COVID-19 has become a global concern as it continues spreading and shaking the very balance of human lives. The pandemic has completely transformed the way we live, work, and use technology.
While the virus has swept across the globe prompting lockdowns and a sharp drop in economic activity, several companies have come forward to help nations leverage technologies and their expertise to combat this outbreak.
By mustering resources at our disposal and deploying the technology, we can help enterprises in mitigating the effects of the virus to a significant extent without compromising the delivery of work.
This blog will attempt to highlight the best use of technology for helping organizations gain a competitive advantage in such unprecedented times-
Embrace Technology To Counteract the Effects of Virus On Your Business
Following is the compiled list of technologies that can be leveraged to combat the current situation-
The global coronavirus pandemic has led to an environment where malicious cybercriminals can easily use social engineering. It is an umbrella term comprising phishing, pharming, and other types of manipulation to trick people into divulging personal information or other confidential data to exploit a company, in addition to more typical cybersecurity threats.
Combatting from such cyber-security threats requires companies to manage the typical elements of endpoint security, enhanced monitoring, and system validation, identifying and accessing control, and intrusion detection and prevention systems.
However, the risk can only be mitigated when all the employees and patterns go through security awareness training that provides education, training, and testing for phishing, ransomware, and other types of security breaches.
With the pandemic gathering pace and affecting markets and businesses of all shapes and sizes, CIOs should take necessary steps to ensure their datacentres and cloud setups are fully equipped to deal with the sudden spike in remote working.
Artificial intelligence and Machine learning also can be game-changing technologies in reducing cyber-threats. Their tremendous intelligence and power to fight against such malicious actors will put a stop to data losses and disruption in the business world, both in monetary terms and in damage to their reputations.
AI and ML can effectively detect cybersecurity threats and anomalies immediately to prevent attacks. ML can analyze large sets of data and identify suspicious patterns instantly. Automatic updates to existing software based on sophisticated analysis by ML and AI can hinder cybersecurity attacks extensively.
Large email providers are leveraging deep learning techniques to prevent violent images, scan comments, detect malware, and fraudulent payments.
Additionally, here are some tips that both companies and employees should follow religiously to ensure security-
A. Clear the policies and guidelines for your employees to follow when working from home
B. Roll out an action plan for employees when they return to the office
C. Incident response and handling should be in place
D. Training or certification for employees should be an indispensable part to ensure
For the employee
a. Abide by the company’s security protocols and policies
b. Don’t fall prey to open wifi connections. Use a wired connection, if possible.
c. Use two-factor authentication for personal as well as work accounts
d. When dealing with customer data, always make sure that you are following relevant data protection policies
- Cloud adoption
With professionals across the globe embracing remote working, cloud solutions are going to make a huge difference to their business continuity. As people are using the internet and cloud environment diligently, organizations have already started upgrading their remote work infrastructure and applications. While those who were not familiar with remote working are also rushing now to create one software infrastructure to keep their business up and running.
Cloud computing is an essential part of those organizations that seek agility, scalability, flexibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness to deliver value to their customers. Besides fueling the digital transformation of organizations, cloud infrastructure allows them to move their workloads swiftly and adapt to changing demands in minimal time.
This facilitates businesses to focus on faster innovation, maintain an edge against competitors, and reduce costs while tapping on potential customers at lower acquisition expenses.
Further, businesses can also benefit from various service offerings of the cloud and instantly scale up or down and pay on a per-use basis. Employees can also easily collaborate and connect through cloud services to share vital corporate resources and assets from anywhere in the world.
Cloud services reduce the risk percentage of downtime and data loss and rather improve service quality. With crucial services and data hosted remotely in a secure and redundant collocation facility, a company can face a power outage or natural disaster without data loss.
In such a scenario, companies can quickly restore from backups and even continue with their operations remotely while the physical offices remain inaccessible.
- Mobile apps to ensure employees’ safety
The Indian government has launched an app, “Aarogya Setu”, that aims to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus across the country.
It is designed to keep users informed about their chances of catching the disease based on how close in proximity they’ve been to an infected person or a person suspected of being infected.
Users can register on the app with their phone numbers and enter their location to check if their area falls under red, orange, or green area, while red being most affected and green the safest.
It makes people aware of others whom they are sharing their house, classroom, and office with, and if there is any patient of coronavirus present around.
Similarly, Srijan Technologies also developed a COVID-19 self-risk assessment app that uses chatbot and facilitates users to analyze the risks and symptoms of COVID--19.It is effective in identifying undiagnosed patients as per the WHO guidelines without them visiting the hospitals or exposing themselves to the potential virus.
- Solving fake news problem with AI
To provide the latest information about the outbreak, many social media networks started disseminating fake and misleading information related to disease statistics and prevention.
Many journalists and researchers have also reported a great amount of such fake news cases being spread about the disease’s origin to false claims about miracle cures.
Given this, Facebook realized that manually checking the facts cannot solve this problem especially when there are trillions of users’ posts to handle almost every other day. And so, it turned to AI to address the issue.
AI can be used to evaluate words or patterns of words to highlight fake news stories. AI is helpful as it learns behavior quickly through pattern recognition, thereby helping in detecting false or misleading information on the internet with the utmost accuracy.
Telemedicine has revamped the way patients are consulted, treated, and so the way doctors do business.
A large number of people are now switching to telemedicine to avoid overwhelming hospitals with an unstoppable amount of patients.
Telemedicine has not only aligned the diagnosis process but has also made the treatment much faster and convenient. Patients simply need to login to the app, describe their symptoms, and wait for a doctor’s consultation virtually.
For instance, the Xuhui public hospital, Shanghai has even consulted patients that were as far as in Tibet and France.
The USA is also focusing on telemedicine to safely screen and treat patients from remote places. The Rush University Center in Chicago recently set up a virtual medical line to help screen patients for coronavirus.
- Video call applications and tools for everyone
Video calls have become a priority now while being confined and ensuring connect even with those beyond the four walls.
Some prominent applications that support video calls are-
c. Google Hangout
These applications and tools are of great use to organize team meetings for remote employees and for those also who stay alone - just to be in touch with friends and family.
The last few weeks have witnessed so many workshops, seminars, conferences, virtual get-togethers, and birthday parties getting organized seamlessly, etc.
Furthermore, the teachers are also using video conferencing tools to deliver lessons through live-streaming and pre-recorded classes. Brick and mortar schools, stores, and institutes are also exploring this new horizon to impart education online.
- Mandatory on-the-job medical screening could become the norm
Health experts predict that on-the-job medical screening such as temperature checks and antibody tests should become a regular practice for those who have returned to work or will return in the months ahead.
To combat the spread of coronavirus among other employees, thermal imaging devices can be put to use to detect if a person’s body temperature is normal or higher than normal.
Having the ability to scan the large crowd and spot individuals with high fever temperatures, thermal scanners come in handy as they efficiently detect high temperatures which otherwise checking individually with thermometers could have been a nightmare and may even lead to delays in operations.
While using technology can bring its own set of challenges coupled with this pandemic, many organizations might either end up responding to it or putting their survival at risk!
Technology can be of great help to mitigate some of the concerns of virtual work. So, it advisable to be wise for all leaders to start thinking about agility now, in advance of the next black swan.
Let technology be your silver lining in the fight against this deadly coronavirus!