8 sales motivation ideas and techniques to inspire your remote sales team

sales motivation ideas

Is your sales department struggling with motivation while working from home? Capterra reveals 8 sales motivation tips from experts in Australia.

sales motivation ideas

8 sales motivation tips to inspire remote sales teams

Lockdown rules may have relaxed a little with the government’s three-stage plan, but many offices remain closed. Most businesses in Australia have been able to continue their operations virtually through the implementation of remote work software. However, there is one thing that is much trickier to replicate from a home environment: Team camaraderie. 

Equipping sales reps with the software they need, such as a quality CRM platform or sales enablement tool, will certainly help drive productivity. However, most sales professionals are used to working off the energy in the room. Working alone can make staying motivated that much harder—especially if business opportunities are slower than usual.

To inspire flagging sales reps, we’ve gathered a list of tips and best practices from a collection of sales leaders already applying them in their own teams.

1. Use slower sales months to facilitate upskilling

The term ‘upskilling’ refers to the process of training staff with further skills to enhance their current capabilities and improve work performance. Sales departments who find themselves less busy than usual should use this time to hone in on the additional skills they need for the bounce back. 

In an office environment, sales managers can work from the same room as their team—giving them visibility over their employee’s skills gaps. When working from home, the opportunity to give spontaneous, in-person guidance isn’t available.

According to Roger Simpson, CEO from The Retail Solution, ‘helping and encouraging team members to grow is a huge motivator for most people, so this needs to continue while they work from home.’

Leaders need to have a conversation about sales training and upskilling with each team member and provide options for online learning as well as challenging team members to take ownership of this process themselves. 

– Roger Simpson, CEO at The Retail Solution

 

 

As well as using traditional online training platforms, team members can join internal mentoring groups, or be assigned an individual mentor to challenge them.

2. Keep conversations flowing with clients

Their ability to spend might be on hold, but it’s important not to allow conversations with clients to stop. If your team is struggling to come up with fruitful conversations with concerned clients, consider what value you could offer them without any kind of monetary transaction. 

One way of doing this is to make your team into a source for industry trends and market movements. This is what DXC Technology’s sales team have been practising during the lockdown.

Reach out to clients to understand how COVID-19 has disrupted their business. By gathering this feedback and analysing it, you can go back to customers with the common themes, prevailing sentiment and questions to keep them better informed on market movements.

– Tom Hammond, Industry Lead at DXC Technology

 

If a marketing department is available, they may also have the time and resources available to run market research too. These activities send a message to clients that you’re there to support them, but they also enable businesses to better align their solutions to the challenges clients are facing.

3. Make time for daily check-ins

More than ever, managers need to ensure they’re regularly checking in with employees and their wellbeing. After all, happy employees make for productive employees. Forbes reported that ‘happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.’ Similarly, Harvard Business Review (HBR) said happiness has an even greater impact on sales teams, raising sales by 37%

CEO of Lawn.com.au, Toby Schulz, suggests that managers should schedule weekly one-on-one time with individual team members. 

It’s crucial to have solo time with your employees. It gives them the chance to genuinely let you know how they’re faring and what areas they may need help with.

– Toby Schulz, CEO at  Lawn.com.au

 

 

A 30-minute window is a sufficient amount of time to problem-solve work issues, but also to lend an ear to their personal challenges. Video conferencing software works well in this instance, as you can hold a conversation face-to-face.

4. Stay connected (& have fun while doing it!)

Be it a birthday cake in the office or a company day out, it’s the small traditions that make staff feel like they’re a valued part of the team. But during times of change and increased stress, it can be easy for the things that help cultivate office culture to become an afterthought. 

According to Capterra research (which was run during the initial stages of Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown response), social connectedness is a prominent issue for staff working from home. This stat highlights why finding opportunities to stay connected is even more crucial for a remote team.

While lockdown rules enable small groups to meet now in public places, a safe space isn’t always available to facilitate an entire team. Additionally, a salesperson may not be isolating in the same location as the rest of the team. 

Here is where managers must be more creative with how they bring their sales team together.

Spend time on virtual team-building exercises, such as trivia, where you can break off into teams and engage inside channels to stimulate the feeling of comradery, even when you can’t physically be together.

– Madison Wappett, Sales Director at MiQ

 

 

With people spending the majority of their workday alone, it’s important to find ways to celebrate another work week together. 

5. Let them find their own work rhythm 

Another communication challenge Capterra’s remote work survey identified was employees experiencing too many digital messages. 27% of employees struggle with an overwhelming amount of information being communicated on their company channels. 

The average person takes about 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things after they’ve been interrupted, according to a study by the University of California Irvine. Disturbances not related to the task employees are working on are more distracting than ones on-topic. 

Considering these findings, it’s easy to see how the seemingly small interruptions could unintentionally take away a large amount of a person’s work day. It’s the role of the sales manager to ensure teams can work at peak productivity. 

According to Stephen Findley, Account Executive at Qwilr, the key to successfully managing a remote team is to allow them to work asynchronously. 

Allow your team to do their jobs uninterrupted for the vast majority of the day. They can then check their team’s collaboration tool for updates when they have a break.

– Stephen Findley, Account Qwilr

 

 

Create space for communication, without people feeling like they need to respond instantly. Managers should also monitor how they deliver key pieces of information to their team. A meeting that could have been an email may have been better spent talking to customers and prospects.

Selecting the right tools for remote communication:

6. Offer the right kind of sales motivation and celebrate wins

According to Brian Kropp from Gartner, celebrating success is even more important during periods of disruption. During change, an employee’s need for recognition increases by 30%. 

There are plenty of ways in which you can reward deserving employees. For example, recognition can be in the form of a monetary bonus, a pay rise or a promotion. These are good examples of extrinsic motivation methods. 

Intrinsic motivation focuses on motivating employees through ways that naturally satisfy them. For example, publicly acknowledging a sales rep lets them know the work they’re producing is meaningful. This is something that Joshua Strawczynski takes into account when managing his remote team at JMarketing.

People are often motivated far more by pride and recognition than they are any monetary reward. A good manager knows this and makes sure to publicly praise their team.

-Joshua Strawczynski, JMarketing

 

 

Positive reinforcement works well as a means to motivate employees in and out of the office. The idea is that it encourages them to continue delivering exceptional work. When a job well done goes unnoticed, it can have the opposite effect: Employees feel unappreciated and unmotivated.

7. Hold inspiration workshops

In our efforts to create rituals to keep sales teams motivated, our routine can sometimes become a little stale. Try mixing it up by bringing in external experts to hold inspiration workshops. 

James Norquay from Prosperity Media has been taking this approach. The objective is to help his reps take inspiration from people who have achieved success against the odds.

Bring in external experts for motivational talks on Zoom (or your company’s alternative). We had a Paralympic Star come on and share inspiring stories with the team. This has been a great way to motivate the team and keep everyone on track whilst working from home.

– James Norquay, Prosperity media

 

Video conferencing software acts as a practical way to host feel-good workshops to motivate flagging teams. 

8. Prepare them for a more flexible future

As Australia works towards a COVID-19 exit strategy, many businesses are beginning to consider what their team’s work environment and interaction will be like in six months. 

Chief Commercial Officer at Salesforce Australia, Ian McAdam, warns businesses that a lack of remote working options could work against them. From a recruitment and staff retention perspective, for example, he says businesses run the risk of losing sales talent to competitors willing to offer this flexibility.

Continuing to provide flexible working arrangements for employees will help maintain a positive culture and assist in retention. We expect retention to increase in importance as the economy regains pace and we enter into a new phase featuring a war for talent”

– Ian McAdam, Salesforce Australia

 

87% of Australian employees want their employer to extend their work-from-home policy after the lockdown ends. Of this number, 54% said they’d prefer a combination of office-based and home working with going to the office, while 33% said they don’t want to go back to the office. 

By making these decisions now, businesses will enable sales teams to work towards and mentally prepare for the next phase of COVID-19. It may also help ease any anxiety about transitioning back to ‘normal life.’

Looking for sales enablement software? Check out our catalogue.

Knowledge Management: A Guide To Knowledge Management & Tools

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is a concept many companies tend to overlook, simply due to a lack of awareness of what it is. It refers to the collating of internal company information to be made available to all departments and employees in one place at the same time.

Knowledge management

Knowledge management tools can be hugely beneficial in streamlining information storage and sharing for businesses, especially those with varied departments that use different tools and resources. 

In this article, we will outline the key advantages of knowledge management and share three of the best software options that deliver on this.

What is a knowledge management tool?

Before we dive in, let’s clarify the nature and function of knowledge management tools. The tool comprises a secure platform which lists all files containing company knowledge: PDFs, videos, procedures, presentations, etc.

A good tool will offer an efficient search engine, the possibility of classifying resources in a logical and structured manner, and different levels of authorisation and access. Some even integrate a text editor to create and modify files natively to avoid multiplying the software used.

The benefits of knowledge management tools

Knowledge management tools are useful for companies and their teams in a number of ways, but here are the main, notable benefits:

Centralise information

Knowledge management fundamentally bridges divides between departments, so everyone can benefit from shared access to the same information. Did you know, according to research, the time employees spend searching for files costs companies on average over AUD$10,000 per employee per year?

Knowledge management tools reduce the time spent desperately searching for that specific PDF file on that specific server. With this tool, all information is in one place and is logically structured. It’s a particular time-saver for employees who, for example, need to respond to customers quickly or track down information from a different department. 

Maintain knowledge acquired over the years

The way you work and the platforms you use within your business naturally evolve along with new trends and technological innovations. At times, employees may be using a version of something that is already out of date until it is updated business-wide. But with knowledge management, all employees have access to the latest version of the same information. This also safeguards from losing information when an employee departs.

Train current employees and newcomers

Knowledge management standardises the development of skills for current employees and the training of new recruits by giving everyone the opportunity to share their knowledge on a single platform. This centralisation and optimisation of knowledge allow teams to train and inform themselves more easily. Permanent access to this increases the learning capacity of newcomers who no longer depend only on training, as well as that of employees who may have changed departments. 

