Coronavirus and Working Remotely. What You Need to Know Now.

Will working from home outlive the COVID-19 outbreak?

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on public health, global markets, international supply chains, friendly handshakes, and more. And let’s not overlook the impact on our workforce. It’s more than travel restrictions and canceled conferences. This outbreak is forcing companies around the world to quickly enact new policies about working from home. Thing is, those policies might stick.

Could coronavirus show us a more productive way to work? Beyond the obvious goals of keeping employees healthy and limiting their possible exposure to COVID-19, there are other, undeniable benefits that suggest working from home could take hold as a permanent strategy.

In short, don’t rethink your telecommuting strategies too hastily in the face of the coronavirus scare. Your decisions about remote work today may drive tomorrow’s results.

Learn more about how Automox can help keep your remote endpoints secure.

Managing remote endpoints with Automox >>

Let’s talk about workforce transformation.

Here’s some big picture thinking to help inform your decisions right now. According to Global Workplace Analytics, organizations save roughly $11,000 per year per part-time telecommuter. And data shows that working remotely leads to an increase in performance and higher job satisfaction, resulting in a 50% better attrition rate vs. traditional office jobs. Additionally, companies with telework options have a distinct recruiting advantage, as modern job candidates expect the flexibility to work from home. They are even willing to sacrifice salary in exchange for reducing their daily commute. And as for those reduced commutes, if even half the Americans who could work from home actually did, greenhouse gases would be cut as if we removed the entire New York State workforce from the road.

Remote work, remote workforce

Protect your employees from contagious illnesses. Cut costs. Attract better candidates for less. Retain them longer. Make workers happier and more productive. Reduce environmental impacts. Sounds like a winning formula for immediate and longer-lasting success.

Be prepared for a remote workforce that lasts.

The short-term efficacy of using remote work policies to reduce COVID-19 exposure is certainly vital to business continuity in the face of this potential pandemic. Keeping your teams safe during this period is a no-brainer—as is making sure their remote laptops are safe, too.

However, once your teams get accustomed to working from home, a more flexible policy might need to become the new normal. Distribute Consulting has found that revoking work-from-home capabilities is a dangerous overcorrection that only worsens the accessibility, efficiency, and sustainability of jobs. Consider that the United States government is projected to lose over $800 million this year through retracting telework policies.

Thanks to coronavirus, remote work may become a mainstay

So no matter if you’re making a short-term shift or a long-term transformation, one of your most important considerations is how to keep your remote endpoints secure from vulnerabilities. Here’s what you should be asking yourself to make sure your IT has a seamless strategy for keeping remote laptops up-to-date and secure with the latest software, patches, and configurations.

  • Can you secure your workers’ endpoints without a VPN?
    Make sure your VPN isn’t a critical point for securing your endpoints. Legacy patching platforms can only update systems and software on remote endpoints that are connected to the corporate network via VPN. Not only are companies concerned if their VPNs can even handle the upcoming spike in remote traffic, but users often avoid connecting altogether to circumvent the tedious, frustrating, and time-consuming process of making updates over slow VPN connections. Cloud-native endpoint hardening solutions like Automox seamlessly update and patch any corporate endpoint that’s connected to the internet, which means users are always current with patches and configurations.
  • Will you be able to outmaneuver attackers when new vulnerabilities are announced?
    Today, attackers are weaponizing vulnerabilities faster and more frequently than ever. In fact, the moment new critical vulnerabilities are reported sets off a race to see if you can patch vulnerabilities faster than adversaries can exploit them. To be safe, you need to remediate critical vulnerabilities within 72 hours of their announcement. Traditional, VPN-based patching solutions—which users are reluctant to utilize—will likely not allow you to remediate in time. Automox customers, on the other hand, meet this speed threshold thanks to automated, cloud-native remediation.
  • Can you automate your endpoint and patch management on devices not connected to your network?
    Patching can be a thankless, time-consuming task that’s easy to fall behind on. What's worse, IT administrators often can’t see which software titles on which systems are out of date and susceptible to attack. Unpatched and misconfigured laptops are a huge concern for maintaining cyber hygiene. And an increase in remote laptops not connected to the corporate network for extended periods will only compound this problem. Automox gives you visibility into the status of remote endpoints so you can customize and automate both OS and third-party application updates or patches to eliminate this threat.
  • Are you able to patch and update across operating systems and third-party software?
    Ponemon Institute recently found that 57% of data breaches are attributed to poor patch management. Additionally, third party applications are responsible for over 75% of all endpoint vulnerabilities. Yet managing and maintaining the latest software versions and configurations across multiple operating systems and myriad remote laptops is a huge hurdle for legacy patch platforms. Automox keeps IT teams ahead of attackers across Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms, along with a growing library of third-party patching support—to secure remote laptops through a single cloud-native console.
  • Do you have visibility and control of all your remote endpoints?
    It’s difficult to automate policies for remote laptops you can’t see. As a cloud-native solution, Automox is uniquely able to provide a complete inventory of all hardware, software, patches, and configuration details for your remote endpoints. You’ll have a unified view of your remote laptops to identify misconfigured systems, discover missing patches, remediate patch vulnerabilities, deploy required software, and fix misconfigured systems across Windows, macOS, and Linux—without the need for multiple tools.

COVID-19 is already making significant disruptions to the global workforce. Only time will tell how long these disruptions last, but this outbreak could be providing a glimpse into the future of telework. Inexpensive video conferencing and communication tools are making it easier than ever to work from home, and implementing new remote work policies now to account for coronavirus concerns could be a sign of more flexible policies to come. Automox has solutions no matter which path you choose. Contact us now for a demo of how we can deliver fast, simple cyber hygiene solutions for your remote workforce.

About Automox Automated Patch Management

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, macOS, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-native patch management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.