If an office experienced a data breach eight months ago, there’s a good chance that the incident response team would have met in person to launch a response. The team would have been able to easily share critical information with each other and know what each person’s role was and where they were during the response.

Today, in a world where many offices are now remote, the situation is entirely different. The very things that make an incident response plan effective – like strong, interpersonal relationships that allow for effective communication – are much more elusive. That’s because it’s significantly harder for colleagues to build strong relationships and communicate clearly with each other when they’re not in the same room. This, compounded with the stress and fatigue that accompanies a new work life where there are no clear boundaries between home and work, means that incident response teams are likely to be less effective. This has serious impacts – the average cost of a data breach jumps by $137,000 when the workforce is mostly remote. Management must find a way to use technology to build up those dynamics that make an incident response team efficient. But how?

Accommodate for Fatigue

The number of workers reporting psychological distress as they struggle to balance work responsibilities with home responsibilities has nearly doubled. When people are stressed, it’s harder for them to focus, which means they might not absorb critical information or even see important notifications. Meet people where they’re at and find ways that make it easy for them to receive and acknowledge emergency notifications. One way to make sure people respond during an emergency is to set up a separate platform for handling incident response. Any notifications and communications should occur separately from the normal platforms that employees use – so that receiving a notification on that platform is an uncommon occurrence and when they receive one, employees know that it’s urgent.

Foster Trust Between the Incident Response Team

Strong incident response requires clear communication between members of the incident response team. This is a lot harder to achieve when the workforce is remote. The things that make communication clear for humans – like gestures, tone of voice, idiosyncrasies – often don’t come through when working remotely. One way to address that is to set up a simple way for employees to regularly check in with each other, letting people know what they’re working on and whether they’re facing obstacles or need support. Management should select a tool that does not collect any personally identifiable information (PII) or that links to other employee databases so that employees don’t feel like they’re being monitored, instead they feel that they have a safe place to share their successes and concerns and collaborate together.

Opt for the Right Technology

The lines between home and work life have become increasingly blurred with the rise in remote work – which is why it’s important to opt for technology that doesn’t infringe on people’s home lives. Opt for tools that are clearly aimed only for professional use (not ones that can be blurred for both professional and personal) while still making it easy to contact people quickly. The tools you use should respect the needs of your employee – and their personal space.

Bottom line: With the right technology, you can meet employees where they’re at and provide them with the tools they need to easily prepare for and respond to incident response remotely. Vaporstream is an easy-to-use, cost-effective communications platform that lets employees communicate with one another separate of other office systems and centralizes all of your incident response communications in one place, all while protecting your employees’ work and home boundaries. See how we can help you here.