3 knowledge management tools 

We have selected three tools that meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum overall rating of 4/5 on GetApp
  • A high number of reviews
  • Free trial version
  • Proposes knowledge management directly for the internal (the collaborators), not just for the external (the customers).

The software is listed in alphabetical order.

Freshdesk

  • Overall rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,167 reviews)
  • Price: from $30 per user / month

Freshdesk’s knowledge management tool allows for the collecting, accessing and sharing of knowledge within an organisation, regardless of its size. It compiles articles enriched with multimedia content which are shareable in various languages, as well as collects user comments and defines authorisation levels.

It lists the questions and problems most frequently asked by customers and helps to standardise responses. Resolution time is thus reduced and employees can focus on more complex or new tasks. You can also translate a customer email detailing a solution into an article and share with the wider company.

Freshdesk knowledge management tool
Freshdesk Knowledge Base Screen Capture (Source)

Key features:

  • Multimedia content
  • Translation management
  • Reporting
  • Email integration
  • Collecting comments
  • Access control

Read more

SharePoint

  • Overall rating: 4.2 / 5 (2,801 reviews)
  • Price: from $8 per user / month
Microsoft Sharepoint knowledge management
SharePoint screenshot (Source)

SharePoint is Microsoft’s answer to knowledge management. Productivity is at the centre of the tool: the user benefits from practical functionalities such as notifications, approvals and libraries. The content also adapts to the user and offers suggested articles of interest. Plus an advanced and multilingual search function allows you to find information simply and quickly.

Naturally, the tool integrates easily into the Office suite and so allows you to work on the same article from several devices.

Key features:

  • Search engine
  • Collaborative workspace
  • SSL security
  • Classification in categories and subcategories
  • Access control
  • Reporting

Read more

Zendesk

  • Overall rating: 4.4 / 5 (2,365 reviews)
  • Price: from $8 per user / month
Zendesk knowledge management
Zendesk screenshot (Source)

Zendesk offers Zendesk Guide, which you can personalise to your needs: internal knowledge management, IT knowledge base, knowledge management for customer support agents, or FAQ directly accessible by customers.

Designed as a self-service portal, the tool will not only save time and energy but also offer teams the same access to shared information. Employees can, therefore, be more efficient and spend significantly less time on recurring problems, increasing customer satisfaction.

It can also centralise all information relating to human resources, which is a comfort for employees consulting sensitive information.

Key features:

  • Email integration
  • Communication with clients
  • Multimedia content
  • Content history
  • Automatic archiving
  • Access control

Read more

Knowledge management tools provide hugely helpful resources for organisations to centralise information and unify multiple collaborators and departments.

Looking for knowledge management software? Check out our catalogue

How to manage crisis communication when the unexpected happens

crisis communications

This crisis communication article was adapted from Capterra Brazil and translated into English.

In her latest article for Capterra, Laíze Damasceno demonstrates why businesses must have a crisis communication strategy. She also gives tips on how they can create their own crisis communication plan.

crisis communications

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) caused a global crisis in nearly every business sector, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were some of the most heavily affected. Many businesses learned for the first time how to communicate with their audience in times of unexpected crisis.

This article outlines practical guidelines and tips on the best ways to communicate with your employees and customers. The tips can be used even if your business doesn’t have a large communication and marketing department or established protocols (like the big brands.)

Crisis prevention manual

Here’s the golden rule: Regardless of the size of the business, every company needs a crisis prevention manual. It doesn’t have to be a complex document. You can create a lean manual with clear, practical guidelines for leaders, managers, and directors can turn to when unforeseen events happen. The leadership team must be prepared to speak with internal employees, stakeholders, customers, and public audiences. This includes having an adequate communication strategy for each channel.

Since the pandemic began, you may have noticed that, in general, companies use social media as their primary form of communication with the public. 

In many cases, this is because the company simply had no plan for a crisis, and therefore no crisis communication plan. They only began managing the issue when the pandemic had already begun.

Unfortunately, these businesses can’t go back in time and create a strategy for Coronavirus. But we can take a look at the current situation and create a plan for any future crises that may come. 

To help you build a crisis communication strategy, I conducted interviews with four experts on the subject. Together, we built a manual with four basic steps to help small and medium-sized businesses better communicate with their audiences in times of crisis.

1. Be transparent within the company and on social networks

Modern customers demand transparency from the businesses they support. But to be truly transparent, you must start at home—that is, with your employees.

Paulo Silvestre, a digital media consultant who was voted as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices Brazil, says “companies must focus on transparency and truth in their actions, empathy with others and solidarity. 

“The pandemic is making us look at more human values, and brands must embrace this in a genuine way and not just to ‘look beautiful in the picture’. In addition, you should always be close to your audience, creating actions to meet your needs within what the company produces,” he concludes. 

Paulo shared with me the following tips:

  • Know the needs of the public well and how you can meet them. Focus your communication on that.
  • Use your audience’s language.
  • Operate on the same social networks your audience uses most.
  • Demonstrate the company’s values ​​and how it impacts your communication and marketing actions.
  • Invest in the production of content, tailoring them to the different social media platforms you are using. But always put the focus on customer needs. Remember, they want to solve their problems.

Silvestre adds that “in times of crisis, understanding the other is a duty”.

2. Reinvent yourself in digital culture

Reinventing yourself in the context of digital culture is a major challenge for many companies. But due to social-distancing restrictions, a digital presence is more important now than ever. Undertaking a move into the right digital space is a momentous task, but you still need to create clear communication about the entire process to internal teams and external audiences. 

Neivia Justa, another LinkedIn Top Voice Brazil, explains that “the better a company understands customer needs in this new and unexpected context, and the business’s agility in readjusting to solve these new problems, the greater the opportunity to build or leverage your reputation as a reliable, competent, kind, and supportive partner.”

Neivia gave these pieces of advice:

  • Use technology to your advantage.
  • Create a direct communication channel between company leadership and all staff—a safe and reliable environment where people can exchange information. This should be a place where employees can share concerns, minimise anxiety, resolve doubts, and share useful and valuable content.
  • Have an appropriate tone of voice, frequency, and volume of content to avoid overloading employees.
  • Be honest and truthful in your communication, however difficult and painful it may be.
  • Build solutions together.
  • Communicate in a simple, truthful, and empathetic way.
  • Speak, but also listen. Every conversation should be a legitimate and genuine opportunity to update information, reaffirm your action plan, and share your perspective.

This is the time to prioritise humanised and caring communication. Acting with clarity, objectivity, and care will build trust and preserve the good image of the company.

3. Invest in employer branding

Part of your communication strategy should focus around preserving and improving your “employer branding,” or in more plain terms, the perception employees have of your company. The more respect you build with staff, the better you’ll be able to attract and retain talent. 

For Fernanda Nascimento, a specialist in customer experience and employer branding, “employees are responsible for delivering a brand experience to customers. They will pass on their own perception of the company to customers. 

“The better and more transparent the company is with information, and the more flexible and empathetic it is with its employees, the more it will be able to generate a feeling of security for staff. This is then reflected in the treatment and attention dedicated to the customer.”

Fernanda offered these guidelines:

  • Start the day by asking staff about their feelings at that moment.
  • Understand and seek solutions together with employees and help them find relief from their difficulties so they can engage in work satisfactorily.
  • Do not take action on impulse.
  • Focus on solidarity and collective help, not just your own needs.
  • Understand who can and who cannot be removed from face-to-face work. 
  • Create a daily communication process for those who will continue working in person and those who will be working from a home office.
  • Establish a process for monitoring and actively listening to social networks. The more you understand what followers, customers, and employees seek and talk about, the more you’ll be able to communicate in a way that speaks to the moment. 

Transparent communication only brings benefits: It helps you alleviate the pain of the current crisis, avoid new crises, maintain your commitment to preserving the quality of life for employees, and it also enhances the experience of the customer.

4. Have a supportive and authentic vision

Though we may still be living in social isolation, it’s important to remember that we are all in this together. Social networks are one of the best ways to show you understand this concept. 

Isabela Pimentel, a consultant in crisis planning and management, says crisis management is a holistic process “that begins mapping risks before a crisis occurs”.

“Management is the set of measures that we adopt reactively—in an attempt to control—when the crisis is already underway. Faced with the coronavirus, companies must map possible risks before taking action for employees, running campaigns on social networks, or even publishing content,” she adds.

Isabela explains that there are two potentially devastating scenarios. First, companies fail to address this issue and end up being perceived as cold and indifferent. Second, companies that try to ride the wave of the crisis to sell more. 

The expert has more tips about communicating during the crisis:

  • Avoid an aggressive or insensitive tone.
  • Don’t focus on sales and goals above human interest.
  • Do not adopt a contradictory position.
  • Do not engage in self-promotion under the guise of social action. People will catch on to you and see that as disrespectful. 
  • Use the opportunities that the digital landscape brings.
  • Be kind and focus on the relationships you have with your employees. This will improve morale during and after the crisis. 

“Worrying too much about reputation and image is not a good move in a crisis. It is more important to assess risks. If the altruistic spirit is not already a genuine element in the company’s culture, there is no point in taking up the action just now—it will sound disingenuous and snowball out of your control. Coherence between discourse and practice is essential to avoid crises even greater than the one we are experiencing,” concludes Isabela.

What to expect from the future?

What will the future look like? And how it will impact SMEs’ communication with their audiences? I’ve summarised my thoughts below:

  1. Ways of working will become more flexible.
  2. There will be a reduction in bureaucracy, and a focus on digital transformation.
  3. More businesses will place an emphasis on human values ​​such as empathy, kindness, collaboration, peaceful communication, and solidarity.
  4. We will be more acutely aware of everyone’s interdependence and connection, as well as the duty of social responsibility and commitment to building win-win relationships for business and consumer.
  5. Businesses will place more importance on their ability to listen to customers and clients, and actions that promote good relationships will be at the top of the priority list.

More than ever, businesses must work to earn people’s trust and also learn to trust. Trusted companies are admired by their audience, as a result of consistent communication and an evolved marketing strategy.

