By Andrew Lawton, CEO of Reskube Ltd
We are entering a new world of work. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the move towards hybrid and remote working which was already gaining momentum before the world went into lockdown. From one-man bands to international institutions, workplace and home boundaries have begun to disintegrate. From Wall Street to Hong Kong to the City of London, traders are now investing millions of dollars and making complex financial decisions from their homes. Equally, lawyers, journalists, broadcasters, and workforces across pretty much every sector have had to adjust to forced changes in the way they work, and are now doing critical work remotely.
Even though pandemic restrictions worldwide are easing, home working – either as part of a fully remote or hybrid model – is here to stay. But while the likes of monitors, keyboards, stable internet, power connection, and IT infrastructures were all material mainstays in an office environment, recreating this in our own homes is less straightforward. This represents a risk to businesses everywhere.
The scale of this problem is eye-opening. Research by Reskube has found that 64% of people in the UK who have worked from home in the last year have suffered from an internet or power outage in that time. That equates to an estimated 12 million people. Of that, we are finding that 5% of homeworkers in the UK are doing time-critical or high-value work. That equates to roughly 470 million hours a year where any sort of outage would have a severe impact.
The vast majority of homeworkers do not currently have a setup that is comparable to their office environment. This exposes them to potential security risks as they seek other forms of connection to continue working during an outage. This may include connecting to unstable and unvalidated Wi-Fi sources.
Consider a critical worker who is working from home. Imagine that their Wi-Fi connection goes down and they are either unable to perform their job, or forced to rely on an unsecured connection to continue. This could not only have severe knock-on effects for their productivity, but also represent operational, financial, and potentially regulatory risks to the business if security is compromised.
For IT teams, managing disparate hybrid workforces is proving enough of a challenge as is. These issues on top are a further headache they could do without.
What needs to be done?
Working from home is here to stay, meaning that businesses face growing risks to their operations as power and network outages threaten critical and day-to-day work.
Up until now, ensuring security and resilience for remote workers has tended to be an afterthought or something that only comes to attention following an outage or security breach. This need not and should not be the case.
A home resilience solution is essential for businesses where workers are undertaking time and mission-critical work at home, as well as those who rely on a seamless connection for productivity and IT security. Alongside laptops, phones, and broadband now is the time for businesses to look at implementing new measures to guarantee connectivity for remote workers. This will enable them to take back control of their productivity and deliver their best work, uninterrupted.
The good news is there are solutions available on the market today. Adopting such a solution will reduce the risk of interruptions to the delivery of critical business services or of cybersecurity breaches that could negatively impact organizations financially, operationally, or reputationally. At the same time, it can also boost productivity and wellbeing across the wider hybrid workforce. I urge businesses and individuals to explore resilient solutions to minimize the risk to their operations from the new world of remote work.
About the Author
Andrew Lawton is CEO of Reskube Ltd. Andrew has successfully built and lead businesses for 25 years, with senior positions held at large companies such as HP and IBM, as well as smaller, fast-growing companies including Safetynet, Guardian and Internet Security Systems (ISS).
Andrew has a passion for leading high-growth technology businesses in the B2B Services, Software, IT, networking, telecom, and internet security industries, as well as a strong track record for launching new business initiatives and organisations resulting in aggressive growth.