The Real Advantages To Working From Home: A Guide For CHROs

Tiffany Rowe

Thanks to the Internet, digital devices, and excellent software, fewer workers than ever are braving the morning commute. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 5 American workers spend some or all of their workday in the comfort of their own home. But even as telecommuters rejoice in having such freedom, many workplaces are still reluctant to adopt telecommuting policies.

In fact, there are valid reasons for workers to come into the office. For example, potentially insecure home devices and networks might create vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit to steal company data. Also, some workers who aren’t closely supervised might slack off, reducing overall business productivity and lowering profits.

However, with effective training and policy-making, businesses can ensure that their telecommuting workers are both secure and productive. HR managers and other business leaders can use this guide to ease their fears about telecommuting and improve their businesses one home-based worker at a time.

Security

The jaw-dropping security breaches of 2015 and 2016 may be behind us, but businesses continue to experience data leaks every week. At least half of all American businesses, big and small, have experienced some type of cyberattack, so many business leaders are locking down operations to keep their data as secure as possible. In many cases, this means prohibiting telecommuting.

However, any security policy that places undue restrictions on worker behavior is not a policy that will last. Over time, workers will grow annoyed at overbearing security and find ways around protocols, especially when those protocols feel intrusive or prohibitive. Also, such intensive security measures are hardly more effective than installing effective Internet security software and enforcing strict password rules.

Instead of prohibiting telecommuting, businesses should work to build secure platforms that keep their data safe regardless of where their workers are located. Businesses can institute network policies (for example, no public connections allowed) and devices (security software must be installed). The key is to be aware of potential insecurities and address them appropriately so that both remote workers and businesses will remain safe.

Productivity

Often shadowed by security concerns is the suspicion that employees won’t work as hard if no one is watching them. But research has consistently shown that workers don’t match their in-office activity ― they surpass it.

A study by Stanford found that employees who work from home are typically between 13 and 22 percent more efficient, completing tasks faster and with fewer errors than their office-bound colleagues. Additionally, census data shows that telecommuters tend to log between five and seven more hours per week than those lodged in the workplace, and telecommuters rarely stop working when they are sick.

Reasons for this increased productivity are myriad:

  • Workers can start work earlier and work later because they don’t need to spend time traveling.
  • Workers can avoid interruptions from coworkers, bosses, and colleagues while they work.
  • Workers can take more frequent, shorter breaks throughout the day as needed rather than forcing breaks into company-sanctioned times.
  • Workers have more control over their daily schedules, which boosts motivation.

The issue of productivity is often closely tied to teamwork and collaboration, as many employers envision teams meeting around a conference table to develop ideas in a shared space. But in reality, most teams that share an office rarely meet face-to-face. Telecommuters can collaborate just as effectively using appropriate tools. There are dozens of digital collaboration tools available online, many of which are free to use, that enable telecommuters to collaborate successfully on virtually any project.

Major benefits of telecommuting

Productivity and security aren’t the only benefits of telecommuting. Other benefits include cost savings, higher retention rates, better talent, and a cleaner environment.

Businesses can save astonishing amounts of cash by enabling telecommuting. Telecommuting can help businesses reduce office size, investments in office supplies (especially expensive technology), and utility bills. In fact, the average business could save more than $11,000 by simply allowing employees to work from home for just half the year.

Employees who have the option to telecommute tend to show greater enthusiasm and motivation, even those who rarely indulge. Higher employee engagement results in less turnover, as employees are loathe to abandon flexible, compassionate employer for unknown prospects. And because telecommuting is a coveted benefit, the business will attract more qualified workers, improving the quality of the overall workforce.

Finally, telecommuting keeps more people off the roads, which reduces noise and air pollution. In fact, environmentalist groups suggest that increased telecommuting could keep tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. With the right technology and the right attitude, telecommuters could save the world.

For more insight on telecommuting, see You’re Already A Telecommuter—But Does Your Company Know It?

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Tiffany Rowe

About Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high-quality content that readers will find valuable.

5 Reasons To Consider Managed Detection And Response For Cybersecurity

Dakota Murphey

There was once a time when you could install a firewall and say with relative confidence that your business was protected from cyber attacks. But as hackers, crackers, and cybercriminals get smarter, businesses need to invest more resources to keep data secure. This had led to increased demand for managed detection and response (MDR) services.

These services monitor your computer system at all times, detecting and neutralizing potential threats before they can become a big problem. Here are five reasons that you should consider investing in MDR.

1. Increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks

It is unfortunately true that cyber attacks get more sophisticated every day. Many businesses, large and small, have suffered data theft, ransomware attacks, and more as they relied on defenses that had simply become ineffective against the problem. In some cases, businesses were alerted to breaches and data loss only long after the incident had occurred and there was nothing they could do about it.

2. Inadequate in-house expertise

Small businesses are especially at risk because they are unlikely to have a skilled IT team in house. Even those with a dedicated IT support team are unlikely to have the kind of cybersecurity expertise required to prevent cyber attacks 24×7.

3. Incoming GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply in the EU from May 2018 and is set to have major ramifications. GDPR essentially put much stricter controls on how personal data is collected and stored. Additionally, however, there are much harsher punishments that will be imposed on businesses that lose key customer data. Fines are set to increase massively, which could mean that cyber attacks affecting businesses can have major financial implications beyond the inherent impact of business disruption and potential reputational damage.

4. The risk of being an easy target

According to Gartner, detection and response is going to become the most important form of cybersecurity for businesses by 2020. As companies upgrade their defenses and put new systems in place, they become harder to hack. The knock-on effect is that cybercriminals are less likely to target businesses with powerful defenses and instead will focus their efforts on those with outdated security. Those companies that don’t invest as soon as possible will find themselves behind the curve and make themselves an easy target.

5. A good investment

A service like MDR is able to detect a huge range of different cyber threats and deal with them appropriately. When you have MDR in place, you will be immediately notified of any threats, and cybersecurity experts can help you deal with the problem and provide advice. In short, MDR can save your business a significant amount of time and money that you would otherwise have to spend dealing with problems after suffering an attack.

Learn more about the importance of strong defenses in The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.

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Dakota Murphey

About Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is a tech writer specialising in cybersecurity, working with Redscan on this and a number of other GDPR, MDR, and ethical hacking projects.

Cybercrimes Now Force Rethinking Public Safety And Security

Mohammed Karzoun

Public safety and security is a conceptual dynamic that hinges on the perception of the community related to the well-being of the people. At its core is the way individuals perceive and identify with threats and how authorities respond to those threats. This contemporary paradigm has the potential to create a safer world by effectively utilizing cutting-edge technology and advances.

Public safety agencies are operating in a fast-changing world. Evolving citizen expectations for safety and trust, new threats and patterns of crime, and increasing pressure to improve operational efficiency are driving a re-imagining of public policy. Should public safety leadership focus on fighting crime efficiently? Or should it focus on gaining public trust? Forward-thinking public safety leaders realize that to build legitimacy they must improve crime prevention and public trust. Police technology and digital applications offer public safety leaders ways to do both.

Criminals are becoming smarter, more technologically advanced – even collaborating in what’s called “Crime as a Service.” New patterns of crime are surfacing, such as organized crime, terrorism, drug production and distribution, human trafficking, and cybercrime. Public safely agencies need to work hand-in-hand with citizens to be steps ahead of the criminals.

The difficulty arises when considering the diversity of communities, often conveying contradictory priorities, demands, and concerns. This results in a complex policing model, where each facet has to be covered adequately and differently. Digital policing needs to encompass transformative solutions that are as much about citizens feeling secure and protected as apprehending offenders.

Cybercrime investigations adapt to the changing archetype

The increasingly sophisticated criminality of cybercriminals ensures that modern communities are facing an ever-changing and evolving threat to public safety, in the form of terrorism, conflicts, and the malicious use of technology. The continuously increasing frequency, scale, and severity of cyberattacks must be fought on the same turf.

Embracing the power of real-time analytics and situational awareness, wrong-doers can be identified based on the cornucopia of data generated daily and in real time.

  • Solutions can be found by using this data to identify and subsequently eliminate threats. By integrating various databases from different agencies and cross-referencing information for possible criminal activities, government can effectively derive meaning and take action against these crimes, often preemptively.
  • Cybercrime investigation management needs to take a holistic approach, from beginning to end. To ensure human resource capability and competence, investments must be made into front-line empowerment with skills such as investigative case management.
  • Incident response time is an important factor when garnering community support, and all incidents. Internal and external events and emergencies must receive a prompt response. Situational awareness is essential, supporting officers’ ability to sense, analyze, predict, and act with immediate effect.
  • Cybercrime units are at the forefront of forensic investigation and must be trained to comply with correct and legally binding methods for evidence collection. The benefits of a functional, successful cybercrime investigative unit will have far-reaching consequences, in that it can process cases faster, improving the ends of justice.