During the coronavirus pandemic, taking care of employees, partners, and customers, as perhaps companies have never done before, can take them to a much better place. Where there is a crisis there is also an opportunity. Remember that marketing is not just about branding, services, products, or events. It’s about human relationships.

Looking for internal communication software? Check out our catalogue.

About Laíze Damasceno

Laíze Damascenois a specialist in digital content marketing, writer and creator of Marketing de Gentileza. It helps companies and brands to gain public recognition and trust through humanised digital content strategies and non-violent marketing. Voted  LinkedIn Top Voices  Brazil, recognised by LinkedIn itself as one of the Brazilians that stood out the most and with a positive impact engagement in this social media because of the inspiring content.

How To Create A Business Continuity Plan: A Step By Step Guide

Business continuity plan

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is essential for any company, no matter the size. As we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, no organisation is impervious from potential disaster.

Business continuity plan

For the most part, disasters are unpredictable, and their consequences incalculable. A contingency plan, along with the right business continuity software, helps businesses prepare and move forward in the face of any catastrophe. 

Different types of disasters require different actions, so your business continuity plan should include a robust Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) that covers a wide range of potential scenarios. However, most of the BCP will be composed of strategies and actions that are broad and generic enough to take on any kind of problem.

In this article, we’ll show you the necessary steps to build a business continuity plan for your company, so you can continue operating in the event of a disaster.

Putting a team together for your business continuity plan

Before you begin to start putting together the plan, you need to begin assembling a team within your business. The IT department plays a crucial role when it comes to maintaining business continuity in the event of disasters, but they aren’t the only ones who should be involved. 

Sales, human resources, and even company management also need to have a structured plan for potential disasters. You will need a suite of IT tools to put the plan into practice, but these will be of no use if you overlook the “human” side of disaster planning.

For example, in the case of the novel coronavirus, many companies were forced to manage remote teams overnight. Without a BCP in hand, human resources departments, as well as managers in the most diverse areas, had to develop a plan and put it into action practically at the same time.

Pandemics can be rare, but cybersecurity attacks or continuous system crashes are far more common. The business continuity plan works as insurance to prevent situations like these.

Follow these steps to make a business continuity plan

Developing a business continuity plan does not have to be complex, but it does need to be comprehensive. After all, you already know the company’s internal processes and you should have no difficulty in defining how they should adapt in the event of disasters. It’s also important to rely on business continuity software, and your colleagues will need to know what their role is within the plan.

1. Define the purpose of the plan

The first step in developing a BCP is to define the objective. Without knowing where you want to go, you’ll get nowhere. Start by defining your goals so you have something to work toward.

As mentioned earlier, the purpose of the BCP is the same for any organisation: To have a plan that will allow you to maintain activities in the face of a disaster. However, the scope of the plan varies according to the sector and the size of the company, since these factors will determine the extent of the preparation required. Describe the purpose of the plan at the beginning of preparation, but come back to review it after the remaining steps are complete.

2. Identify the main areas of the business involved in disaster planning

There are areas of the company that do not need to factor into the BCN, either because they are not vital or because they are already structured in a way that a catastrophe will not affect their activities. So it’s up to you to determine which segments of the business need a continuity plan.

The IT department features in virtually all business continuity plans, simply because it is vital to the functionality of many segments of your business, given the digital nature of most businesses today.

The human resources department is also an important part of the team, but their involvement will depend on the structure of the company and how large the business is.

As your plan progresses, communication with all employees will be paramount. You can use team communication software to inform workers about all necessary actions in a time of crisis. If your HR team is using a robust human resources system, it will be easier to roll out and monitor changes that affect people’s roles, compensation, and working style.

If you are not sure about all the areas that should be covered by the BCP, speak to the managers of each department. They’ll help you identify what their teams would need in any of the possible contingencies you’ve mapped out.

3. Identify critical activities

The next step is to outline the critical activities that need to be maintained in the event of a crisis. The objective is to ensure the company’s activity is not severely affected in the future. 

Again, at this stage, it is crucial to have the participation of managers from the participating departments. The managers should work together to find areas where their needs may overlap. Any issues that affect more than one department should rise to the top of your priority list.

4. Determine acceptable downtime for each critical activity

The purpose of a BCP is not to prevent any issues from happening, but to mitigate the impact of issues when the unexpected occurs. To do this, you must determine the acceptable downtime for each critical activity.

You’ll also want to prioritise the business activities depending on how critical they are. More vital aspects of your business should take priority.

5. Create an action and disaster recovery plan

Now is time to create the action and disaster recovery plan. In other words, you must dictate how the BCP will be put into action.

The action plan summarises the business continuity plan in practical terms. In this step, review your business continuity software options and select the one that best fits the BCP you’ve made so far.

The action plan should also include the people who will lead and participate in each section of the plan, and a timeline for rolling out the plan. Set up checkpoints throughout the plan, so you can easily track how you’re progressing when the time comes. If possible, do a simulation before a real case occurs.

Your plan is ready

The BCP is like insurance that you never want to use. Yet, it offers companies peace of mind: They’d know how to respond in case of a disaster.

If you have followed all the steps, you’ll be ready to execute your plan at a moment’s notice.

Looking for business continuity software? Check out our catalogue.

78% of millennials believe AI could help tackle bias in recruitment

AI in recruitment

In a study of 516 respondents, Capterra reveals how receptive Australian millennials are to the involvement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in recruitment.

AI in recruitment

Key highlights from the survey include: 

  1. 78% believe AI could help to reduce unconscious bias.
  2. 65% of Australian millennials think AI could make recruitment fairer in general.
  3. Most millennials want a hybrid of AI and human recruiters involved in the hiring process.

AI is changing the game for recruiters

Employing the right talent is critical for business success. Finding the talent, however, isn’t always simple—and hiring the wrong candidate is a costly expense. 

Fortunately for businesses, some innovative AI companies are tackling this challenge head-on in a bid to improve talent acquisition. Here are four ways the recruitment industry is using AI technology:

1. More accurate advertising

AI technology can leverage existing data to better-focus advertising campaigns (i.e. showing them to the right people at the right time). Texio, for example, allows companies to tailor job postings to their target candidates by identifying the wording that will resonate best. 

2. Speedy screening 

Recruitment and HR professionals are increasingly using AI to make the first round of candidate cuts. The rules for eliminating a CV from the process is often based on the success of previous or similar applicants.

With this technology, recruiters can reduce the effort and time spent on this stage. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 67% of hiring managers and recruiters said AI saved them time.

3. Less operational burdens

AI sets out to automate low-level tasks on behalf of human recruiters. For Australian recruitment expert, Greg Savage, the involvement of AI will enable recruiters to be better sellers. In his article, he says:

Artificial Intelligence frees you up to complete the tasks which only you can do best: Influencing, persuading, advising, consulting, negotiating, collaborating, acting as an agent for the best talent, and building reputation and brand.’

 

An example of a company using AI to reduce operational burdens for clients is Filtered. They use technology to free up time for recruiters sourcing high-quality technical candidates by auto-generating coding challenges. While these won’t make up the entire recruitment cycle, it means recruiters can proceed candidates with greater confidence.

4. Automated feedback

Finding the time to prioritise feedback can be tricky. One company that is tackling this problem is Predictive Hire. CEO, Barb Hyman, reveals how her clients are using AI to focus on the entirety of the candidate experience:

‘Immediacy and convenience is the new norm for consumers, and candidates now expect the same when they are job hunting. Compare recruitment to applying for a bank loan where AI has been in use for over a decade. Why shouldn’t a candidate expect to get a response about a role within 24 hours too? AI can automate candidate feedback in a way that is impossible without technology.’

 

Taking the time to offer feedback to unsuccessful candidates can assist them in their job search. Constructive advice can also help relieve some of the disappointment from a job they may have emotionally invested in too. 

Issues of bias are a concern

Critics suggest that using AI in recruitment promotes issues of bias. Other areas of concern include a lack of accountability and transparency of the hiring process, and issues with the data that the machine learns from.

A good example of this was an issue reported by Reuters about Amazon. The global business created an algorithm which unintentionally favoured male applicants over females for some of its job openings. 

The AI based its decisions on a decade of CVs submitted to the company, of which had mostly been men. This was a reflection of male dominance across the industry, but as a result, the AI taught itself that men were preferable candidates. It even trained itself to screen out resumes that included keywords such as ‘women’s’ (as in ‘women’s chess club.’) 

As soon as Amazon became aware of this issue, they changed the programs. However, it’s an event that may be enough to deter companies from using AI in their own recruitment efforts. 

Omer Molad, CEO and Co-Founder at Vervoe suggests recruitment agencies and professionals thinking about using AI should try and keep an open mind. He explains how to avoid issues such as these:

‘Machine learning models learn from experience. If the data set that feeds the models is biased, then the models will learn biased behaviors. It’s incumbent upon recruiters to seek explanations from technology providers about how their AI uses data. It’s also important to remember that machine learning and other AI-based models need to be constantly monitored to ensure quality control. There is no “set and forget” with respect to AI.’

Looking at the candidate’s perceptive

Millennials make up 40% of the Australian workforce, according to Deloitte. As AI technology works its way further into the recruitment process, we wondered how receptive this generation will be.

We surveyed 515 Australian millennials to ask how they’d feel about employers using AI in the hiring process for a job they’re applying to. We set out to discover where the boundaries lie, from the initial application stage through to interviewing and skills testing.

65% of millennials say AI could make recruitment fairer

The majority of respondents said they believed AI could make the hiring process fairer. However, more than a third of respondents didn’t.

Will AI make recruitment fairer

To explore the motivations behind these results, Capterrra asked respondents to explain their reasons. 

Interestingly, respondents tended to argue the same point for and against AI technology.  For example, respondents gave ‘an inability to feel’ as an argument to support both negative and positive feelings. Some felt this made the process more objective, as machines base their decisions purely on hard data. Others felt the lack of emotional intelligence and the inability to consider individual circumstances could make the process weaker. 

