Given the ongoing headlines warning of new variants and stubbornly-high case counts, it may seem like the coronavirus pandemic will be with us forever. The reality is that with vaccines being distributed, an end to the COVID-19 crisis is in sight—even if it may still be months away.
This could mean relief from any number of financial or operational challenges facing your business. Or perhaps it will be a mere continuation of our new reality, albeit with a very different look and feel if you work in a still-thriving sector (and there are many) where your bottom-line has been largely spared since the pandemic took hold last March. Either way, your world has changed.
You likely have employees still working remotely, which may reflect a permanent organization-wide HR shift. You may occupy less commercial retail or office space, or hold the same leases, but simply have fewer staff or customers on-site. Perhaps you’ve been forced to close altogether due to the latest wave of lockdowns.
A common challenge faced by any business at the best of times is security—specifically, identifying vulnerabilities, addressing them, and then maintaining a secure operational environment at all times. COVID-19 has transformed the security equation for everyone. The ‘new normal’ is anything but when it comes to protecting your people, property, and assets.
As we slowly emerge from the reactive phase of the second wave of this crisis and take stock of the impact on our organizations, it’s vital to also conduct a strategic review of your security strategy and optimize it to align with your new business circumstances.
For example, the pandemic has shone a glaring spotlight on most organizations’ cybersecurity infrastructure—or lack thereof. An increasing number of companies have been hacked, their employees fooled into phishing scams, while some have even had their data ransomed, as cybercriminals leveraged the chaos of COVID to fill bank accounts with ill-gotten revenue. Consider taking this first step: work with a qualified cybersecurity firm to audit your systems and processes and fill any gaps. If yours is like most organizations, you could have many.
Next, think about your physical space. With fewer people working on-site, you likely have fewer eyes keeping watch over the figurative store—and that’s a potential security problem. It could be time to install better surveillance cameras or enhance live patrols. Because your work environment has likely changed and your operational requirements have evolved over the past year, a full reassessment of your security integration infrastructure is also recommended.
Your new security strategy will likely entail a combination of tactics. Now is the time to review security policies, procedures, and technology to make sure you’re fully covered.
Lastly, think about your workforce and workplace culture. Maybe you’ve changed staff over the past year and need to modify protocols to reflect a contraction or growth in your workforce. Perhaps the nature of the engagement with some employees or other stakeholders has changed since the start of COVID-19. If your organization is tasked with protecting them, either while they work remotely or on-site, how can your security strategy adapt and continue mitigating risk to the business?
There are many security points to consider, but no time to waste. Take an objective look at your security protocols and act now to prepare for the new post-COVID-19 business reality.
Winston Stewart, President and CEO Wincon Security
Winston Stewart is the President and CEO of Wincon Security, a Scarborough, Ont.-based security firm that has delivered property monitoring and protective services to retail, commercial, industrial and condominium clients across the Greater Toronto Area for more than 25 years. For more information, visit www.wincon-security.com