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WFH agents need cyberattack protection



The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has led to many workplaces adopting a hybrid setup where a number of its employees work from home and while it has since become a norm, cybersecurity threats remain as work devices can be quite vulnerable being outside the protection of the corporate network.

One of the more vulnerable industries is business process outsourcing (BPO) which is why technology leaders HP and Intel held a webinar titled Forging a Safety (Inter) Net for the Agents to show the importance of having ample security, especially while working from home.

“The common misconception is that ‘I have an antivirus and I have a firewall, and we’re good.’ But now, especially in an era of a dispersed workforce where more and more employees are working from home, and a big proportion of BPO agents are working from home, the threats and the risks of vulnerability are much higher,” Christian Edmond Reyes, managing director of HP Philippines and Pakistan, said.

According to the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime division, there has been a 200 percent increase in phishing attacks last year while Russian cybersecurity provider Kaspersky said the country has, for two straight years, topped the list in Southeast Asia in terms of internet-based threats.

“One of the points of vulnerability is usually the employee and that’s where education is important and primarily because sometimes you can just receive an innocuous email with a seemingly harmless link. You click it and it wreaks havoc,” Reyes said.

“HP wants to be able to help our partners to be more secure, prevent any disruption, prevent any cyberattacks that can cause damage to your reputation, your productivity and has financial repercussions,” he added.
Data in 2019 showed that an estimated 1.3 million Filipinos work in BPO companies, making it a significant contributor to the country’s GDP. The IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) expects that the industry will grow by 5.5 percent within the next two years.

With the current health and safety restrictions in place, the association figured that an average of 70 percent of the workforce is still working from home.

“One of the difficulties that we had to overcome was really the anxiety and discomfort of our clients when we had to move from what used to be a pretty much airtight security in the office premises to having many of the agents working from home,” Rey Untal, president and CEO of IBPAP, said.