Most millennials also believe AI could help tackle bias

The media often covers the existence of bias in artificial intelligence, and the majority of millennials have taken note. Just 19% of respondents firmly believe machines aren’t biased.

Potential bias in AI

Despite this, 78% of millennials think AI could help to reduce bias when it comes to the recruitment process. 55% of this number said it could help to reduce bias, but only in some situations.

AI reduce human bias

The results indicate that millennials still see the value in using AI technology in recruiting. Mostly, it’s because they believe humans always have the potential for bias (consciously or unconsciously), and with the right training, machines may be able to eliminate its presence faster. 

One respondent said: ‘I think, provided biases are removed in the creation of AI (by using diverse developers and test subjects and research) this could have the potential of tapping into true equality.’

Millennials prefer a combination of AI and human recruiters throughout the hiring process

Pre-selection

Many hiring managers use AI to screen out candidates during the initial stages of the hiring process—such as for selecting CVs that match their recruitment criteria. This is otherwise known as AI screening. 

The rule-based system is the simplest form of artificial intelligence. It works from ‘if this, then that’ rules and mathematical formulas. Once a human recruiter creates a set of deciding factors in selecting who can progress to the next stage, an AI can automate it. 

What motivates employers to use this method? Firstly, it speeds up processes not only for the recruiter but also the job seeker (successful or not.) Using an AI means screened out candidates are automatically informed so that busy recruiters can dedicate time to building relationships with high potential candidates. 

AI screening CV

Capterra discovered that 78% of millennials would be comfortable with a company using AI technology for this purpose. However, 61% of this number still want a human to review and check the CVs too. 

The verdict: Companies could drastically speed up candidate sourcing using AI for pre-screening

Employers should take note that nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said they wouldn’t be comfortable with this process. 

Whilst there is a convincing argument to use AI in the pre-selection stage, businesses should offer complete transparency about its involvement. To avoid missing out on talent, recruiters could offer an alternative application route for those who only want a human assessment.

Using AI to check a candidate’s social media history

Another form of AI in recruitment is the analysis of candidates’ online activities on social media. 

For example, DeepSense is a company that carries out assessments on candidate suitability based on an analysis of their online activities. For many, the idea of a potential employer reading our decade-old Facebook statuses is enough to make us cringe. However, AI tools are more sophisticated than that. 

They look at learning ability, stability, attitude, autonomy, teamwork, and more. The software then assigns a personality score based on DISC profiles and the Big Five (OCEAN) personality analysis. These scores take into consideration the characteristics of successful candidates from the past to arrive at best-fit recommendations.

We asked respondents how they’d feel about an AI carrying out this task and 38% of candidates said they would be against it. More than a quarter (26%) would be comfortable for an AI to handle this task and 37% would be happy for an AI to analyse their social profiles, as long as a human also reviewed them. 

The verdict: Candidates value human involvement for analysing social history

Recruiters could gain valuable insights from tools that provide this service. However, candidates still prefer human involvement. 

While the numbers don’t heavily lean in one direction, recruiters should apply this type of technology with careful consideration. For example, the older the millennial, the more uncomfortable they feel about the notion. 40% of millennials aged 30 years old or more said they wouldn’t want an AI looking at their social history, compared to 32% of people under 30. 

One way to approach this is to ask candidates to authorise the AI-powered assessment before it carries out the test.

Interview screening

The purpose of a job interview is to understand how a candidate could fit within a company. It’s also to assess whether their qualifications and career ambitions align with the position. 

Sometimes, job interviews can be quick, but often the entire cycle involves the candidate meeting several members of staff over a few days. To speed up this process, many businesses are turning to AI. 

Machine Learning (ML) technology is a type of artificial intelligence that recruiters increasingly use for this stage. In contrast to a rule-based system, the rules and formulas that the machine learning system applies are not set by humans. Instead, the system learns from patterns that lead to successful candidates in real-time.

One example where the recruitment industry is leveraging machine learning is the interview stage. 

First-stage interviewing

We wondered how comfortable candidates would be with a chatbot asking them basic interview questions. Most millennials were happy for companies to apply AI at this stage. 81% said they’d be comfortable either with or without a human recruiters involvement. Just 18% wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

AI asking basic interview questions

Second-stage interviewing

We wanted to know how millennials would feel with AI playing a bigger role in their interview. For example, by conducting their entire interview.

AI full interview

There was a small increase in candidates feeling uncomfortable, jumping from 18% to 33%.  However, half of the Australian millennials would still be okay with an AI application conducting their job interview, as long as a human recruiter reviews the responses too. 

Body language, facial expression & tone of voice analysis

AI applications can analysis body language, facial expression, tone of voice and language at any stage of the interviewing phase. For example, L’Oréal and Coca Cola use software such as Seedlink to analyse the candidate’s use of wording in interviews. 

The aim of this software is to gage a score of how successful candidates could be in the role. But would candidates feel comfortable being analysed in this way? 

68% of respondents said they would. Of this number, 39% would want a human to also make an assessment. Almost a third of candidates (32%) said they wouldn’t be comfortable with companies using AI for this purpose.

Candidates expect companies to judge them fairly based on their ability. The results indicate that they may not trust methods like facial recognition to accurately determine their potential in a role. However, most candidates feel happier with a combination of AI and human analysis.

The verdict: AI is a good fit for first-stage interviewing (and maybe more) 

Even though the above recruitment techniques are already happening in companies, millennials become warier the more involved an AI becomes. 

With careful education, businesses should consider how AI can help enable recruiters during the interview stages of the hiring process. However, based on these results, it’s clear there is still a balance to be met. 

Skills testing

Companies, such as Unilever are using AI and machine-learning to hire candidates based purely on merit. The second stage of the company’s recruitment process, after CV submission, involves a neuroscience game. 

The game tests traits like focus, memory, emotional intelligence, and how risk-averse the candidate is. 

The Dutch-British company said: ‘There is no right or wrong in the spectrum. Traits at either end of the spectrum could be really well-suited to different careers.’ As a result of using this technology, Unilever saw the ‘most diverse class to date.’ They’ve also experienced:

  • Significantly more applications
  • An increase in offers made to candidates 
  • A greater number of job acceptances
  • A decrease in the average time taken to hire a candidate (from four months to four weeks.)

There are some obvious benefits to a company applying an AI-powered skills test to their hiring process. But how do candidates feel about being assessed this way?

Games skill testing

The results indicated that the verdict is still out on using gamification to test candidate skills. A quarter of candidates oppose the idea while the rest would either like it or feel indifferent.

The verdict: Employers could do more to win candidates over

If employers are considering using games as part of their recruitment cycle, they should consider ways to bring candidates on board too. With so many respondents saying they’re indifferent, it’s possible that they simply need educating. As demonstrated by Unilever, using neuroscience games benefits the candidate too by increasing their chances of securing a job well-suited to them. In turn, this will lead to greater job satisfaction.

AI won’t replace human recruiters 

Will AI replace hiring managers? It’s unlikely. But it’s probable that AI will integrate more and more into the hiring process to enable recruiters to operate smarter and more efficiently.

Prior to COVID-19, the recruitment industry generated $11 billion in revenue each year for the Australian economy. As the outbreak has forced businesses across all sectors to be more dynamic and innovative, AI-powered technology is likely to be a strong ally in the country’s economic road to recovery.

It’s worth businesses and recruitment agencies using this time wisely. Investigate the tools you’ll need to handle applications intelligently when companies begin hiring again. But more importantly, prepare ways to educate talent on how AI could play a bigger role in their future applications. A key driver of success for using AI within the recruitment industry will be Australia’s readiness for it.

Looking for recruitment software? Check out our catalogue.

*Survey methodology

To understand the opinions of millennials in Australia with regards to artificial intelligence in recruitment, we conducted an online survey between 3rd March – 8th March. 

We surveyed people living in Australia from the generational group (aged between 24 to 39 in 2020) who work full-time, part-time, or are actively job-seeking. To mitigate the potential for bias, we screened out survey participants that worked within HR and recruitment. This left us with our final number of respondents for the survey: 516.

What Is Telemedicine And How Does It Work?

What is telemedicine

The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented health crisis, disrupting hospitals and putting a strain on healthcare professionals around the world.

As a result of the pressure put on health centres, there has been an increase in the use of a hugely helpful practice for doctors and patients: Telemedicine. Helpfully, suppliers of telemedicine software have worked to adapt their products to offer the functionality required during this time.

What is telemedicine

Telemedicine response from the Australian Government

Previously, Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) funding in Australia only enabled virtual care for people more than 15km away from a specialist, residents of aged care facilities, or people within the Aboriginal community receiving care. 

However, the Government has responded quickly to the pandemic with a $1.1 billion funding boost. The bulk of this has gone towards telehealth services, including phone and video services to assess and triage suspected and high-risk cases of coronavirus, and an online symptom checker. 

The program also includes mental health consultations, psychological services and psychiatric services, which have seen an increase in demand during the pandemic. It has been expanded to enable vulnerable healthcare professionals to practise via telehealth too, helping to stop the spread of the virus and reduce the demand for PPE.

A major benefit of the service is that it will be bulk-billed by doctors, meaning patients won’t incur out-of-pocket costs, while doctors will receive incentives from the Government to balance this. 

To help clarify the wider role and benefits of this increasingly pertinent practice, this article will outline the key information about how telemedicine works.

How does telemedicine work?

Telemedicine software allows doctors and patients to talk to each other and to perform exams remotely. For patients, this includes not only remote assistance services but diagnosis, education and health research, among others.

The software includes media such as e-mails, instant messaging and phone calls, but one of the most sought after features is video conferencing.

Software used for telemedicine must be specific for medical use, with options for diagnosis, treatment and/or consultation, and not just simply video conferencing programs.

