The coronavirus outbreak has created a trend throughout the business world and has prompted many global companies to ask their employees to work from home, dubbed the most effective method against the spreading illness. This is particularly the case in the epicenter, China, both in terms of business and education.
Global finance and technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Mastercard halted travel in the early stages of the crisis. After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic, each switched to home office work. Google also implemented its decision to work remotely in North America after Europe.
Meetings come to a halt
Arrangements for workers are being made to prevent the spread of the disease in Turkey and the world. After Turkey's Health Ministry announcement, meetings exceeding 25 people are being canceled. Companies do not want their foreign employees to come to work for 14 days after they return from abroad. Countries and cities that immediately implemented the decision to work remotely in Hong Kong, Singapore and China seem to be more successful in preventing the spread of the disease.
Here are some questions institutions must answer before implementing work-from-home offices: Can your employees access the resources they need from home? Think well if you are an institution that will answer this question as "yes" without hesitation. All critical communications such as phone, email, messaging and other tools are required for all employees to be part of the virtual team. In other words, employees should have the infrastructure to remotely access all the data they have when they are in the office. This practice also includes access to business applications and cloud services, as well as remote network access when needed.
The most critical data are web security, email security and endpoint protection. Do these continue to protect employees remotely? Cloud-based solutions are the key to expanding your security wherever your employees need to work.
Test in all conditions
In many different situations, when designing the ability to work remotely, you must make sure that it will work in all conditions. Moreover, does this situation work for an extended time, for example, a full week? Preparation means replacing these actions before the disaster, which in turn means that you will have time to test that it is working properly.
Remember, without the security provided through the cloud, you risk your business being compromised. Without ensuring safe remote work, your employees will not have the resources they need.
The first step is to determine what services you need to allow remote work. This usually includes access to email, remote phone access or anything that allows team communication, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. It allows you to share files on multiple devices and with multiple people using file synchronization and sharing. Working remotely on a common document actually saves time.
Home use to increase
Stating that home internet demand spikes during the winter months, Turkey's leading information and communication technologies company Türk Telekom CEO Ümit Önal said the demand could increase further with coronavirus developments, such as closing school buildings and more companies switching to remote work. Önal's remarks came after a meeting where the new face of Türk Telekom was introduced. He spoke of the spreading disease and preventative measures and provided information about Turkey's internet infrastructure and the precautions taken by the company.
"We made our preparations in case of companies working remotely and schools having possible breaks,” he said. “In the winter months, internet usage is increasing from home. We discuss with the public authorities what to do in distance education. We work for preparation for all kinds of scenarios. We have the necessary equipment to meet the additional loads that may arise for the increase of internet traffic.”
Stop traveling, work remotely
All companies must stop traveling unless it is mandatory. Companies should offer infrastructure for safe access to employees regarding remote working opportunities.
By training your employees, you can ensure data security with remote teams. You should regularly inform your teams how to identify phishing emails, as well as common computer rural strategies such as attacks that threaten personal data. A study by Cisco showed that 70% of data breaches in organizations are caused by employees who access something they shouldn't have.
Invest more in home office culture
Knowledge Experts Chief Executive Umut Aydın said the number of remote employees has increased by 140% in the last 15 years worldwide and that they expect that the number of companies employing only remote staff will increase from 16% this year to 33% in 2028, explaining what institutions without a home office culture should do in the event of a coronavirus outbreak or similar extraordinary situations.
“With the coronavirus epidemic, this momentum will increase even faster,” Aydın continued. “Today, we see that especially the companies of Central European origin have tried the scenarios in which they can urge all their employees to work from home within 24 hours when necessary. If things were to be solely based on technology, perhaps it would be possible to reach a point every two or three years with a smooth road map. But the dynamics of the home office are not in line with our current business culture.”
Habits must change
Indicating that primarily the business follow-up and audit elements should be addressed on the governance side and cultural change should be targeted in these areas, Aydın highlighted that the change of habits is the main point here, not the management practices.
“Today, technology-focused platforms are accessible to almost all Turkish companies. A proper digital workspace strategy should be created, and the necessary actions should be taken. Our companies use technology, but we have almost no application competence to benefit from technology,” he added. “We think that every platform that we purchase will see to our business. However, even in our companies, which we call corporate, the level of technology maturity remains in the 8-11% band. The rate of access to the information sought in the same segment with a technological platform is only 7%. At this point, besides technology suppliers, business organizations such as The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) and professional chambers also have important duties.”
Cybersecurity startups meet up at incubation center
As business and daily life have moved to the digital environment, cybersecurity measures have begun to become more critical. Cybersecurity startups are getting their first incubation center in Turkey at Teknopark Istanbul.
Teknopark Istanbul, the innovation center of the Turkish defense industry, is gearing up to host Turkey's first Cyber Security Incubation Center. The center, which will host startups that operate in the field of cybersecurity and carry out studies on deep technology-based cybersecurity ideas, is scheduled to become operational in 2021. Over TL 70 million ($11.2 million) has been invested for the center to be established in a 2,000-square-meter area in the Cube Incubation building, which is still under construction within the scope of the third-stage buildings of Teknopark Istanbul. The center, which will host entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial groups that operate in the field of cybersecurity and develop technology, aims to support 15 cybersecurity startups with international goals in six-month periods and 30 in a year. Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial groups will benefit from facilities such as offices, online/offline education, mentoring, laboratories, clean-room infrastructure and technical consultancy free of charge or at very low costs at the center.
Cybersecurity is critical all over the world. When we look at the statistics, there are 2,244 different cyber attacks every 35 seconds worldwide. In line with these rates, the need for cybersecurity experts increased by 700% worldwide between 2016-2019. Again, according to researches, our country is the fifth-most attacked in the world. All these figures require our country to develop its own cyber defense system. For this, local ideas need to be developed and supported. Teknopark Istanbul will work for our country to resist cyberattacks with domestic solutions at the center that will be established based on all of these analyses.