Digital government can protect our children

Society must do all it can to protect our children from those who exploit technology to create misery, loss, and ruin. Digital and real-time technology should be used to detect, deny, deter, and disrupt predators.

Governments can use technologies to develop strategies, programs, and policies to protect children and achieve predictive real-time situational awareness with effective operational models.

Social media analysis, especially in contemporary society, is a valuable platform for providing leads and investigative trails against child predators. Sentiment analysis – determining emotional responses and feelings based on text or words – is also invaluable in the investigative procedure, as it can facilitate behavior prediction and insights into criminal activities.

The future of public safety

Digital policing epitomizes the future of public safety, providing heightened awareness, better risk mitigation, improved situational awareness, and enhanced threat anticipation. All will lower the crime rate and effectively reduce the impact of emergencies and disasters.

Technology can improve preparedness, which is demonstrated by increased operational capacity, better adaptability and agility, reduced response time, and, consequently, reduced risks and threats.

Real-time solutions and technologies can support public security agencies by connecting local, vital information – such as traffic, police cases, crimes, disasters, social media, and public events – and making them available in real-time so law enforcement can sense, analyze, predict, and respond effectively and efficiently to prevent crime and protect citizens. Efficient security response and technology capabilities result in improved trust and respect for authorities.

Superior incident resolution, better detection rates, and reduced time to justice all positively affect the community, and digital policing embodies this ethos.

Cybercrime is a bottom-line concern. See The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.

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Mohammed Karzoun

About Mohammed Karzoun

Mohammed Karzoun is the Industry Leader for Public Sector at SAP. He manages government, smart cities, healthcare, public security, defense, higher education, and postal services sectors across the United Arab Emirates and Oman. With 20 years of experience in primarily public sector transformation, Mohammed has been engaged with multiple government entities to help drive their strategies and digital transformation initiatives.

Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences

Kai Goerlich

 

Google Cardboard VR goggles cost US$8
By 2019, immersive solutions
will be adopted in 20% of enterprise businesses
By 2025, the market for immersive hardware and software technology could be $182 billion
In 2017, Lowe’s launched
Holoroom How To VR DIY clinics

From Dipping a Toe to Fully Immersed

The first wave of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is here,

using smartphones, glasses, and goggles to place us in the middle of 360-degree digital environments or overlay digital artifacts on the physical world. Prototypes, pilot projects, and first movers have already emerged:

  • Guiding warehouse pickers, cargo loaders, and truck drivers with AR
  • Overlaying constantly updated blueprints, measurements, and other construction data on building sites in real time with AR
  • Building 3D machine prototypes in VR for virtual testing and maintenance planning
  • Exhibiting new appliances and fixtures in a VR mockup of the customer’s home
  • Teaching medicine with AR tools that overlay diagnostics and instructions on patients’ bodies

A Vast Sea of Possibilities

Immersive technologies leapt forward in spring 2017 with the introduction of three new products:

  • Nvidia’s Project Holodeck, which generates shared photorealistic VR environments
  • A cloud-based platform for industrial AR from Lenovo New Vision AR and Wikitude
  • A workspace and headset from Meta that lets users use their hands to interact with AR artifacts

The Truly Digital Workplace

New immersive experiences won’t simply be new tools for existing tasks. They promise to create entirely new ways of working.

VR avatars that look and sound like their owners will soon be able to meet in realistic virtual meeting spaces without requiring users to leave their desks or even their homes. With enough computing power and a smart-enough AI, we could soon let VR avatars act as our proxies while we’re doing other things—and (theoretically) do it well enough that no one can tell the difference.

We’ll need a way to signal when an avatar is being human driven in real time, when it’s on autopilot, and when it’s owned by a bot.


What Is Immersion?

A completely immersive experience that’s indistinguishable from real life is impossible given the current constraints on power, throughput, and battery life.

To make current digital experiences more convincing, we’ll need interactive sensors in objects and materials, more powerful infrastructure to create realistic images, and smarter interfaces to interpret and interact with data.

When everything around us is intelligent and interactive, every environment could have an AR overlay or VR presence, with use cases ranging from gaming to firefighting.

We could see a backlash touting the superiority of the unmediated physical world—but multisensory immersive experiences that we can navigate in 360-degree space will change what we consider “real.”