The main benefits of telemedicine, for both doctors and patients, are as follows:

  • Book more appointments: Avoiding commuting, delays, and queues in the waiting room helps doctors to make more appointments and patients to save time.
  • Less cancelled appointments: Making it easier to schedule and monitor appointments by decreasing the number of cancelled visits or no-show patients.
  • Information exchange: Doctors who use the same solution(s) can exchange information more easily and clarify doubts with more experienced professionals.
  • Safety and agility: Doctors can store all patient information safely in one place.
  • Easy access to specialists at a lower cost: Allowing access to clinics and hospitals far from patients’ homes at a lower cost. This is a huge benefit for those far from big urban centres, where most specialists are concentrated.

Main features of telemedicine software

Below are the main features of telemedicine software:

Scheduling appointments

The software allows for the scheduling of appointments and the control of the attendance calendar.

Electronic record

Electronic records gather all the patient’s information (drugs used, diagnoses, medical history, allergies, test results, etc.) and facilitate access to this data.

In addition to being safer than paper records, electronic records make it easier to organise information. They also allow medical workers to scan and import paper files.

Teleconsultation

Teleconsultation uses a device’s video and audio system, and includes the following practices:

  • Teleguidance: for doctors to guide and refer patients at a distance.
  • Telemonitoring: for supervision and monitoring of health parameters.
  • Teleinterconsultation: for exchange of information between doctors.

Prescription

The ability to provide electronic prescriptions online is an important functionality of telemedicine software. 

Beyond the simple prescription, some software can connect doctors and patients directly with pharmacies to identify and purchase medicines.

Management

Similar to ERP systems, telemedicine software helps to standardise administrative tasks, such as accounts payable/receivable, inventory and logistics, and generating financial and accounting reports.

Other types of software for doctors

Medical software isn’t just a helpful tool for doctors when it comes to treating patients.  

Several types of software are dedicated to helping a range of healthcare professionals in a range of areas, such as:

Want to know more about telemedicine tools? Check out our list of telemedicine software.

A Global Perspective Of Current & Future Remote Working Trends

Study future remote working trends

COVID-19 has disrupted the world of work in Australia and beyond. In a study of 4,600 global respondents, Capterra explores the current and future remote working trends emerging from this experience.

Study future remote working trends

What measures have businesses taken across the world?

Many countries implemented measures to slow down the virus by asking people to work from home where possible. Companies had to react fast as a result, investing in remote working technologies and adapting their product offerings so that they could be delivered virtually.

Now, several countries (including Australia) are beginning to look at ways to lift lockdown measures. To move cautiously, most governments are urging people to continue working from home until they have greater control over the virus. 

Capterra wanted to learn more about remote work challenges, the usage of software and cybersecurity practices around the world during the pandemic. We conducted a survey* with 4,600 full-time remote working employees from small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) from Australia, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands and the UK.

In this article, we reveal how the world has coped with working under their country’s quarantine guidelines, as well as the varying levels of teleworking success.

How many SMEs worldwide are working remotely because of the outbreak?

59% of SMEs around the world are working remotely full-time as a direct response to the coronavirus outbreak. In Australia, this number sits at 57%. However, not every country was moving into remote-work at the same pace.

Remote working transition rates worldwide

The survey highlights Brazil as the remote working leader, with 77% of the country already teleworking. France, on the other hand, was transitioning to remote work with less urgency. Just 40% of its country’s workforce have made the move.

The good news is that people seem to be enjoying teleworking. Approval of remote work is almost unanimous around the world—according to the global survey results, 74% say they like or really like it. 

This could be connected to the many benefits respondents listed they’ve experienced since remote working. Respondents gave their top home working advantages and the most popular included:

  1. No commuting
  2. Adjusting work hours around personal life responsibilities
  3. A casual dress code
  4. Being able to do more work than usual
  5. Taking care of children and pets.

The most cited work from home benefits for Australia was in line with the global results; no commute (44%), adjustable work hours (36%) and a casual dress code (34%).

The future is remote: 55% believe their business could continue functioning with a distributed workforce

The crisis is pushing digital transformation and shows companies how important it is to not only adapt products and services but also work processes. Remote work had been the reality for a small number of employees around the globe: Only 11% of employees worldwide worked remotely full-time before the crisis. 

If people enjoy working remotely, and management doesn’t perceive a drop in productivity during this period, the future will continue to trend toward this type of working. In Australia alone, 87% of employees want their employer to allow them to carry on with a remote working policy. More than half (54%) of this number said they want to combine remote working with going to the office, while 33% said they want to switch to a remote regime completely.

Remote working happiness

According to a prediction by Gartner, Generation Z will drive this trend further and faster. Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010) is the generation of true digital natives. They have honed their digital collaboration skills throughout their lifetime, and prefer digital collaboration over in-person collaboration. Generation Z’s preference to work remotely will solidify remote working as a standard working practice moving forward.

Adapting to a remote workforce:

Brian Kropp (VP at Gartner) gives his advice on how to help your employees stay productive when working from home:

  1. Ensure employees have the right resources: Equip employees with the technology they need to be successful. This covers everything from the right hardware to the software for team collaboration
  2. Focus on outputs: Focus more on what employees should be accomplishing and less on the processes they should follow to get there. Set up clear objectives to create greater clarity for employees but allow them to figure out the roadmaps.
  3. Increase recognition: ‘During periods of disruption, employees’ desire for being recognised for their contribution increases by about 30%,’ says Kropp. Recognition can be a public acknowledgement, tokens of appreciation, development opportunities and low-cost perks.
  4. Use two-way communication: Two-way dialogue between managers and employees is essential —especially during change. Employees must understand the reasons behind decisions and their implications. Similarly, managers must be aware of employees’ challenges and concerns.
  5. Trust in your employees: Managers may be nervous to lose constant visibility of their employees’ work activities, but micromanaging isn’t the correct response. It will only disengage already stressed employees. Instead, put confidence in your employees and trust them to get on with their job.

70% of companies globally adapted their products and services so they could deliver them virtually

Encouragingly, many companies were able to react to the crisis successfully. According to the survey, 70% of companies altered some or all of their business offerings so they could deliver them virtually during the lockdown. In Australia, this number was 72% which puts them slightly above the world average.

Business product adaptions

Gyms are keeping members active through at-home workouts, held via video conferencing tools. Restaurants have marketed dining in as the new dining out—made possible through takeaway and food delivery software services. Similarly, real estate agents are giving buyers and renters tours of potential new homes through virtual tour software. These are just a few examples of innovation the world has witnessed during this period.

Digitising your product or service is one step on the way to earning new digital revenue. If you want to further transform your business offerings, here is a how-to list we created to guide you through the process. 

6 ways to earning digital revenue

Gartner vice president Hung LeHong gives 6 key ways to earn new digital revenue:

  1. Sell existing digital assets: Start with the digital assets you already have, such as selling your expertise or creating market insights out of your owned data.
  2. Digitalise a service or product: Sell (or adapt) your product or service so it’s accessible to customers while social distancing restrictions apply. Deliver services virtually, for example, or offer online delivery options for physical products. 
  3. Offer a pay-as-you-use service: Buyers will be more likely to use your digital assets if they don’t have to sink resources into owning or managing them.
  4. Use shared metrics to vary prices for buyers: Offer flexible pricing models for a specific service level. 
  5. Run a platform business: A platform business allows you to trade products and services without having to own or distribute them. One example of this business model is Airbnb.
  6. Move into new industries: Does your area of expertise cross over into another? Use your knowledge and industry know-how to launch into other markets where you can add value. 

60% of SMEs worldwide bought or plan to buy new software to accommodate remote working environments

Companies had to quickly adapt their usage of technology to respond to the crisis. Our data shows that 60% of companies across the globe bought (or plan to buy) new software tools for being able to work remotely. The survey also found that 64% of employees worldwide (61% for Australia) learned how to operate the new tools with ease.

Software infrastructure has also been impacted around the globe. Businesses increased their investment in cloud technologies, with 39% of companies worldwide saying they now use cloud products to support remote work. The Netherlands adopted cloud-based services the fastest (at 53%), while France had the lowest adoption rate (31%).

In the following graphic, we’ve highlighted the most popular remote working tools around the globe:

Most used remote working tools worldwide
Most popular tools for remote working during the global quarantine (Source: Capterra)

Important note: Most software products were adopted to enable:

  • Team communication
  • Collaboration 
  • Remote support. 

When purchasing new tools, it’s important to invest in IT security at the same time (such as network security software, cloud security software and computer security software). Otherwise, the risk of cyberattacks increases.

Communication is the top challenge of working remotely

While the majority of employees identified they enjoy working from home, some challenges were also evident. The biggest issue is the lack of communication. It’s important to address and solve these challenges, so employees can be successful and productive while remote. 

Remote working challenges globally
Global remote working challenges identified during COVID-19 (Source: Capterra)

The study shows just 37% of companies provide guidelines on communication and team meetings. This isn’t enough. Supporting employees during this crisis, such as providing software for communication and guidelines in the right areas, is crucial. 

Want to know more about how to create strong communication processes? Check out our 10 Effective Communication Tips For Teams Working Remotely.

Home working global statistics


Cybersecurity measures within SMEs could improve worldwide

One of the most important things for remote work is creating a safe working environment. We recommend the following 5 steps to help ensure IT security for your business. 

1. Don’t use personal devices to work

40% of the employees globally use only their personal devices to work remotely. It’s highly recommended that employees don’t work from personal, unprotected devices. Employees should resist working from their own devices because it leads to a higher risk of exposing company data. If it’s unavoidable, employees should ensure the personal device is sufficiently secured. 

2. Invest in cybersecurity resources

Only 39% of all employees worldwide have antivirus software installed and 29% use Firewalls. Invest in security tools, such as antivirus software and firewalls. These two systems should be the standard in every business. Additionally, consider implementing network monitoring and endpoint protection.

3. Educate staff of types of cyberattacks

32% of global respondents were victims of a phishing attack. Of those, almost half (49%) happened since COVID-19. 

Despite this, only 22% use email security software. Email is one of the most important forms of communication in businesses, but unfortunately, also one of the most insecure. However, email security software can reduce the risk of phishing attacks by identifying malicious emails and eliminating the threat.  

Tip: Companies should consider implementing a company-wide phishing test. The test helps to determine the susceptibility of employees to this type of attack.  

