The Rise and Rise of Virtual Offices

By Claire Snook | May 12th, 2020 | Uncategorized

The virtual office has been on the rise for years and, for many, our time in lockdown has proven that it’s possible to work from anywhere. Even before lockdown, remote working was on the rise, with 63% of businesses employing remote workers and 45% of UK jobs being classed as “digitally-enabled”. There are many benefits to this, including cost savings, however, there can be negative consequences if your home security isn’t up to scratch.


What are the cybersecurity risks involved with working from home?

The pandemic has meant that working from home has gone from being a convenience to a necessity. People have had to adapt to working from home quickly and, due to this rapid change in how we work, employees may not have access to the software needed to ensure their devices stay secure. The attack surface for an organisation increases significantly the more people work from other locations. Couple this with the fact that apps can link to various different devices makes the cybersecurity risks even greater. If a device is hacked, the person using the device may not realise that their cybersecurity has been compromised. A tell-tale sign of a cybersecurity breach is a slower device.

Employers can limit cybersecurity risks by providing employees with a work laptop. This limits the risk of a cybersecurity attack because home tech devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home or the Ring doorbell won’t be attached to the laptop, giving hackers fewer entry points. As an alternative, or an addition to providing homeworkers with separate devices for work, employers could also install corporate level security around endpoint devices. But remember it doesn’t stop at a VPN, they can be hacked or other devices on home networks used to compromise devices and the network. Monitoring is key


Increase in home working post-Covid-19

Homeworking has increased by more than a quarter in the past decade and this trend doesn’t look set to slow down anytime soon. It is likely that after lockdown employers will put more consideration into the cost benefits of their teams working from home. Flexible working is expected to be more prominent, a practice which offers staff the latitude to decide where, when, and how they do their jobs. While this can be an effective way of reducing cost to a business through reducing overheads, employers should ensure that they don’t make the costly mistake of overlooking cybersecurity. If this error is made it could mean months, or even years of lost files, and sensitive data being leaked into the public domain.


Future homeworking virtual innovations

Virtual offices have resulted in workers straying away from traditional patterns and times of working. This means that resources should be made available 24/7, and one example of this being adopted is the rise of chatbots available to help with flexible, automated services.

Recent technology trends for virtual workers have seen a focus on the improvement of wireless communication technology: 5G, for instance. Experts are confident that the future will see the improved speed of 5G mobile connectivity, resulting in an improved virtual office experience. This means that we could be seeing a virtual world by as soon as 2030.

In the not too distant future, Virtual Reality (VR) workspaces will also be commonplace. A VR workspace is interactive, featuring a desktop and using sensors that capture hand movement, allowing them to virtually interact with data displayed in their virtual office.  Employees use a VR headset to access their workstation.


Get security in place ready for innovations

Virtual offices have been an effective way of working for many years. However, recent events have meant that there has been a sudden change in working, leaving many employees vulnerable to cyber attacks. To combat this issue, corporates, operators and technology companies need to come together to tackle the gaps in cybersecurity for virtual offices.

These advances in tech are promising for virtual workers and will provide huge steps in how we work. New technology will come with new challenges to solve, but the sooner we begin preparing for this the stronger our virtual offices will be. To ensure the efficacy of the virtual office, we need to be forward thinking, not just in terms of virtual office innovations, but also with cybersecurity measures.

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