Lights out—from thriving campuses to a 100% remote workforce, security just took on a whole new meaning

Monica Nascimento, March 17 2020
6 mins

For many employers—and employees—the Covid-19 crisis represents the first time having to deal with a 100% remote workforce. As a result, executive teams are suddenly faced with the question, are we prepared?

  • Are we prepared to protect against cybercriminals?
  • Are we prepared to protect against physical security intrusions?
  • Are we prepared to provide employees with quick and simple security guidelines for reference while working from home?
  • Are we prepared to secure shuttered buildings?

Organizations around the world are suddenly faced with myriad ‘what if’ scenarios, all the while trying to maintain business operations.

I have worked remotely from a home-based office for quite some time. My business team is scattered around the world, and we have this security ‘thing’ down to a science. Still, it is only because we have the technology and protocols in place and are vigilant when it comes to protecting our company and the stakeholders we serve.

This said, if I were a betting person, I’d venture to say the majority of enterprise organizations—big and small—are not prepared. For this reason, I feel compelled to share a few tips. After all, this is a time to come together as one.

First, security doesn’t need to be compromised during this uncertain time. I believe it is possible to protect the health of your employees and, subsequently, their families without impacting the business or the security of your organization. It is easiest if we break it down into two areas of focus: cybersecurity—enabling employees to make smarter decisions to protect data while working remotely; and physical security—safeguarding your shuttered building(s) from intruders.

Protecting against cyber threats

Cybercriminals thrive in times of crisis and fear. And while it sounds logical, don’t click on links or download attachments; cybercriminals are clever and know how to impersonate both reputable organizations (e.g., the CDC) and people within your organization. Without the right protection, a company places all of its stakeholders at risk.

A startling number of employees admit to participating in risky online behaviors. Activities like:

  • not using VPNs,
  • allowing friends and family to use corporate devices,
  • re-using passwords,
  • opting to use mobile devices rather than corporate-approved devices to access business documents and information.

The potential risks from employees working at home for weeks on end may be significant. So how do you protect your organization and stop not just a few work-at-home employees but a whole workforce from taking shortcuts?

Education and training

And I’m not talking about your typical classroom education. I’m referring to training that is relatable and easy for your employees to understand. Training that will help your workforce break bad habits and adopt good practices through continual reinforcement.

As part of this process, it is also important that those tasked with monitoring and maintaining the cybersecurity of an organization have visibility into remote workers’ activity. Only by working together can we defend against cyber attacks—no matter where employees reside.

Protecting facilities against physical intrusion

Beyond the cyber threat, governments around the world have taken unprecedented action to mandate schools, places of worship, and businesses close facilities and/or limit face-to-face interaction. Events globally have been canceled or postponed. Whole cities have been brought to a grinding halt.

You don’t have to be Solomon to recognize the opportunity this presents the common criminal—bad actors just waiting for this very scenario.

However, the reality is that security doesn’t need to be compromised during this uniquely scary and hectic time. While employers and employees are trying to figure out what to throw into a briefcase for a month of working at home—they shouldn’t have to worry about whether the physical facility is going to be secure.

The security landscape has changed. Today organizations need to be prepared to predict and avoid threats rather than just document the damage. The good news is that machine learning and computer vision have taken video security to a whole new level. Today’s intelligent video security solutions allow organizations to monitor, understand, and act on their surroundings proactively. Just as the CDC is using data (globally) to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, innovation in cybersecurity and physical video security is using data to act on threats and to protect people, assets, and corporate reputations.

And while it may not be realistic to think a full-blown security program can be implemented before everyone leaves the building, organizations can be proactive and set the wheels in motion now.

For cybersecurity, I encourage you to check out this link for immediate piece-of-mind. I also suggest this post from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) specifically on how to be vigilant for scams related to Covid-19.

For physical security, I encourage you to take advantage of our security experts. No strings attached.

I look forward to sharing more insights from the trenches in the days and weeks ahead. And I welcome connecting to talk more in real-time at

This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.