4. Install a VPN

Less than one-third of companies use a VPN, also known as a virtual private network.

Invest in a VPN if your business needs to access and transfer business data remotely. VPNs provide an encrypted connection to the Internet that prevents third parties from viewing network activity.

5. Strengthen passwords to online business accounts

Worldwide, just 36% of employees are following recommendations for strong passwords, with randomised letters, numbers and characters. Additionally, only 29% of employees worldwide use a password manager. 

Good password management will help prevent cyberattacks. Companies should use this time to educate their employees about the importance of strong passwords. A good password manager is the most secure solution and also makes sharing passwords with colleagues much more convenient.

Tip: When exploring password managers, look for one that offers two-factor authentication (2FA). Most authentications don’t activate automatically, so remember to set it up before sharing it with your team!  

To see how remote employees are managing their passwords across the globe, check out the graphic below:

Password security infographic worldwide

Remote working trends that emerged from this experience

Across the world, small and mid-sized businesses were driven out of their comfort zones and forced to be more versatile to survive. What can we take from this unusual and unexpected experience? There are some key learnings—and they aren’t just relevant during a crisis, but also for when we come out of it.

3 key takeaways:

  • Companies are quickly adapting to working remotely and offering their product virtually
  • Companies are adopting new software
  • Employees like the option to work remotely.

However, we’ve also learned that companies need to improve:

  • Communication with employees
  • The use of security tools
  • Password policies.

Companies have had to put greater trust in their employees to do the right thing: Honour their work responsibilities in their allocated hours. As a positive consequence, staff are enjoying casual dress codes, flexible working hours and more. What is clear, however, is that trust has proven to go further than micromanagement. Employees working remotely are happier now that their company is providing them with a bit more flexibility.

Similarly, companies have had success with creating new and dynamic offerings by adapting what they sold before so it can be delivered virtually. They‘ve showcased innovative thinking, versatility and resilience in a time of historical uncertainty. Looking forward, it seems possible that businesses across the globe will come out stronger than before.

Want to know more about remote working software solutions? Check out our list of remote work software.

*Survey methodology

To understand the current and future remote working trends across the world, we conducted an online survey between 4th April 2020 and 14th April 2020. We surveyed 4600 employees of small or mid-sized businesses, who are working remotely as a response to COVID-19. The participants come from various business sectors and levels of seniority. Respondents are from Australia, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands and the UK.

Note: The graphic about top challenges working remotely had multiple response options, so the total sum of the percentages exceeds 100%.

What Is A Virtual Data Room? Plus The Tools & Tips For Setting Yours Up

What is a virtual dataroom

With COVID-19 continuing, a large part of the working population is performing their 9-5 online from the comfort of their own home. But many entrepreneurs are now aware that not all of the data they need is accessible online from home. In some cases, it’s because it’s confidential. For others, it’s because they didn’t store data on a central server.

A virtual data room, whereby businesses can store data securely in one place, offers companies a valuable solution for managing a distributed workforce. 

What is a virtual dataroom

What is a virtual data room (VDR)?

A virtual data room is a highly secured online archive to store documents. This includes confidential documents such as financial transactions, insurance documents, patents; and other due diligence documents. A VDR essentially houses all documents that are important for your business. VDRs are increasingly used today by:

  • Banks, insurance and other financial institutions
  • Lawyers, consultancy and accountancy firms
  • Real estate, trade and brokerage
  • Large and small companies that want to share confidential documents online with employees, business partners or customers.

What benefits can SMEs experience by using a VDR?

Key advantages of a VDR are security and central availability, including:

  • Advanced multi-level authentication procedures to prevent hackers from accessing your documents.
  • Advanced encryption for the transfer and storage of data.
  • Access rights determine which staff members are authorised to carry out particular actions.
  • Having everything in one central location (which staff can reach at all times from anywhere.)
  • Registering and reporting changes in documents (who changed what, and at what time).

Information sharing 

You can share VDR documents with people inside and outside the company. An administrator determines which documents are shareable and with who. They also determine access rights, such as who can read, change, upload or download, documents. This is useful when working in the cloud for management and employees, but possibly also for customers. For example, they can view their own contracts and delivery terms.

Temporary virtual data rooms

A virtual data room doesn’t have to be set up for life. You can temporarily rent a data room for purposes such as contract negotiations with a large customer, an audit, or a special project. It saves travel and accommodation costs, and parties can exchange and work in documents directly and confidentially. 

What are the key differences between VDR and cloud storage

Businesses in Australia have a wide selection of (free) cloud storages available to them today, including OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud. The three main major differences between generic cloud storage and a VDR are:

  1. VDRs meet the highest safety standards. The opportunity for cybercriminals to steal data is (almost) zero. The software uses advanced encryption and bit keys during data transfer and storage. The files can only be read by authorised persons. With generic cloud storage, these protections are not available.
  2. VDRs have document management software. It registers and reports all actions that occur within a document.

Steps to set up a virtual data room

Setting up a VDR starts with a thorough inventory of the data you want to include. This gives you a good overview of the size of the VDR you require. From this, you can start to look for a provider. In addition to the price, you should consider a number of factors:

  1. Security: Choose a provider that uses a high level of encryption; at least a two-step authentication procedure.
  2. Document management and control: What functionality does the VDR offer, what are the options for recording authorisations for persons and documents, and what reporting options are there.
  3. Ease of use and accessibility: Can you also access it with a smartphone or tablet? What happens if many users want to work at the same time.
  4. Support: 24/7 support is particularly useful if you operate in international markets.

5 VDR options for SMEs in Australia

VDR software is a cloud software, so you don’t have to install anything: An internet connection is enough. To help you find a VDR provider, we have selected five options for you. Find the detailed methodology at the bottom of this page.

The five tools mentioned meet the following basic conditions:

  • Suitable for SMEs 
  • Web-based, but it is also available via a smartphone or tablet (Android and iOS)
  • Use a security system with at least a two-step authentication procedure.

1. iDeals Virtual Data Room

iDeals Virtual Data Room interface
iDeals Virtual Data Room permission granting interface (Source)

This is a data room with extensive functionality, including protecting documents against screenshots and photos. Setting up this data room doesn’t require extensive IT knowledge. In addition, iDeals offers free training with the Pro and Business packages to its users. You can work with the iDeals data room from AUD$150.00 per month (annual billing) which gives you:

  • 30-day free trial
  • Maximum 500 MB of storage
  • Maximum 10 users, 2 administrators and one project room
  • Drag-and-Drop function to easily and quickly move files to the data room.

Read more

2. Clinked

Clinked profile and dashboard
User dashboard for Clinked virtual data room (Source)

Clinked is a simple platform that’s quick to set up, with a clear dashboard that provides direct insight into activities of (project) groups and accounts. For important files, you can stay updated via email notifications. Clinked’s data room starts from AUD$140 per month and offers:

  • 10-day trial with 10 users
  • 100 GB storage
  • Up to 100 users, unlimited ‘fellow users’
  • Integration with Zapier is possible for expansion and integration with other platforms.

Read more

3. Box

Box user activity dashboard
User activity dashboard on Box (Source)

Box is a somewhat lighter software but offers more than enough possibilities to experience working with data rooms. Users report some challenges with the upload speed, but with the most basic version, you can rent a virtual data room for AUD$7.50 per month, per user. For this, you get the following features:

  • 14-day trial period
  • 100 GB storage
  • Maximum 10 users 
  • Box is always free with one user, which works well for freelancers.

Read more

4. Onehub

Onehub new user setup
The setup process for new users on Onehub (Source)

Onehub distinguishes between paid users and free users. Free users can only view, print and download, and their number can be up to 200. The platform integrates with Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. A clear dashboard immediately gives users a good overview of the actions in their virtual workspace. The most basic plan costs AUD$23.00 per month and includes:

  • 14-day trial period
  • Maximum 3 paid users (+ 200 free users) with a maximum of 50 workspaces
  • Maximum 1 TB of storage
  • 20% discount to non-profit organisations and schools.

Read more

5. Koofr

Koofr data synchronisation
Koofr data synchronisation (Source)

With Koofr, you can connect your existing accounts to various online storages, such as Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. If you have the Koofr app on your smartphone or desktop, you can automatically synchronise all documents and photos. It is a limited data room, but a good option to try out for the first time. There is a free version that gives you 2 GB of storage. The simplest paid version costs AUD$10 per year, with the following features:

  • 10 GB storage
  • Unlimited sharing of (password protected) links to documents
  • Unlimited file size.

Read more

Want to know more? Check out our catalogue of virtual data room software to discover more products.

*Methodology

The above tools were chosen according to the following criteria:

  • Suitable for SMEs
  • Customer rating of 4.5 stars or more on GetApp
  • Available on Android and iPhone
  • Web-based
  • With a mobile web app

Note: the five software platforms have been listed in a randomised order.

Les 3 meilleurs gestionnaires de mots de passe pour PME

logiciel gestion mot de passePour les petites et moyennes entreprises, sécuriser les mots de passe utilisés par leurs collaborateurs contribue au renforcement de leurs défenses informatiques. Et ça tombe bien, car cela n’a rien de compliqué : un logiciel de gestion des mots de passe est un excellent moyen de renforcer les initiatives de sécurité numérique à moindre coût. Dans cet article, nous présentons trois des meilleurs gestionnaires de mots de passe gratuits disponibles pour les PME.

Pourquoi la gestion des mots de passe est-elle importante ?

Quiconque travaillant ou ayant travaillé dans une entreprise en pleine croissance sait que les employés ont tendance à jongler avec une charge de travail importante et souvent répartie sur de nombreux outils. Beaucoup sont tentés, dans cette situation, de définir et d’utiliser un mot de passe commun pour toutes ces plateformes. 

Nous allons expliquer pourquoi c’est une très mauvaise idée.

