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Editor’s Note: Connected

he concept of remote work would have been alien to our forebears. At one point in human history, all work was at home. From farming to blacksmithing to tailoring, trades were often a part of the family dwelling, writes Lydia Dishman in her article “The Surprising History of Working from Home” for Fast Company.

As an example, Dishman relates the all-too-common story of the Levine family who lived in New York City in 1892. The Tenement Museum notes that they established a garment shop in their 325-square-foot apartment. The family of seven toiled for 15 hours a day in the same place they lived.

At the turn of the 19th century, reformers sought to curtail home businesses, citing overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. In England, “slum clearances destroyed the buildings, courts, and yards that had allowed people to work from home, and new ‘Model Dwellings’ replaced them that were not conducive to home-based work. Tenancy agreements in the new buildings prohibited home-based work of any sort,” according to the Workhome Project, a research group in the United Kingdom studying the history of home business through architecture.

The concept of working at home then moved through Tupperware in the 1950s to the invention of the word telecommuting in the 1970s. Until recently, the major peril involved in the modern version of working at home was poor Internet service.

That has changed drastically for much of the world’s population. As this issue goes to press, nonessential businesses are closed in much of the United States, Asia, and Europe, as populations are attempting to recover from the first waves of COVID-19. Much of the globe is sheltering in place. Those who aren’t, however, are on the front lines fighting the contagion.

Many security professionals are included in that group—providing business continuity plans to their companies or serving as the first line of defense at essential businesses and empty offices. In response, ASIS has established a resource page that includes articles, links, webinars, and more. Information pushed out by the ASIS app, exclusive online articles, and regular communication from industry experts can help security professionals stay connected. For those without office access, recent issues of Security Management are available in full online through ASIS Connects.

And it turns out that remote work can open a company up to different sorts of security threats. In this month’s cover story, Val LeTellier discusses how a remote workforce can still harbor insider threats. The new reality of COVID-19 only exacerbates existing challenges.

“Simply put, enforcing security policies and determining/monitoring behavior baselines of remote employees is demanding,” LeTellier writes. “Worse, the lack of organizational cohesion can create or exacerbate negative issues, increase stress, and prevent timely and appropriate responses to suspicious or disruptive behavior.”

In this time of crisis, I hope you and yours stay safe and healthy. If you want to share your story, send us an email at [email protected].

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