Today is May 1st, and as the federal government has lifted the shelter in place order, businesses in some states prepare to get back to work. In this week’s Weekly News Roundup, we’re focusing on business strategies for the future, lessons learned, how tech is fairing in the crisis, and what’s next in the world as we inch toward a post-crisis future.
How to Install a VPN Connection
For those who are choosing not to return to the office, security is more important than ever. Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) is a great way to protect privacy and business information for remote users, whether on their computer or on their phones. Business News Daily provides detailed information on your VPN options along with step by step instructions for how to install them on various devices you may be using remotely for your business. Read more from Business News Daily.
Coronavirus Lessons For National Cybersecurity. It’s The Boring Stuff, Stupid
In the context of national security, the COVID-19 outbreak has generated conspiracy theories of biological warfare. While most experts agree that this virus was not connected to biological warfare tactics, the effects of the pandemic call out the need for biosecurity preparedness and the lessons we as a nation might learn about what’s required of us during a massive public health crisis.
Sean Lawson, a cybersecurity contributor to Forbes, points out that it’s not a “cyber Pearl Harbor” we should be worried about. Something like COVID-19, a biosecurity issue, and the lessons learned as we push through it, is the perfect overlay to cybersecurity lessons we need to learn. While the military has played a critical role in the response to this pandemic, it’s the frontline healthcare professionals, public health agencies, state and local governments, and businesses that have borne the brunt.
What Lawson calls the “Boring Stuff” are things like access to PPE, ventilators, testing for those folks, in terms of biosecurity. In terms of cybersecurity, every individual in the country becomes a first responder. The “Boring Stuff” is maintaining proper cyber hygiene (using strong passwords, encryption, updating software, and recognizing phishing when you see it.) Read the whole article at Forbes.
Companies Reveal Their Plans for What Work Will Look Like When America Returns to the Office
US companies are strategizing how they might safely return their workers to offices across the country. Discover Financial, a 25,000 person company with offices that span from Arizona to Delaware, is making decisions for their staff based on location and duties. Certain areas that are at higher risk (likely due to population density and confirmed cases) will be slower to return to the office than those in areas with fewer cases.
Most companies concerned about keeping their workers safe are making basic changes to office set up as well. Open floor plans are giving way to the old cubicle structure, and schedules will stagger to reduce the number of people in the office at the same time. Everyone will be required to wear masks in the office and maintain the social distancing recommendations as much as possible when inside the office. Companies are considering requiring onsite testing for employees and visitors, as well as raising the bar for work travel as this global work-from-home experiment has revealed technology’s capability to replace in-person meetings with clients. Read more at Market Watch.
After Coronavirus: The Office of the Future Is the Office of the Past
As companies plan to bring their teams back into the office, floorplans are moving backward in time. The traditional walled cubicles shunned by the tech world in favor of close-quartered open floor plans designed not only to foster collaboration but to save square footage will return to offices across the country.
Other potential changes may include touchless elevator buttons, engineered one-way hallways to avoid crossing paths with others who may be infected at work, nightly disinfecting rituals, and better air filtration. Video conferencing, which has become the standard during COVID-19, will likely continue, leaving conference rooms vacant for the time being. Find out more details at CNBC Health and Science.
Tech Stocks Have Weathered the Coronavirus Panic, but Some Analysts Wonder if This Resilience Can Last
The pandemic has dramatically increased our reliance on technology, whether personally or professionally. With the nation’s professional workforce moving to home offices and social distancing requirements keeping us away from our loved ones, technology has literally saved the day. Because of the significantly increased demands, information technology is the second-best performing sector of the stock market right now.
Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors said, “Tech companies generate twice the revenue per employee than the rest of the market, and they deliver four times the profitability. That’s where you need to be despite the fact that valuations are elevated somewhat.”
The potential problem lays with a lack of funds for so many of the tech companies’ customer base. With more individuals and businesses defaulting on loans, rent, and even taxes, mostly due to record unemployment rates, tech companies on subscription services are likely to either have to allow for missed payments or temporarily reduce rates in order to maintain service lines. Get the full story at Market Watch.