Au fil des ans, les cybercriminels ont développé un piratage cryptographique du nom d’attaque par force brute. Le hacker n’a besoin que d’une adresse électronique pour commencer. Il saisit ensuite des milliers de combinaisons de mots de passe jusqu’à découvrir la bonne. Cela se fait souvent à l’aide d’un logiciel automatisé : un mot de passe faible peut donc être “cassé” en quelques secondes. Sans surprise, un cyberpirate expérimenté n’hésitera pas à vérifier si les informations de connexion fonctionnent également sur d’autres sites.

Les attaques de force brute se sont multipliées en France depuis le début du confinement, et ce sont les petites entreprises qui en sont bien souvent la cible. Pour limiter les risques, il est crucial de créer des mots de passe forts et uniques pour chaque compte que vous possédez.

Comment renforcer les mots de passe

Un mot de passe fort doit contenir :

  • Au moins huit à seize caractères
  • Des lettres majuscules et minuscules
  • Des caractères spéciaux
  • Des chiffres

Voici un exemple de mot de passe fort : U7d!9@0sn23!xf44.

Les mots de passe courants et facilement identifiables comprennent généralement des noms réels, des mots entiers ou des dates. Année après année, “123456” s’est imposé comme le mot de passe le plus facile à pirater qu’un utilisateur peut choisir.

Créer des combinaisons uniques et aléatoires est un moyen efficace de sécuriser des comptes numériques. Cependant, on ne peut pas demander à ses collaborateurs de mémoriser des dizaines de mots de passe aussi complexes.

Qu’est-ce qu’un gestionnaire de mots de passe ?

Un gestionnaire de mots de passe est un outil qui fournit aux utilisateurs les moyens de synchroniser les mots de passe de plusieurs comptes. Le logiciel de sécurité enregistre les mots de passe individuels dans un hub central et les active à l’aide d’un mot de passe principal (ou “master password”).

L’un des principaux avantages des gestionnaires de mots de passe est que les utilisateurs n’ont à se souvenir que d’un seul mot de passe : celui du gestionnaire. De nombreux fournisseurs incluent également un module pour navigateur, qui permet aux utilisateurs de se connecter avec le mot de passe principal à partir de la barre d’outils. Ils peuvent ainsi accéder à tout compte en ligne stocké dans le gestionnaire.

Comment choisir un bon gestionnaire de mots de passe ?

Lorsque l’on recherche des outils de gestion des mots de passe, il faut tenir compte de quelques caractéristiques essentielles.

Même une version gratuite doit proposer les fonctionnalités suivantes :

  • Création de mots de passe principaux
  • Générateurs de nouveaux mots de passe
  • Enregistrement des mots de passe
  • Réinitialisation des mots de passe
  • Allocation de stockage illimitée

L’authentification à deux facteurs fait également partie des fonctionnalités intéressantes pour ceux qui cherchent un bon gestionnaire.

LeMagIT explique comment fonctionne l’authentification à deux facteurs :

“L’authentification à double facteur est un processus de sécurité par lequel l’utilisateur fournit deux modes d’identification à partir de catégories de données distinctes : l’une se présente généralement sous la forme d’un jeton physique, comme une carte, et l’autre sous forme d’informations mémorisées, par exemple un code de sécurité. Ces deux facteurs représentent une chose possédée et une chose sue.”

En résumé, un gestionnaire de mots de passe vous aidera à appliquer des niveaux de sécurité supplémentaires à votre entreprise, quel que soit son niveau de sophistication informatique.

Les meilleurs gestionnaires de mots de passe gratuits de 2020

La mise en place d’un nouveau gestionnaire de mots de passe ne devrait pas être un fardeau pour vous ou votre service informatique. En effet, les utilisateurs frustrés par un outil sont prompts à l’abandonner aussitôt. Il est donc important de choisir un logiciel qui fonctionnera pour tout le monde. 

À cette fin, nous avons établi des critères stricts pour effectuer nos recherches. Le logiciel sélectionné doit présenter toutes les caractéristiques mentionnées ci-dessus, ainsi que les critères suivants :

  • Propose une version gratuite ou un essai gratuit avec les fonctionnalités essentielles
  • Note globale minimum de 4/5 sur GetApp.fr
  • Au moins 200 avis clients

Sur la base de ces exigences, nous avons sélectionné trois logiciels de gestion des mots de passe. Les voici, indiqués par ordre alphabétique :

1. 1Password

gestionnaire mot de passe

Capture d’écran de 1password (source)

  • Note globale : 4,7/5
  • Facilité d’utilisation : 4,6/5
  • Fonctionnalités : 4,6/5
  • Rapport qualité-prix : 4,5/5
  • Authentification à deux facteurs : oui
  • Connexion biométrique : non
  • Version gratuite : essai gratuit d’un mois (durée étendue à six mois pour aider les entreprises à travailler en toute sécurité depuis leur domicile, dans le contexte de crise du COVID-19)
  • Coût de la mise à niveau : 3,99 $ (environ 3,70 €) par utilisateur et par mois
  • Plateformes prises en charge : Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux et Chrome OS

1Password veut que les bonnes habitudes de sécurité deviennent une seconde nature au sein des entreprises. Bien que cette solution ne propose pas de version freemium, elle a récemment étendu son offre d’essai à six mois (en mars 2020). Cela permettra aux entreprises de sécuriser leurs flux de travail à distance pendant la crise du coronavirus.

Cet outil se synchronise également entre les appareils, de sorte que les employés ont toujours accès à leurs mots de passe.

On dénombre trois options de tarification différentes pour les abonnés 1Pass : Teams, Business et Enterprise. Cette dernière est mieux adaptée aux grandes entreprises qui ont besoin d’un package sur mesure, tandis que les versions Teams et Business constituent une bonne option pour les petites et moyennes entreprises.

Qu’est-ce qui est inclus ?

La version Teams augmente la sécurité des mots de passe pour les petites équipes qui gèrent plusieurs comptes en ligne. Après les six mois d’essai gratuit, elle coûte 3,99 $ (environ 3,70 €) par utilisateur et par mois.

Cette version comprend :

  • Des coffres-forts virtuels partagés et un stockage d’objets illimités
  • Des contrôles administratifs pour visualiser et gérer les autorisations
  • L’authentification à deux facteurs
  • Une intégration en binôme pour une authentification multifactorielle à l’échelle de l’entreprise
  • Une assistance client par e-mail 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7
  • 1 Go de stockage de documents par personne
  • 5 comptes d’invités pour un partage limité

La version Business d’1Pass coûte 7,99 $ (environ 7,40 €) par mois et par utilisateur après l’essai gratuit et comprend tout ce qui est disponible dans la version Teams, ainsi que les options suivantes :

  • Une assistance VIP
  • 5 Go de stockage de documents
  • 20 comptes d’invités pour un partage limité
  • Des contrôles de sécurité personnalisés avec la protection avancée 1Pass
  • Un contrôle d’accès basé sur les autorisations pour chaque coffre-fort
  • Des comptes familiaux gratuits pour les membres de l’équipe
  • Un journal d’activité pour suivre les modifications apportées aux coffres-forts et aux objets de stockage
  • Des rôles personnalisés
  • Des rapports d’utilisation pour créer une piste d’audit
  • Des groupes sur mesure pour organiser des équipes
  • Des approvisionnements avec Active Directory, Okta et OneLogin

Ce que les utilisateurs ont apprécié : les utilisateurs ont déclaré que 1Password permet d’enregistrer facilement les connexions dans un hub central. C’est également très facile d’accéder aux comptes en ligne sans avoir besoin de mémoriser plusieurs combinaisons de mots de passe.

Les utilisateurs ont mis en avant l’application 1Password car elle est disponible sur une multitude d’appareils et indique également aux utilisateurs les points faibles de leurs mots de passe et comment les renforcer. Par exemple, un mot de passe peut être trop facile à casser ou avoir déjà été utilisé pour un autre identifiant.

Ce que les utilisateurs ont moins apprécié : 1Pass n’offre pas d’option d’abonnement annuel. Cependant, les utilisateurs n’auront rien à payer pendant six mois, selon la version de la plateforme choisie.

En savoir plus

2. LastPass

gestionnaire de mot de passe gratuit

Capture d’écran de LastPass (source)

  • Note globale : 4,7/5
  • Facilité d’utilisation : 4,5/5
  • Fonctionnalités : 4,6/5
  • Rapport qualité-prix : 4,6/5
  • Authentification à deux facteurs : oui
  • Connexion biométrique : oui
  • Version gratuite : oui
  • Coût de la mise à niveau : de 3,56 € à 7,12 € par utilisateur et par mois, selon la version choisie
  • Plateformes prises en charge : Web, iOS et Android 

LastPass permet aux utilisateurs de générer et d’enregistrer des mots de passe en toute sécurité afin de les utiliser sur plusieurs appareils. Pour que le gestionnaire de mots de passe reste activé, les utilisateurs peuvent installer une extension pour leur navigateur et se connecter en utilisant un mot de passe maître.

Qu’est-ce qui est inclus ?

La version gratuite est destinée à un usage personnel, mais les employés peuvent également l’utiliser pour gérer leur environnement de travail numérique. Le compte comprend :

  • 1 utilisateur
  • L’accès sur tous les appareils
  • Le partage en tête-à-tête (partage sécurisé des mots de passe avec la famille et les amis de confiance)
  • L’enregistrement et le pré-remplissage des mots de passe
  • Un générateur de mots de passe
  • Des notes sécurisées (comme la sauvegarde des données de la carte de crédit professionnelle)
  • L’audit des mots de passe
  • L’authentification à plusieurs facteurs
  • LastPass Authenticator

La version Teams, qui s’adresse aux PME, coûte 3,56 € par utilisateur et par mois. En plus de tout ce qui est inclus dans la version gratuite, elle comprend également :

  • 5 à 50 utilisateurs
  • Un tableau de bord administratif pour le service informatique
  • Un modèle de sécurité nul de connaissance (les employés créent leur propre mot de passe principal)
  • L’intégration du répertoire
  • L’identification unique
  • L’authentification multifactorielle
  • Des politiques sur mesure
  • Le reporting

Ce que les utilisateurs ont apprécié : les utilisateurs indiquent qu’il est facile d’ajouter, de consulter et de gérer les éléments qu’ils ont enregistrés sur leur compte LastPass. Les abonnés peuvent également ajouter des mots de passe à leur coffre-fort lorsqu’ils se connectent ou créent un nouveau compte.

