Empty bench at railway station

How preparing tech now can minimise impact of transport strikes

Image credit: Paop/Dreamstime

With industrial action set to continue affecting Britain’s rail network, how can businesses limit the consequences while maintaining security?

Another set of rail strikes that took place on 1, 5 and 8 October impacted the UK economy, with many businesses facing financial consequences. And with further strikes on Avanti West Coast services already scheduled for late October and early November, an acceptable deal for both parties does not appear to be forthcoming.

To minimise the impact of industrial action, businesses need to pinpoint vulnerable areas that strikes will uncover, acting swiftly to address these shortcomings. Those that plan thoroughly will reap the benefits, experiencing little to no downtime while at the same time keeping the door firmly shut against bad actors seeking to take advantage of the situation.

Any immediate changes introduced to limit the immediate financial impact will also have a positive effect in the long run. It is the businesses who refuse to change that will see their output hindered with each additional day of strike action that is announced.

Technology holds the key to implementing changes that will limit disruption, and organisations should explore all potential options to determine the best solutions for their needs. The businesses who find the right combination of new tech will have no cause for concern, adapting to survive on days where the office is out of bounds.

Rail strikes brutally expose businesses that do not have a reliable, efficient and easily accessible remote-working network for all employees. If staff are unable to make it to work and aren’t equipped to perform their day-to-day role as a result, there is an immediate waste of resources and a financial hit.

Furthermore, if workers cannot access the necessary resources or files when they are away from the office, this will have a direct impact on efficiency and will translate to monetary losses.

Remote working has been a prominent topic for a few years, and you would expect all organisations for whom this is possible to have their WFH strategy functioning without a hitch. However according to XpertHR, the reality is that 95 per cent of businesses have encountered challenges implementing a hybrid working model.

Organisations should rise to this challenge by promoting the use of collaborative tools. This will facilitate clear communication between teams, even with staff away from their desks, so information is not misrepresented and no costly blunders are made.

Businesses should also employ an innovative document-management strategy that makes all files accessible, regardless of whether employees are on-site or working remotely. By doing so, data won’t be stuck on office desktops or in filing cabinets, eliminating bottlenecks resulting from an inability to access crucial files.

Businesses should have a heightened awareness of the very real threat of ransomware attacks, with bad actors looking to take advantage during periods of disrupted activity.

According to recent research, ransomware attacks now impact one in 40 organisations every week, a rise of 59 per cent from the previous year, with geopolitical tension and the prevalence of remote work pinpointed as key factors responsible for this increase.

When employees are lured away from the safety of the office, cyber criminals view the move as a prime opportunity to strike. The disruption caused by industrial action will raise the threat of ransomware attacks, so businesses must ensure they are appropriately protected.

The cost of a ransomware attack can be extremely damaging, as businesses will suffer from downtime tending to data breaches. Additionally, news of a ransomware attack can negatively impact an organisation’s reputation, meaning businesses affected may haemorrhage customers in the wake of a breach, another severe drain on profits.

Employees often use their own devices when working from home, making them far easier targets for cyber criminals, with breaches due to malpractice increasingly likely away from the watchful eyes of more experienced colleagues. To neutralise this risk, businesses should equip all workers’ devices with a safe and secure document-management platform, to ensure private information isn’t saved on hard drives with minimal protection, where it could easily fall into the wrong hands.

During this turbulent period of strikes, recession, and an energy crisis, clients want to know that the business they are paying for a service won’t crumble at the first sign of adversity.

Businesses can reassure clients that they are undeterred by strike action if they grant access to specific files, where the client can actually view the work that is being done. This makes it abundantly clear that companies are effectively negotiating any disruptions, and that productivity isn’t diminishing just because the office is out of reach.

The organisations that successfully negotiate the impacts of strike action will be those that are best prepared, with clients none the wiser to any potential issues that have been navigated.

If businesses take time to identify the technology that can shore up remote-working models and keep valuable information safe, they will experience very few financial impacts as a result of strike action.

Colin Dean is major accounts director at M-Files.

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