Trends and Facts About Remote Working in Singapore

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Around eight in 10 Singapore businesses allow their employees to work from home, while nine in 10 public sector employees have the opportunity to work remotely. The desire for a greater work/life balance, the recruitment of remote workers by large businesses, and advances in technology mean that many teams – including marketing-focused ones, can work efficiently despite their components being in more than one office.

There is one thing about remote working, however, than can have a negative effect on marketing campaigns – cyber security threats, which could threaten sensitive data and hamper or block the efforts of hardworking marketing teams.

Security Breaches and E-Mail Marketing

The security lapses employees can experience when working from home, represent one of the most significant threats to cybersecurity. Cyber criminals can break into an employee’s computer by entering their Wi-Fi network for instance, and e-mail viruses can enable hackers to obtain access to vital data on clients. E-mail plays an important role in the marketing strategies of dedicated teams across the globe.

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Approximately 59% of B2B marketers report that e-mail is their most effective marketing channel for generating revenue. E-mail also plays a big role in B2C marketing, with research showing that consumers who buy items through e-mail spend significantly more than those who do not receive offers.

Additionally, consumers who are subscribed to a company’s e-mails are significantly more likely to share content on social media. Because e-mails are so important to marketers, efforts need to be made to ensure that data is kept private, and that employees are protected against phishing scams.

How can Remote Workers Put Data at Risk?

Remote workers may lack the antivirus and antispyware software that office computers may have as a matter of course. They may also lack elements like firewalls, and may fail to regularly back up data on their computers. Finally, their computers may be vulnerable to misuse, especially if they work on shared computers.

Their data may not be encrypted and they may not have security apps in function. These apps can help protect sensitive marketing/client information while employees are connected to public networks. Taking cyber breaches seriously is vital for marketing teams wishing to protect e-mail lists, sensitive information on business or clients, and intended strategies, safe from prying eyes.

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Bridging the Divide

There is no doubt that improvements in technology and shared workspace apps and networks will continue to fuel a desire for more opportunities for remote work. Currently, marketing teams work smoothly and reliably thanks to tools ranging from Slack, right through to Dropbox, Google Docs, and other networks.

However, marketing teams clearly need to establish ground rules for work-from-home employees and freelancers, so as to keep their sensitive data safe. Efforts should include the establishment of strict cyber security protocols. The latter should specify the type of encryption, backup system, security apps, etc, to be employed. 

Avoiding WiFi

Remote workers can theoretically work anywhere – including cafés and other WiFi-dependent spots. Employees should be told to work from the same home office or securite site. If this is impossible because employees tend to travel frequently, then the company will have to invest in VPN software, which will encrypt the remote workers’ traffic and help identify sources of infection.

Creating Automatic Updates

Any security software you rely on should be automatically updated by the software manufacturers. This will ensure that your sensitive marketing data is not subject to spyware and viruses that is more current than the software on the employee’s computer.

Google recently revealed how handy automatic updates can be. When the company announced that it had fixed a vulnerability found in Chrome, confirming that hackers had been availing of the bug, auto-updating software meant that users could rest assured. Automatic updating bypasses individual commitment to cyber security. It additionally ensures that marketing teams held up in meetings or travelling to meet clients don’t need to be vigilant for new announcements of security breaches.

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Individual Measures to Take

All remote workers need to be aware of how individual actions can inadvertently put clients and secret marketing strategies at risk. Those working in public places, meanwhile, may get up from their desk to have a cup of coffee, leaving their desktop visible to passers-by. A worker taking a sitting at a coffee shop and using their phone to work can fail to notice that someone is reading their data from behind their field of vision.

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Laptops are particularly risky because, should a worker leave a public spot for a moment to order something out of view or even to go to the restroom, data theft can occur in seconds with the simple use of a USB pendrive. Home security can also be a problem, since laptops and other devices can easily be stolen if a home is broken into. To ensure client information isn’t compromised, stored data should be encrypted. Finally, if remote workers use more than one device, they will need to follow all relevant protocols in each and every one.

That is, laptops, desktops, etc will need to have secure WiFi, VPN protection, encrypted drives, safely stored data, etc. Workers will also have to commit to regularly running anti-virus scans, blocking potentially dangerous sites, etc. on all devices used for work purposes. You can ensure they do this by asking them to contact you when updates have been completed, or by simply asking them to keep a log of updating activity.

Any cyber security plan set in motion to keep marketing data safe, should be comprehensive and include e-mail. After all, e-mail continues to be a key component of most successful marketing campaigns. Remote employees should receive strict instructions and receive employee cyber awareness training – even if this takes place online.

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Companies should also invest in quality anti-virus features for remote computers and encourage all employees to use complex passwords that are hard to duplicate.

Finally, remote workers should be educated on simple actions to avoid –  the list of no-nos includes using public WiFi, leaving devices unattended, and failing to encrypt sensitive data. This way, remote working need not pose bigger cyber security challenges than in-house computers.

Get in touch with us for professional digital marketing services in Singapore. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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