Les titulaires de comptes LastPass ont également apprécié le générateur de mots de passe qui les aide à renforcer la sécurité de leurs comptes. Le logiciel adopte une stratégie différente quant aux combinaisons de mots de passe aléatoires et propose plutôt de créer un mot de passe (comme une composition de mots aléatoires) dont l’utilisateur peut se souvenir facilement. Le logiciel le renforcera ensuite en ajoutant des signes de ponctuation, des tirets ou des points faciles à retenir entre les mots et les lettres qui les composent.

Ce que les utilisateurs ont moins apprécié : les abonnés ont signalé qu’ils ne peuvent pas demander un rappel en cas d’oubli du mot de passe. Toutefois, la plateforme leur permet de la réinitialiser.

En savoir plus

3. RoboForm

Capture d’écran de RoboForm (source)

  • Note globale : 4,6/5
  • Facilité d’utilisation : 4,4/5
  • Fonctionnalités : 4,4/5
  • Rapport qualité-prix : 4,5/5
  • Authentification à deux facteurs : oui
  • Connexion biométrique : non
  • Version gratuite : oui
  • Coût de la mise à niveau : 2,83 € par utilisateur et par mois
  • Plateformes prises en charge : Web, iOS et Android 

Les abonnés à RoboForm peuvent stocker des mots de passe en toute sécurité et se connecter à des comptes avec un seul mot de passe. Une fois qu’un compte RoboForm est ouvert, l’utilisateur définit un mot de passe principal pour sécuriser ses données.

Les utilisateurs peuvent ajouter ou importer leurs mots de passe existants dans la plate-forme à partir de leur navigateur, d’un fichier CSV ou d’un autre outil de gestion des mots de passe. RoboForm enregistre automatiquement les mots de passe lorsque le nouvel utilisateur se connecte ou crée des comptes en ligne. 

Qu’est-ce qui est inclus ?

La version gratuite est basique mais inclut :

  • Des données de connexion illimitées
  • Le remplissage automatique des formulaires
  • L’audit des mots de passe
  • Un générateur de mots de passe

Les entreprises peuvent passer au compte Business au prix de 2,83 € par utilisateur et par mois pour bénéficier de plus de fonctionnalités. Vous pourrez bénéficier des options suivantes :

  • Une initiation facile pour l’utilisateur
  • Une gestion centralisée
  • L’intégration d’Active Directory
  • Des autorisations basées sur les rôles
  • La séparation totale des mots de passe professionnels et personnels
  • Des groupes de partage illimités (pour les équipes)
  • Le déploiement de la politique de sécurité
  • La sauvegarde des données du compte
  • Du reporting détaillé
  • Un abonnement pay-as-you-go (sans contrat)
  • Une assistance premium

Ce que les utilisateurs ont apprécié : RoboForm génère des suggestions de mots de passe forts pour les comptes utilisateurs. Il remplit automatiquement les informations lors de la prochaine connexion, ce qui, selon les abonnés, constitue un précieux gain de temps. 

Les utilisateurs ont également noté que sa simplicité en fait une bonne option pour les personnes qui ont peu ou pas d’expérience avec les gestionnaires de mots de passe.

Ce que les utilisateurs ont moins apprécié : les utilisateurs ont mentionné que la fonction de remplissage automatique ne fonctionne pas toujours comme elle le devrait. Toutefois, ils ont également noté que le fait de copier et de coller les mots de passe de l’application constitue une sauvegarde fiable.

En savoir plus

Vous souhaitez en savoir plus ? Consultez notre catalogue de logiciels de mots de passe pour découvrir davantage de produits.

Poor password management culture puts Australian SMEs at risk

Poor password management within Australian SMEs

The fight against COVID-19 has led many of us indoors. As a result, companies across Australia are allowing employees to work from home to stay in line with isolation guidelines. More than half (57%) of Australian SMEs are now operating with a distributed workforce. Additionally, 41% are buying the necessary tools to operate remotely

Poor password management within Australian SMEs

Yet, while small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) are taking the necessary steps to ensure business continuity, Capterra’s research* indicates that cybersecurity processes have been less efficient.

The study pointed to three areas that need improvement, including:

  • Password storage: The majority of SME employees rely on human memory to store account logins and passwords, (only a third make use of password managers.)
  • Password strength: More than a quarter of respondents use an identical password for all accounts.
  • Cybersecurity culture: SME employees often share passwords with colleagues, and between personal and business accounts.

Password management systems are inefficient

An encouraging number of employees (41%) changed their password within the last month. Despite this, SMEs are demonstrating lax password security practices. 

Most popular password management methods Australia
Infographic 1: Most popular password management methods in Australian SMEs.

Writing down passwords on paper is inefficient and unsafe.  If misplaced, it can expose sensitive company information to untrustworthy third-parties. It is also an unsustainable password storage method.

The most common form of password storage, however, is human memory. The survey indicated that 72% of respondents use software and platforms in the cloud (partially or completely). This suggests that the number of access credentials that an employee has is considerable.

Expecting employees to remember strong, unique passwords for all of these accounts is unrealistic. However, only a third of employees make use of password management software

What is a password manager? A password manager is a software tool that enables users to synchronise passwords across several accounts. The tool saves and stores multiple passwords within a central vault, and users can activate them using a master password. 

How to improve password management 

A password management tool is a safe way for businesses to store credentials. It’s important to find a platform that employees can easily adapt to—otherwise, they may well abandon it. By taking advantage of free trials, you’ll be able to identify a tool that suits your business best. 

Many password managers offer a free version, and the monthly cost to upgrade can be as little as a few dollars per employee.

Password sharing is common practice within SMEs

Worryingly, 44% of respondents said they share passwords between personal and business accounts. This, combined with the fact that 68% of workers use personal devices (even occasionally) to carry out work, puts businesses at greater risk of exposure should one account be compromised. 

Of those respondents who use personal devices:

  • 40% installed antivirus software
  • 24% installed email security software
  • 27% installed a firewall.

Devices without security software installed leaves the user vulnerable to cybercriminals. The same applies to a business account that shares identical credentials with an employee’s personal account. If that account is hacked, the business account is vulnerable too.

Another area of concern was the lax approach within SMEs toward sharing passwords between peers (which 18% admitted to.) While this may seem risk-free, this action opens up the possibility of internal risks, such as the case of data theft by a disgruntled employee. 

How to share passwords securely

In some cases, employees will need to share passwords. There are three methods to communicate passwords securely:

  1. Verbally, ideally in person.
  2. Use encrypted emails to write the information, often included with email security tools.
  3. Share them in a password vault, included in many password management systems

Password strength isn’t prioritised

If a hacker gets hold of one set of credentials, they’ll likely try using these details to access other business and personal accounts. It’s therefore advised that businesses should create a strong and unique password for every account they own. 

Encouragingly, a third of respondents said they follow this advice. However, 28% of respondents use an identical password for all accounts and 39% use a few main passwords or one password that is slightly adapted, across multiple sites.

How to strengthen passwords

A hard-to-crack password is a simple yet effective means to strengthen the security of any online account. This includes:

  • At least eight to sixteen characters
  • A combination of capital and lowercase letters
  • Special characters
  • Numbers.

Educating staff on what a strong password looks like is a great way to encourage remote workplace security. However, most password managers include a secure password generator feature, which helps take the pressure off of staff.

Phishing email attacks remain a challenge

Phishing emails are one of the most common methods that cybercriminals use to obtain valuable data from a target. It consists of sending an email (that appears to be from another person or company) to the recipient, in a bid to get them to reveal private information. Usually, they’ll aim to obtain a password, bank details, or confidential details of the organisation.

Phishing attack cases in Australia
Infographic 2: Phishing attack cases in Australian SMEs.

The majority of the respondents said they had not been victims of such an attack. However, more than a quarter of respondents have fallen victim to a phishing email. Of those cases, 14% said the attack took place since working remotely due to the pandemic. Shockingly, 48% said they were misled by a topic related to COVID-19.

As widely reported in the media, hackers are taking advantage of the pandemic by using it as an angle to infiltrate corporate networks. Using coronavirus-related false pretences, hackers are convincing people to open malicious emails. 

How to protect against phishing emails

Training employees to recognise phishing emails should be an obligation for SMEs. It is one of the most common forms of cyberattack yet disguises itself in many ways. A security breach can cause irreversible damage to an SME; it can destroy its reputation and lead to bankruptcy.

Employees are the best line of defence for SMEs. To ramp up security efforts, companies should ensure their staff:

Australian SMEs must increase cybersafety measures

Cybercriminals are always waiting for people (and companies) to make a mistake. Sadly, coronavirus has given them more opportunities rather than slowing them down. This is mostly due to teleworkers not taking adequate steps to secure their work environment. 

Even with a distributed workforce, employers must establish cybersecurity guidelines. It’s also good practice that companies have at least one cybersecurity point of contact. This person should be responsible for the implementation of protocols, secure business software. They should also be the champion of driving a cybersafety-first culture. 

Virtual cybersecurity training sessions work well for educating remote employees. Try creating a live webinar whereby employees can learn, take notes and ask questions. 

Ready to run your first cybersafety session? Check out Capterra’s directory of the highest-rated webinar software today.

*Survey methodology

To collect the data from this report, we conducted an online survey between 4th April 2020 and 14th April 2020. The responses come from a sample of the Australian market. Of the 916 people who participated in the survey, we were able to discover that 57% of Australian SMEs are already operating fully remotely. We also discovered that 6% plan to. 

We then screened out all respondents not working remotely, and found 500 respondents fitted within our criteria:

  • Australian resident
  • Employed by a small or mid-sized business
  • Employed full-time or part-time
  • Working remotely as a response to COVID-19.

The participants come from various business sectors and levels of seniority.

Note: Infographics 1 had multiple response options, so the total sum of the percentages exceeds 100%.