Joe Signorelli

Will the COVID-19 health crisis help change the style of work in Asia?

By Joe Signorelli, VP for Asia Pacific Japan at Pulse Secure

The COVID-19 Coronavirus at the centre of the current health crisis has directly affected thousands of lives across the world and disrupted the daily lives of millions more.  For many employees, this could mean working from home with the kids now kept out of school or simply taking more precautions, like wearing a mask when outside.

One change that has been necessitated by the health crisis is the uprooting of workstyles in Asia.  Whereas workers traditionally accomplished tasks within an office, the current health crisis has forced many companies to shift away from the traditional in-office work to a remote workforce.

With mandatory stay-home orders and businesses taking abundant care in sequestering employees, the ability for a company to adapt to new styles of work is crucial. In Japan, for example, GMO Internet Group now has about 90 percent of staff, or 4,000 from across the country, working from home as a response to the outbreak according to Japan Times. Large telecom operator NTT Group has also told its 200,000 employees in Japan to turn to teleworking or off-peak commuting. The change in work styles is remarkable, especially in a country that has been known for employees clocking long hours in the office.

Difficult circumstances such as these require organizations to leverage the best technology tools available to maximize the advantages that teleworking provides.  Enterprises need to quickly scale to ensure business continuity, enable secure remote access and maintain workforce productivity.

This emergency workplace shift can stress IT infrastructure and operations. Being prepared for unforeseen and prolonged disruptions, or even network downtime, requires pre-determined contingency notifications and processes.  Moreover, organizations must adopt solutions with enough coverage, flexibility and capacity to allow a remote workforce to easily and securely collaborate and access applications, resources and services to continue to do business no matter where they reside, in the network, data center or cloud.

Enterprises can’t allow disruption to the business due to a cyberattack so a strong security posture must be a key priority. With advanced planning, crises that require immediate, increased and varied remote access capacity should not increase threat exposure, cyberattack and data leakage risks. Measures such as validating each and every user’s device and identity before accessing network resources significantly reduces the chance of malware infiltration.

Protecting data-in-motion through encryption is also critical, ensuring business-critical data is kept safe.  Finally, applying access policies to each and every user assures that only users with appropriate privileges can access such data.

With a bit of adaptation and experimentation during this difficult time, we can embrace the world of remote work with confidence.