Driving Successful Remote Business Operations
Remote Security Has Cultural Challenges
“We went from three to four percent of the organization working remotely to 99% in one week,” says Jon Cosson, Head of IT and CISO for JM Finn, a specialist wealth management organization. Cosson discussed with Dheeraj Pandey, founder and CEO of enterprise cloud management software leaders, Nutanix, about the importance of security and culture when transitioning to becoming a remote enterprise during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.
“Security is more important now than ever before,” Cosson says in a discussion from his home as his peers across the 46 year old financial services firm operate the business remotely. Cosson explains that there are distinct challenges to moving a financial services business into the living rooms and kitchens of employees.
“We are a highly regulated sector, all the calls our dealers and traders make have to be recorded for monitoring purposes,” he says of how tools have had to be reconfigured to work outside of the enterprise headquarters. “There has been a huge effort made to educate the user, we have produced seminars and we follow up with them.”
Of particular concern to Cosson and Pandey is that cybercriminals exploit the opportunities a lockdown creates. Cosson is particularly concerned about social engineering, where cyber criminals build up a picture of an employee and try to exploit them to gain access to funds or information about the business. “While we are all working from home it can be easy for the brain to switch off, the weakest link in any business is all of us,” Cosson says.
“It is important to make security invisible; it has to be secure and simple,” adds Pandey.
1. Educate your users on security and then follow up with them.
“I am thinking about the employee and the customer’s wellness, because we really need to think about what it really means to move the office environment to the home,” says Pandey of the sudden change in culture that Coronavirus has forced upon businesses of all sizes.
“There is more communication going on in our business than in the normal environment and I believe the productivity will increase,” Cosson observes of the changes at JM Finn. With a smile Cosson adds that the Coronavirus pandemic has benefited the move to a paperless operating model and it has increased the appreciation of the IT team. Pandey agrees: “The way we approach business has to be more empathetic and that is really helping to think about the business differently; for example, what does it mean to give people their weekends or evenings back?”
JM Finn and Nutanix both successfully transitioned to remote business as soon as the call for a lockdown was finally made. The response is largely down to the adoption of enterprise cloud technology, but as Cosson points out, this is an early and successful test in the lifespan of enterprise cloud computing. “If this pandemic had happened five or 10 years ago it would have been a significant challenge to get 99% of the organization working at home,” Cosson says.
Pandey agrees: “The enterprise beginning at home, you would not have said that two weeks or even two months ago.” The CEO and Nutanix founder believes this will result in a significant change in the culture of organisations when the pandemic passes.
“We have gone from six to seven offices to 330 offices and we now see a new challenge - bringing people together,” Cosson says.
“Cybercriminals are using this time to target specific people and while we are all working at home there can be a tendency to switch off and the risk is still there.”John Cosson, Head of IT and CISO, JM Finn