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Post-Pandemic Challenges & Digital Considerations

The covid-19 pandemic has brought an international, cross-sector revolution in the business world. A lot of businesses have not only survived but learned to adjust to the pandemic challenges. 

Remote work has increased in 2020. Across the US, half of the workforce was working remotely at the peak of the pandemic. Statistics are similar across the world. Organisations have needed to embrace rapid digital transformations to adapt to a virtual work environment. 

Additionally, professionals who have been unable to work during the pandemic have also been looking at online solutions to develop their career. Digital startups, online freelancing and remote contracting have also increased significantly during lockdown and self-isolation. 

The bottom line: A wind of digital transformation is blowing across the business world. However, there can be digital initiatives without digital risks and cybersecurity challenges. How can businesses of all sizes approach the post-pandemic concerns safely and survive?

Can I hire internationally?

The move to a digital environment covers a variety of needs. The remote environment removes consideration for geographical location. From a business process perspective, it enables teams to work together regardless of where individual workers are based. Across companies, more and more digital activities are developing. As a result, businesses can grow their audience groups naturally, both inside and outside the office. For small organizations, embracing digital opportunities has an immediate impact on the talent pool. The recruitment radius becomes almost infinite as long as there is a stable and reliable Internet connection. In a remote environment, the best talent could be at the other end of the planet and it wouldn’t affect day-to-day business operations. 

Yet, this brings a new issue that companies never encountered in the past. What if the best person for the job lives abroad? Working remotely makes it possible. Companies can also build partnerships with long-term contractors, treating them like employees but without the payroll administration and taxes. From a legal approach, contracting avoids the hassle of international employment processes. Yet it fails to address a new challenge: how can businesses pay international contractors? As a small business, sending money abroad could be expensive, unless you can set up a multi currency business account. We can predict the rise of smart accounts and payment solutions such as Bitcoin that make the remote talent pool accessible. It becomes essential for businesses to consider safe options, as the growth in international transaction movements will attract cybercriminals. 

Should I use third-party programmes?

The digital boom means that many companies have needed to find new digital tech tools to support their new requirements. From new plug-ins to make a small website work harder during the pandemic to additional functions, the volume of data that companies processes has reached new records. However, who says data says data privacy protection. What is the business response to the accrued data protection requirements? 

Small businesses that don’t have a cybersecurity team rely on SSL encryption, a privacy policy and a public contact page. Yet, this isn’t enough. The rapid web presence growth has forced them to add third-party tools and plug-ins to their day-today processes. Third-party solutions may be cost-effective and performant, but they can lack data privacy requirements. Many collect data to improve customer experience. Unfortunately, some solutions also sell the collected data, which can expose your customers to data breach risks. 

Can I plan online live events?

For businesses that thrive on face-to-face interactions, the digital sphere can lack engagement. But while even planning is cancelled for the foreseeable future, online events remain a suitable alternative, whether you are streaming a live event or inviting your clients to a video call. Video calls have become so popular that solutions such as Zoom have reported record growth during the pandemic. The ability to reach out and talk to people as if you were in the same room preserves the customer relationship. However, it can come at a cost. Zoom, a pandemic favourite, has constantly exposed users to security and privacy problems throughout 2020. We’re not even a month into 2021, and the list of issues on the platform shows no sign of slowing down! Uninvited guests have been able to crash Zoom meetings. The Federal Trade Commission in the US reported that Zoom misled users about security. In 2020, cybercriminals could access private meetings by hacking their PIN codes. In short, businesses need to review their options to avoid imperilling private data. 

What’s the future for small businesses in a post-pandemic world? It is a tough question to answer. A lot of companies have been forced to embrace digital transformation rapidly and without much of a digital strategy. However, it’s time now to build cyber-literacy into the covid survival strategy and ensure that organisations know how to identify and manage the digital risks caused by the pandemic. We can safely say that remote working and shopping options are not going anywhere any time soon.

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