Download the executive brief Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences.


Read the full article Swimming in the Immersive Digital Experience.

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Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation. Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu

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Jenny Dearborn: Soft Skills Will Be Essential for Future Careers

Jenny Dearborn

The Japanese culture has always shown a special reverence for its elderly. That’s why, in 1963, the government began a tradition of giving a silver dish, called a sakazuki, to each citizen who reached the age of 100 by Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Elders Day), which is celebrated on the third Monday of each September.

That first year, there were 153 recipients, according to The Japan Times. By 2016, the number had swelled to more than 65,000, and the dishes cost the already cash-strapped government more than US$2 million, Business Insider reports. Despite the country’s continued devotion to its seniors, the article continues, the government felt obliged to downgrade the finish of the dishes to silver plating to save money.

What tends to get lost in discussions about automation taking over jobs and Millennials taking over the workplace is the impact of increased longevity. In the future, people will need to be in the workforce much longer than they are today. Half of the people born in Japan today, for example, are predicted to live to 107, making their ancestors seem fragile, according to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, professors at the London Business School and authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity.

The End of the Three-Stage Career

Assuming that advances in healthcare continue, future generations in wealthier societies could be looking at careers lasting 65 or more years, rather than at the roughly 40 years for today’s 70-year-olds, write Gratton and Scott. The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

It will be replaced by a new model in which people continually learn new skills and shed old ones. Consider that today’s most in-demand occupations and specialties did not exist 10 years ago, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum.

And the pace of change is only going to accelerate. Sixty-five percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist, the report notes.

Our current educational systems are not equipped to cope with this degree of change. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is outdated by the time students graduate, the report continues.

Skills That Transcend the Job Market

Instead of treating post-secondary education as a jumping-off point for a specific career path, we may see a switch to a shorter school career that focuses more on skills that transcend a constantly shifting job market. Today, some of these skills, such as complex problem solving and critical thinking, are taught mostly in the context of broader disciplines, such as math or the humanities.

Other competencies that will become critically important in the future are currently treated as if they come naturally or over time with maturity or experience. We receive little, if any, formal training, for example, in creativity and innovation, empathy, emotional intelligence, cross-cultural awareness, persuasion, active listening, and acceptance of change. (No wonder the self-help marketplace continues to thrive!)

The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

These skills, which today are heaped together under the dismissive “soft” rubric, are going to harden up to become indispensable. They will become more important, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will usher in an era of infinite information, rendering the concept of an expert in most of today’s job disciplines a quaint relic. As our ability to know more than those around us decreases, our need to be able to collaborate well (with both humans and machines) will help define our success in the future.

Individuals and organizations alike will have to learn how to become more flexible and ready to give up set-in-stone ideas about how businesses and careers are supposed to operate. Given the rapid advances in knowledge and attendant skills that the future will bring, we must be willing to say, repeatedly, that whatever we’ve learned to that point doesn’t apply anymore.

Careers will become more like life itself: a series of unpredictable, fluid experiences rather than a tightly scripted narrative. We need to think about the way forward and be more willing to accept change at the individual and organizational levels.

Rethink Employee Training

One way that organizations can help employees manage this shift is by rethinking training. Today, overworked and overwhelmed employees devote just 1% of their workweek to learning, according to a study by consultancy Bersin by Deloitte. Meanwhile, top business leaders such as Bill Gates and Nike founder Phil Knight spend about five hours a week reading, thinking, and experimenting, according to an article in Inc. magazine.

If organizations are to avoid high turnover costs in a world where the need for new skills is shifting constantly, they must give employees more time for learning and make training courses more relevant to the future needs of organizations and individuals, not just to their current needs.

The amount of learning required will vary by role. That’s why at SAP we’re creating learning personas for specific roles in the company and determining how many hours will be required for each. We’re also dividing up training hours into distinct topics:

  • Law: 10%. This is training required by law, such as training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Company: 20%. Company training includes internal policies and systems.

  • Business: 30%. Employees learn skills required for their current roles in their business units.

  • Future: 40%. This is internal, external, and employee-driven training to close critical skill gaps for jobs of the future.

In the future, we will always need to learn, grow, read, seek out knowledge and truth, and better ourselves with new skills. With the support of employers and educators, we will transform our hardwired fear of change into excitement for change.

We must be able to say to ourselves, “I’m excited to learn something new that I never thought I could do or that never seemed possible before.” D!

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