More people relying on technology and working from home has meant businesses are vulnerable to risks. Whether it’s cybersecurity or employee health and safety, industry experts claim businesses must be more proactive about managing them.



Last week Telstra (ASX:TLS) boss Andrew Penn said cybersecurity was a major threat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While on the one hand the way in which Australians shifted to work from home and studying from home has been remarkable, the one thing to bear in mind is what that does is it changes the nature of our cyber vulnerability and potentially puts us in a more vulnerable environment,” he explained.

In the last month Telstra reckons it has protected almost 500 customers from money-pinching malware.

Singing from the same hymn sheet is financial crime barrister Andrew Tragardh. This morning he launched Duxton Hill, a legal advice and representation firm for companies and people affected by cybercrime.

Tragardh said businesses should be more proactive in protecting their digital assets.

“Remote working can open the door to cybersecurity vulnerabilities and increased financial pressures can trigger dishonest behaviours among employees who might not normally engage in criminal activity,” he said.

“Companies must be vigilant in safeguarding valuable data assets throughout COVID-19, remembering they have an obligation to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to protect personal information it holds from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.”


Employee health and safety

Employees working from home may be at less risk of injury than at capital intensive manufacturing plants, but companies still have a duty of care to their employees even when they’re working remotely.

Alastair Brooke, director of WHS automation firm SafetyEvolved, told Stockhead services businesses are now starting to realise this.

Safety Evolved has a cloud solution that helps companies automate their workplace health and safety systems.

“People are generally more focused on safety in those industries that have high-risk work environments. But COVID-19 has bought [the problem] to services business who may not have needed to have as much focus on health and safety,” Brooke said.

“As we’ve got remote working now and people are moving into less of a managed state, there are also wider impacts like mental health.”

Brooke said workplace health and safety was already legally mandated, and prior to the coronavirus outbreak various Australian states were considering introducing industrial manslaughter laws. 

“Now we’re seeing workers compensation claims claims arising out of COVID-19 exposure,” he said.