘new normal’ as it’s called spurred up several technological challenges for Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs). The primary of those is cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity was a concern even before the pandemic hit, but its urgency has exacerbated after COVID-19.

Businesses where information security is pertinent — including finance, insurance, those working on patent-related projects, call centers, and more — the challenge of preventing information leakage amid dispersed systems (in work from home) become a tall order for the global HR leaders. Here’s what can be done to tackle the threats of cybersecurity in organizations.

Cybersecurity challenges of teleworking

For businesses that were not prepared for overnight digitalization, and were running traditional offices, the cybersecurity threats are dire for them. Leaderships across the board face the following shadow IT issues.

· Technologies used in work from home arrangements are more exposed to outside threats. Companies need to gain greater control of the devices used in teleworking to stop outside attackers from taking sensitive data.

· Often so it happens that in remote work, employees use applications and tools that aren’t vetted by the IT department. This also creates a significant scope for information leakage and outside threats. It falls on global HR leaders to ensure that the company’s sensitive information remains private and isn’t compromised during work from home.

· Companies or people who are completely new to the idea of working from home, and don’t have any existing policies and HR technology & software to track employee behavior, become open to plenty of opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of information gap and exploit unsecured and dispersed technology systems.

· In work from home working structure, the number of endpoints is increased, which makes it easy to capitalize on the chaos that increases the odds of success for cyberattacks.

· Few remote workers may also be using unsecured public Wi-Fi. It’s more common when working from a café or a public space. Albeit, the times of pandemic rarely allow for that, but using public Wi-Fi in any form can seriously damage the protective net of the company’s IT infrastructure. It should be highly discouraged.

Need for 3-Way Collaboration: HR Leaders + IT + Employees

A company’s CHRO’s impulse to send employees to work from home is quite understandable and commendable. However, equally important is to be prepared for the situation that follows. Human Resource department must have a business continuity plan in place that include senior HR professionals, a strong IT team, and employees.

Human Resource professionals are best positioned to orchestrate such a collaborative framework. The idea is for the IT team not be to be sitting ducks until a breach happens. Being proactive is the way to deal with cyber threats at the company level.

Global HR leaders are upgrading their HR tech as well as IT infrastructure, and create policies for employees to prevent even the remote use of ‘rogue’ applications or tools that can jeopardize the company’s data and systems.

Along with IT teams, employees’ feedback must also form a part of this collaborative process. It will help the company and HR leadership understand the issues faced by the workforce on the ground, and find right and secure tools and applications to augment employee productivity.

Immediate Action Points for CHROs

According to the best HR tech trends, taking precaution helps in avoiding vulnerabilities to a large scale. Especially so during online and remote working. Make these a part of your rules and tech infrastructure to shore up cybersecurity at your organization.

· CHRO must set remote working communication and security policies.

· Regulate the use of personal work on an official device.

· Use antiviruses and firewalls that call for authorization and authentication.

· Use secure Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to connect teleworkers to the organization’s network.

· Provide on-demand and proactive IT support.

· Employees must ensure putting strong passwords on their personal Wi-Fi network.

CHROs need to bring home a robust tech infrastructure — not just for the times of remote working, but also for a long haul as the shift to flexible working is highly likely to continue.

HR Director | Certified HR Professional | Successful Business Operator | Talent Identification and Development